Want to celebrate the New Year in style? Got time to squeeze in one more last-minute break? There are plenty of amazing places to explore in the UK!
Personally, I love spending Christmas at home, but then seem to get a little restless after the big day. I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve been cooped up indoors, or the typical travel blogger coming out in me, but I always feel the need to explore during the Christmas Limbo.
Lucky for me, there are some incredible places to visit for New Year’s close to home in the UK.
If you’re looking for a last-minute break to start the new year right, I’m sharing 20 of the best places in the UK for New Year’s to give you all the inspiration you need!
Best Places In The UK For New Year’s
A small town in Northumberland, you’d be forgiven for having never heard of Allendale before. However, this tiny town comes alive at the end of the year and is one of the best places in the UK for New Year’s.
Home to the Tar Bar’l tradition for over 160 years, this purifying fire ritual is one of the most unique NYE events in the UK. At around 11 pm on New Year’s Eve, 45 local men dressed in colourful pagan costumes and soot-blackened faces, form a procession through the streets. Known as ‘guisers’, the men carry flaming barrels of hot tar and throw them onto a huge bonfire in the city centre at 12 pm, when everyone shouts “be damned he who throws last”!
If you are looking for a city break, Belfast makes one of the best places in the UK for New Year’s. The Titanic Museum holds a grand annual NYE party with live music, drinks and food, or you can enjoy a more relaxed evening at The MAC or the Crown Liquor Saloon!
Another place that you might not have heard or thought of is Bideford. A historic town on the coast of North Devon, Bideford shows off its unique personality towards the end of the year. Traditionally, visitors dress in costumes, with multiple pub landlords offering prizes or discounts for anyone in fancy dress. When the clock approaches midnight, locals line up on one side of the Long Bridge and try to run to the other side before the last bell finishes.
It’s no surprise that Brighton is one of the best places in the UK for New Year’s. A lively seaside resort, it has everything you need to see in a new year. Brighton Pier is the perfect spot the watch fireworks soak in the electric atmosphere. If you’re on a budget, check out BYOC, short for Bring Your Own Cocktail, where visitors bring their own drinks for bartenders to make a cocktail from for a small flat fee.
The capital of Wales, New Year’s celebrations are known as ‘Calennig’ in Cardiff, meaning ‘the first day of the month’ in welsh. Hosting huge family-friendly celebrations, there is a Winter Wonderland festival, with an Alpine village selling warm drinks and delicious food. After a spot of ice-skating, finish the night by watching an incredible fireworks display that lights up the sky.
One of the best places in the world to spend NYE, let alone in the UK, Edinburgh is an iconic place to visit for New Year’s. Known as Hogmanay, expect huge events and entertainment in the Scottish capital. The main events are the New Year’s Eve Street party and Concert in the Gardens, but activities carry on for 3 days, including a torchlight procession and the Loony Dook (New Year’s Day Swim in the River Forth).
Blog posts you might be interested in:
- How To Plan The Perfect Edinburgh Itinerary
- The Scotch Whisky Experience Review
- The 52 Best Free Things To Do In Edinburgh
Located in East Yorkshire, Flamborough is home to the Flamborough Fire Festival and is one of the best places in the UK for New Year’s. Based on Viking traditions, you’ll be able to see a Viking Costume Parade, listen to war drums and watch residents swing fireballs over their heads before the Burning of the Viking Longship. During this event, a wooden ship is set on fire and is said to get rid of any bad spirits and welcome good ones.
Known as the capital of the Highlands, you’ll get a true Scottish New Year experience by visiting Inverness. Located on the northeast coast, there’s a free NYE party known as the Red Hot Highland Fling with live music and dancing. After watching fireworks above the cathedral, it’s time to head back to the pubs and clubs which stay open until 4am!
The Lake District
A good option for those of you looking for a quiet celebration, The Lake District is one of the best places in the UK for New Year’s. Full of cosy pubs with live music, I recommend village hoping to make the most of the celebrations, Keswick has a huge countdown clock in the main square, and you can watch the fireworks displays at the harbour in Bowness-on-Windermere.
Blog posts you might find interesting:
Fed up of the same old New Year’s celebrations? Leicester is the place for you! Hosting one of the largest Steampunk festivals in the world, the four-day event hosts a gala ball which sees visitors dress in Victorian sci-fi costumes. Featuring a dinner, entertainment and even a ghost walk, this a great alternative to your typical celebrations.
Disclaimer: I am completely cheating with this one as this event, known as Up Helly Aa is actually held on the last Tuesday of January, but hear me out.
If you’re looking for a delayed New Year’s celebration, Lerwick is the place to go. Located in the Shetlands Islands, it’s home to Europe’s largest fire festival. The festival marks the end of Yuletide and sees a large crowd dressed in Norse costume set fire to a replica Viking longship.
It wouldn’t be a list of the best places in the UK for New Year’s without including London, would it? An iconic NYE destination, you’ll find hundreds of celebrations to choose from. Of course, the biggest party is at the 10-minute fireworks display on South Bank, but you do need a ticket to get close to the action. Not got a ticket or want to watch the fireworks in a quieter location? Head to Primrose Hill and enjoy views across the city.
Don’t forget to stick around for the New Year’s Day parade which features over 10,000 performers from around the world!
A charming seaside town in Cornwall, Looe is one of the most popular places in the UK for New Year’s. Most people dress in fancy dress on NYE, visiting local pubs and clubs such as Trawlers on the Quay. As the clock approaches midnight, everyone heads on to the beach for a huge countdown and fireworks display.
Want to experience some unique traditions during your New Year break in the UK? Visit the small village of Llangynwyd in south Wales and see the ancient custom of the Mari Lwyd. Traditionally, a group of singers would visit houses with the Mari Lywd (a decorated horse’s skull on a pole) and try to gain entry by having a singing contest. Following the torchlit procession of the ‘Mari‘ at 10.30 pm, you’ll be able to see the bearer of the Mari attempt to complete challenges with hotels and pubs in this unique tradition.
I may be a *little* biased, but I think Manchester is one of the best places in the UK for New Year’s. A lively city in the north-west of England, some of the best DJs from around the world visit the city for incredible parties, including the infamous Warehouse Project (WHP). If fireworks are your thing, I recommend going to the glamourous Cloud 23’s NYE party where you’ll get the best views of the entire city.
Blog posts you might be interested in:
A small town just south of the Brecon Beacons National Park in south Wales, Mountain Ash is an unusual but great place to see in the New Year. A good choice for the energetic, the town hosts the Nos Galan Road Race on New Year’s Eve. An exciting event where locals run 5km, each race features a ‘mystery runner’ leading the race with a torch. This mystery runner is always a famous sportsperson and they later reveal themselves when it is over. Previous runners have included Linford Christie, Alyn Wyn Jones and Neil “Razor” Ruddock, and there is a small festival full of entertainment before the fireworks.
Want to party the night away? Head to Newquay on the Cornish coast and enjoy a New Year’s Eve to remember. Join thousands of people in fancy dress in the central square as they gather for the midnight countdown and sing Auld Lang Syne. Watch the fireworks before being sprayed with fake snow by hoses outside Bar Help!
Not one for going out out on New Year’s Eve? Visit Saundersfoot on the Pembrokeshire coast and welcome the new year with a (veryyyyy cold) swim in the Ocean. Dating back to 1984, there’s a different theme every year!
Famous for its surf beaches, St. Ives is unarguably one of the best places in the UK for New Year’s. With the roads closed from 6 pm, visitors in fancy dress (notice a theme yet?) enjoy street parties and food stalls. The crowd often overspills on to the beach where you can enjoy the fireworks over the chilly Celtic Sea.
Adding its own unique spin to Hogmanay, Stonehaven is definitely one of the best places in the UK for New Year’s. A small fishing village in Aberdeenshire, Stonehaven celebrates the new year with its famous Fireballs Ceremony. Incredible fire displays light the streets at midnight, with a procession of 45 men walking through the village swinging the ‘fireballs’ around the head to supposedly burn off the bad spirits. The men are led down to the harbour by a traditional pipe band and throw the balls into the sea, signalling the start of the fireworks display.
Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or experience a unique, ancient tradition, I hope this list of 20 places to celebrate the New Year in the UK has inspired you.
Wherever decide to see to the new year in, I hope you have a great time and have a happy new year!
Where do you think are the best places in the UK for New Year’s? Where are you spending this New Year’s? Let me know in the comments below!
Pin it for later!
Other posts you might find interesting: