Top 10 New Year’s Eve destinations in the UK

Family, New Year, Seasonal

Posted by Clare on 23rd October 2019

Here in the UK, we are lucky enough to have some of the best New Year’s Eve destinations in the world. 

There is a whole range of events, from unusual traditions with historical roots to all-night parties featuring top names in the music industry. You could dance the night away or chat and watch the fireworks with friends, roam the town and watch partygoers or sit on a beach at one of the coastal settings to be beside the sea as the new year arrives. This list features some of the best places to go for New Year's Eve - discover a fabulous party town or spectacular celebrations that you could join in during your UK break. 

Our list of the top 10 places to see in 2020 will help you decide where to book your New Year getaway.

1. Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital sure knows how to welcome in the new year in style. Unfazed by the chilly northern winter, thousands of people flock to Edinburgh to celebrate Hogmanay with music, fireworks and a whole host of arts events and entertainment. While the New Year's Eve Street Party and Concert in the Gardens are the main events, the festivities continue for 3 days, and include a torchlight procession the night before, as well as the Loony Dook, a bracing New Year's Day swim in the freezing River Forth.

2. Allendale

The ordinarily quiet rural town of Allendale in Northumberland is the unassuming location of a New Year’s celebration with a difference. Men with blackened faces, known as ‘guisers’, bear flaming barrels of tar through the town, tossing them onto a ceremonial bonfire, creating an awesome spectacle that's sure to make your Northumberland holiday a memorable one. A fantastic event for the whole family - it’ll certainly be a New Year's Eve to remember!


3. Cardiff

The Welsh capital has its very own name for its New Year celebrations. ‘Calennig’, which literally means ‘first day of the month’, is always a fun, family-friendly occasion, culminating in a fantastic firework finale to start off the new year with a bang. This year in Cardiff will be no different, with big plans for a memorable celebration. You can even skate in the New Year at the Winter Wonderland, where there's a special midnight skate available.


4. St Ives

The small Cornish town of St Ives has deservedly built up quite a reputation as one of the best places in the country (if not the world!) to celebrate New Year’s Eve! Thousands of people, traditionally sporting all kinds of fancy dress, flood the small town and often overflow onto the beach.

Street parties and fireworks generate an electric atmosphere as everyone is busy enjoying themselves. It really is an occasion not to miss. Children, too, will love being surrounded by their favourite superheroes and cartoon characters, or at least their real world fancy dress equivalents!

St Ives

5. London

You can’t talk about New Year’s Eve destinations without a mention of the UK’s happening capital. There are hundreds of small celebrations across London, from swanky dances and opulent balls to concerts by some of the biggest names in music.

Thousands more people will line the banks of the Thames to watch a dazzling 10-minute firework display from South Bank. If you do happen to find yourself fully functioning the following morning, continue the festivities by watching the New Year’s Day parade which features over 10,000 performers from all corners of the world.


6. Newquay

Bringing the focus back to Cornwall again, Newquay is one of the best places to enjoy a good old Cornish cider in the company of thousands of jovial costumed party people, welcoming in the new year with a burst of colour and neon tights. Residents and visitors from far and wide congregate in the central square for the midnight countdown and customary rendition of Auld Lang Syne, having already made the most of the town's many drinking establishments. The celebrations continue long after the last firework has died away.


7. Bideford

Bideford lights

Perhaps not a place that immediately springs to mind when thinking of New Year’s Eve destinations, the celebrations in the North Devon town of Bideford are definitely not to be underestimated. This year will be no exception! Partygoers traditionally wear costumes and a number of landlords are offering either prizes or discounts to reward fancy dress efforts. As the clock strikes midnight, line up with the locals and challenge yourself to run across the Long Bridge before the last bell chimes out!


8. Manchester

A lively city at the best of times, Manchester really comes into its own on New Year’s Eve. There’s no chance of quietly sitting out the excitement here! The bright lights of Oxford Street illuminate the city centre and there is a huge choice of venues where you can party the night away. Head to The Warehouse Project or The Ritz for some of the biggest club nights of the year. For an alternative style of music, pop by Matt & Phreds for a Mardi Gras extravaganza or head over to The Blue Pig, a self-proclaimed 'illustrious drinking hole'.


9. Looe

It seems that the Cornish are particularly hot on New Year’s celebrations, with Looe being one of the most popular in the whole country. Like its other Cornish contemporaries, Looe welcomes in the New Year in fancy dress! This is the one day of the year that you will feel out in place dressed ‘normally’. As it is a traditional fishing village, why not start the evening with a delicious seafood meal? Trawlers on the Quay is a top choice on New Year's Eve. After all, you’ll need energy to party your way through the rest of the night until the midnight fireworks from the beach!


10. Stonehaven

Stonehaven New Year fireball ceremony

Stonehaven celebrates Hogmanay a little differently to Edinburgh with its famous Fireballs Ceremony. At the stroke of midnight, the streets of this small Aberdeenshire fishing village become ablaze with dazzling fire displays as a procession of people walk the streets, swinging the ‘fireballs’ around their heads. This is a tradition which is believed to date back at least a hundred years, said to burn off the bad spirits, and thousands line the streets to watch the event unfold.


Time to celebrate!

Celebrate New Year's Eve at a UK holiday cottage

Don't miss out on any of the fun this New Year's Eve - with our New Year cottages, it's easy to head to your favourite destination and celebrate in style!

New Year cottages


For even more ideas on how to bring in the new year, take a look at our blog full of inspirational ideas for a fantastic New Year's Eve.

Get inspired

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.