I have many fond (and somewhat scanty) memories of New Year’s Eve past, whether that involved kissing strangers in strange locations or braving the throngs on the South Bank to party like it was 1999. But since having kids, welcoming the New Year has been a much tamer affair.
Still for those of us who haven’t managed to
bribe book babysitters, there are loads of ways you can have fun with the babes indoors or out.
Just remember that New Year’s Eve is a whole day event. And when you’ve got little ones, there’s no excuse not to rock around the clock.
UPDATED FOR 2017-2018!
2. Fancy up your look with henna designs at Museum of London’s Henna Party.
4. Pimp your Xmas Tree for the New Year with glitter balls, party blowers, leftover crackers, masks etc. Or why not slide down the giant Christmas Tree Slide at Wembley Park?
7. Enjoy the final Giraffe High Tea for 2017 at London Zoo.
8. Have a Wizard of ‘Oz’ theme party – red shoes, kangaroos, any interpretation! – and celebrate New Year’s at 1pm London time (that’s midnight, Down Under). Or join daytime block party FUN DMC New Year’s Eve and hip hop with your L’il Wayne or L’iL Kim until the balloon drops at midday!
9. Glide beneath the stars as the clocks chime at Tower of London, Skate at Somerset House, National History Museum Ice Rink. Or take the kids skating on a rooftop in Tobacco Docks.
10. Pick up some party bling at Dazzle jewellery fair at Oxo Tower.
11. Make your own DIY handprint calendar for 2018.
12. See the ’sunset’ (lights going down earlier) at Penguin Point at London Aquarium.
13. It’s sparkle time for babies and toddlers at Bauble at Discover Story Centre.
14. Bake this quirky New Year’s cake with the little ones (or just spell out Happy 2018 in cupcakes and blow out the candles at midnight)!
15. Enchant your little prince (or princess) before the clock strikes midnight with gorgeous panto Cinderella at Hackney Empire.
16. Strike out at Rowan’s Bowling Alley as the clock strikes.
17. Toast to 2018 via an early Champagne Flight on the London Eye.
18. Launch your year with an epic movie. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out in cinemas.
19. Invite friends with kids round for a sleepover party with dancing, retro games or YouTube karaoke (or bundle the babes in one room with a movie, while grown-ups party till dawn).
21. Mums, dads and even kids can get prepped and pampered for the night/year ahead at Brown’s Hotel Spa in Mayfair.
23. Get high with the best views of the city at View from the Shard.
24. You and the kids can put on your finery or fancy dress, set up a DIY photo booth with homemade props, plus mini makeover/tattoo parlour, and get snap happy.
25. Order the Beat the Clock menu at Belgo Centraal restaurant.
26. Wave goodbye to London 2017 from the Emirates Air Line Cable Car flight over Greenwich.
27. Party with knights, jugglers and serving wenches at a family friendly Medieval Banquet in St Katharine Docks.
28. Experience ice skating, roller disco, Spiegeltent and funfair rides at Winterville.
29. Book into a room with a view to see the South Bank fireworks.
30. Camp out in the living room with sleeping bags/duvets etc for an all-night movie marathon. Pillow fights optional!
31. Make and decorate your own capes or just gift the family with superhero undies (my tradition) for a kick ass New Year!
And if you sleep through it all, here are some fun ideas for New Year’s Day with Kids in London:
Brave the crowds for London’s annual New Year’s Day Parade (Jan 1 from 12pm, all ages, FREE);
See Chiswick all lit up at the Magical Lantern Festival (until Jan 1);
Swing out with your favourite partner, whether that’s an adult, a toddler or a bubba in a baby carrier at the annual New Year’s Day Ceilidh at South Bank Centre (all ages, 2pm-5pm, FREE) (Jan 1);
All aboard a steam locomotive at the Epping Ongar Railway’s New Year Steam Day (Jan 1);
Discover the origins of Hannukah at Museum of London’s family workshop (Jan 1);
Building your New Year from the ground up with BrickLive Interactive LEGO Adventure at Saatchi Gallery (until Jan 7)