Celebrating New Year’s Eve in London can take many different forms. You can stay in or go out. You can be traditional or a bit unexpected. You can really go crazy or just relax. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you ring in 2017 in style. Here are our tips for the best ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in London.
Have a wild night out
There is no shortage of parties in London on New Year’s Eve. From bashment blowouts and garage get-downs to raucous raves and festive fetes – there’s a party to suit every taste.
Class it up with live waltz at the Barbican Centre’s Viennese New Year’s Gala or chill out at Bounce’s NYE Ping Pong Party. Or you can appreciate other cultures’ traditions by experiencing their festivities.
The English Folk Dance and Song Society are hosting a New Year’s Eve Ceilidh – a traditional Scottish dance with live music. The Blues Kitchen in Brixton is having a Mardi-Gras-themed bash with a seven-piece brass band and plenty of creole cuisine. What’s more, trendy Indian restaurant Dishoom is putting on a Bombay Vintage Glam party, complete with some of their signature dishes.
If you want to go to a specific era-themed party but can’t choose your favourite decade – flapper 20s, jazzy 40s, rocking 60s or pop 90s – get tickets to the Southbank Centre’s Vintage New Year’s Eve Party. They’ll have five floors of immersive music, from the 20s right up to the 90s.
Throw your own party
Why battle the crowds and contend with the cold on New Year’s Eve when you can keep it local and throw your own party instead? The best thing about having your own New Year’s Eve party is that you can go all out or keep it simple. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time, effort or money, just buy some pre-made pizzas, throw up a few fairy lights and put on a playlist. At midnight, you can watch the fireworks as they stream live on the BBC.
If you do want to splash out, there are many ways to make a New Year’s Eve party spectacular. You can make your own party decorations from leftover wrapping paper and glitter and buy coloured light bulbs to set the mood. Prepare simple but fancy food: create a gourmet cheese plate, use leftover baguette to make delicious bruschetta, or wrap melon slices in prosciutto for a sweet and savoury bite.
Make your party really special with customised silicone wristbands, like these ones from ID&C. Pick colours that match your décor, choose your favourite fonts and write a personal message. They’ll be delivered in two weeks and your friends will have a keepsake to remind them of your amazing party.
Whatever you do, make sure you buy a lot of bubbly and let your neighbours know that you’ll be partying until dawn.
Watch the classic fireworks
Nothing says New Year’s in London like the city’s fireworks display. The first batch of tickets has already sold out, but a second will be released on December 2nd. Be sure to book as soon as they go on sale, as you must have a ticket to attend.
You can still enjoy the fireworks for free at various spots throughout London. Cannon Street, Monument, Tower Bridge, Millennium Bridge and Southwark Bridge all offer great views. Be prepared to beat the crowds at any of these spots, as they are exceptionally popular.
For smaller crowds, head for the hills at Primrose Hill or Alexandra Palace for unrivalled views over the city. If you don’t mind trekking a bit further, go out to Hampstead Heath, Hilly Fields in Brockley or the royal park at Greenwich. Wherever you watch, arrive early to secure a good spot and load up with snacks and drinks to keep you going. Make sure to wrap up; London can get very chilly at this time of year!
Skip it and enjoy New Year’s Day
If the pressure and busyness of New Year’s Eve gets to be too much, why not skip it? Have a cosy dinner at home, with champagne and yummy desserts. Then get a good night’s sleep and wake up early on New Year’s Day, refreshed and ready to enjoy the city. Everyone else will be sleeping in or staying in hungover, so you’ll have the city to yourself.
It’s a great time to visit London landmarks like Kew Gardens, the London Eye, Kensington Palace, the London Zoo, the V&A and the Natural History Museum. Some venues will have reduced hours, so check before you go.