Looking for good ideas for New Year's Eve in London with kids? These family-friendly ideas will make everyone in the family excited for the celebrations.
Are you planning to ring in the New Year in London? If you’re traveling with children, special planning is needed to ensure every member of the family has a great time with age-appropriate activities. There are new events launched every year as well as some classic New Years traditions that you don’t want to miss.
This quick guide will introduce you to some of the best ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in London with kids. Pick and choose what works best for your family, and keep your eyes open for additional ways to celebrate once you arrive in London. From hotels and restaurants to entertainment complexes, many London businesses and organizations will offer family-friendly events for New Year’s Eve.
The Mayor of London's New Year's Eve Fireworks
Once Big Ben declares the start of the new year at midnight, the South Bank sky lights up with a brilliant fireworks display. The show is launched from the London Eye, and you can reserve tickets online to ensure there’s room for your family at the live event.
Like any New Year’s Eve fireworks show, this is a crowded, noisy environment full of cheerful celebration. Make sure that environment is suitable for your children before reserving the tickets. If you prefer to avoid the crowd, you have some alternative ways to see the fireworks:
The Shard Lights
The Shard illuminates the top 20 stories of its spire with colorful lights until the wee hours of New Year’s Day. If you’re in Central London on New Year’s Eve, there’s a good chance you’ll catch at least a glimpse of the display when you turn in the right direction. The closer you are, the better.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
From November to January, Hyde Park transforms into a magical Winter Wonderland with street food, rides, kid-friendly activities, and a market. If you have small children, the mornings and early afternoons are best because the park is less crowded. Once evening falls, the park glows with beautiful lights and the adult beverages are on tap.
London’s New Year’s Day Parade
Also known as the LNYDP, London’s New Year’s Day parade is a lively event that entertains adults and kids of all ages, starting on January 1 at noon. It takes place on Piccadilly and includes thousands of performers with a live audience that easily reaches 50,000. It’s also televised, but there’s nothing more spectacular than standing in the crowd and watching the performers in full color.
Celebrate at Your Favorite London Restaurant
We’ve covered a lot of family-friendly London restaurants on this site, and most of them will offer special meals on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Even if the restaurant of your choice doesn’t normally require reservations, you may need to book online ahead of time if you want a seat at special New Year’s events.
New Years is also a great time to visit the London Zoo, Sea Life Aquarium, and any of London’s great museums. Many will have special exhibits and activities to help your family ring in the new year properly.
If you’re visiting from a big city, then approaching New Year’s Eve with children in London isn’t much different than celebrating back home. Make sure you have a plan for the main events you want to attend because many require you to make reservations online. Some will sell out months in advance, so it’s good to book early when you find an event you know you can’t miss.
When selecting events, think about the time and location of each option. You want to select fun activities that are enjoyable for every member of the family, and that may mean retiring back to your hotel room earlier than the adult family members would like. Booking a hotel room with sweeping views of the city and a balcony is the perfect solution. You can put the little ones to bed and watch the celebrations across the skyline from the balcony.
Some upscale hotels may also offer childcare services from safe sitters who have been properly screened. Bringing your own babysitter is another option. With a sitter, you may need to plan an adult itinerary and a kid’s itinerary that intersects at certain times.