Party like a pro, alternative New Year’s Eve celebrations

  • 30th Dec 19
Party like a pro, alternative New Year’s Eve celebrations

If you are tired of the standard New Year’s Eve parties but still want to mark the turning of the year, then now is the time to try out something a little different. As we move into a new decade, embrace some of London’s weird and wonderful events or break with tradition and find your own way to celebrate in style.

Step back in time

Party through the decades at the world-famous Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre. There will be six themed pop-up nightclubs that will feature music from the 1920s to the present day interspersed with live orchestras, specialist DJs, dance lessons and photo studios. What’s more, you get to enjoy London’s skyline explode in fireworks from one of the private terraces giving a memorable end to 2019. Other celebrations with a nod to the past include The Bletchley Christmas package at Chelsea Funhouse. This cocktail bar is inspired by Alan Turing and his team of cryptographers, who broke the Nazi’s Enigma code during World War Two at Bletchley Park. Code-breaking and cocktails combine to get you thinking as well as drinking. Dust off your smoking jacket and flapper dress to celebrate in style at the Sky Garden. Live music from a swing band will get you dancing all night long and the Great Gatsby dress code will add a touch of glamour and flair to an elegant evening. Not so far back into the past, you can party like it’s 1999 at Bristol and celebrate the nineties and noughties with a big band and DJ to see in the New Year at the Bristol Harbour Hotel.


No other nation in the world celebrates the New Year with as much passion as Scotland. There’s something to suit all ages, tastes and budgets and be prepared to party late into the night. Edinburgh has one of the largest celebrations with a three-day event starting on December 30th with a torchlight procession. Expect to see thousands of torch-bearers marching through the heart of Edinburgh creating a river of fire down the historic Royal Mile. On December 31st, there is the famous street party on Princes Street with live music and a huge mix of entertainment. If you need something to kick start the New Year, on January 1sthead down to the River Forth at South Queensferry to take part in the Loony Dook where those brave enough will take the plunge in the freezing Forth, many in fancy dress. Other Hogmanay highlights include the family-friendly Red Hot Highland Fling in Inverness, a free celebration with music and fireworks. There’s also plenty of winter fire festivals throughout Scotland including the Stonehaven Fireballs in Aberdeenshire, the Biggar Bonfire in South Lanarkshire and the Comrie Flambeaux in Perthshire, a procession of people with lit torches accompanied by music and people in fancy dress. For something a little more genteel, there is Hogmanay Live! In Aberdeen with two shows featuring an evening of traditional Scottish music and a second show featuring an indie-pop band.

 Are you a survivor?

Ever wondered what you would do if the end of the world was nigh? For something a little out of the ordinary, New Year’s Eve at Area 404 in Bristol is a one-off, theatrically immersive experience. You are being recruited to become a survivor in the nuclear quarantine zone of AREA 404. Expect to hear live music, DJs and an extra special midnight spectacular. Dress code: wasteland scavenger, radioactive mutants and toxic zombies!

Have a laugh

2019 has been an interesting year to say the least and most of us could probably do with a few laughs so why not celebrate the New Year as you mean to go on. There’s plenty of comedy nights around the country including Just The Tonic New Year’s Special in Leicester, Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club in York, New Year’s Eve Stand Up in Manchester and Jason Cook’s New Year’s Eve Comedy Club in South Shields. There’s plenty more events up and down the UK if you fancy a light-hearted start to 2020. 

Family friendly

Having children doesn’t mean it has to be the end of New Year Eve’s celebrations. You might want to pass on the booze, kids and hangovers! But there are plenty of ways you can enjoy the festivities with little ones. From ice skating at Somerset House, the Natural History Museum or the Tower of London through to the big ferris wheel at Winter Wonderland, there’s so much going on in the Capital at this time of year. You may not stay out until midnight but that could be a huge bonus if you fancy the New Year’s Day Parade along the streets of the West End. More than 8,000 dancers, acrobats, cheerleaders and marching bands will be taking to the streets of the capital in a colourful celebration. Some of the highlights include gigantic balloons, Pearly Kings and Queens, classic Minis and motorcyclists performing tricks and dancers from around the world. If your little ones love to party, bring them along to The Civic Hall in Grays, Essex where you can bring your own food and drink and dance in the New Year with a live DJ. Plus, there is a children’s Games Area to occupy the youngest revelers. There are family friendly events all over the UK such as the one in The Great Victoria Hotel in Bradford. You can start your night with a glass of fizz and the kids can grab a fruit punch before a buffet, party games and disco to follow.

 Movie marathon

Invite a few friends over or simply tuck yourself in for the night to watch some classic New Year’s Eve films. Get cosy in PJs with bags of popcorn and sweet treats to indulge in these all-time favourites. When Harry Met Sally, a rom-com that shows how to grab true love whilst revelers countdown to midnight, The Poseidon Adventure, a famous 1970s disaster movie about a tidal wave hitting a cruise ship during the big New Year’s Eve gala and Bridget Jones’ Diary, where our heroine meets her match on New Year’s Day.

Let the games begin

You may be another year older but don’t let that stop you from being a big kid. With more people giving up the booze, parties need to be a bit more imaginative these days. This is also a great option for families and a chance to try everyone’s favourite games. Try beating the kids on the Xbox and then challenge them to something a little more old school. Heads Up is a very simple but effective concept. Simply write a list of famous people and then everyone choses one and sticks it on their forehead. They then have to guess who they are by asking yes, no questions. Much harder than it sounds. Charades is the original party game having been around since the 18th century. To make it more relevant for kids, let them also include favourite games too. A funny icebreaker is Two Truths and a Lie, it will help your guests to know everyone a little better. The same can be said for Never Have I Ever, you can keep it clean or can go past PG territory if it is just for adults.

New Year’s Eve on a budget

  • Create a video with family or friends of the year’s highlights.
  • Goal setting. Encourage children to think about what they would like to achieve in the year ahead too.
  • Make a time capsule and write little notes to your future self.
  • Get out into nature.
  • Grab cosy blankets, warm jackets and a thermos of tea and watch the stars.
  • Cook a lovely meal at home and dress up in your finest.
  • Spend the evening planning and researching exciting days out or holidays for the year ahead.
  • Do some exercise so you get a head start into a healthy new year.


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