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.
**NB: Please note that all event timings and prices are subject to change/cancellation at short notice, so always check ahead with the venue (or the latest government guidelines) before making a trip!**
UPDATED FOR 2021-2022!
1. Let it snow! Watch The Snowman dancing in the air at Sadler’s Wells, before he melts away until next Christmas.
2. PARTY TIME! Midday is the new midnight. Dance to soul and indie classics at a pre-New Year’s eve event with How Does It Feel To Be Loved Children’s Disco (Sun Jan 30).
On actual New Year’s Eve, the Fun DMC New Year’s Eve family bash is SOLD OUT but you can party the day away on Dec 31st with Ida Barr and the Kids New Year Countdown at Southbank Centre (join in at home this year via livestream)!
Families can go Raving and Misbehaving with Sharky & George at Under the Bridge on Fulham Rd (Dec 31, 2-4pm). And the incredible Big Fish Little Fish will be throwing an Actual New Year’s Eve Family Rave with Alex Paterson (The Orb) at Amersham Arms in New Cross (Dec 31, 2-4pm) – midnight countdown at 3pm!
4. Pimp your Xmas Tree for the New Year with glitter balls, party blowers, leftover crackers, masks etc. Or allez-y to see the Eiffel tower-inspired Lancome LED Christmas tree at St Pancras station.
6. Go nuts for Nutcracker ballet at London Coliseum.
7. Enjoy the final Giraffe High Tea for 2021 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).
9. Glide beneath the stars as the clocks chime at Tower of London, Skate at Somerset House, National History Museum Ice Rink. Take the kids skating on a rooftop in Tobacco Docks. Or watch cartoon heroes skate in Disney on Ice: Find Your Hero at O2 Arena.
10. Pick up some party bling at Dazzle jewellery fair at Oxo Tower.
11. Make your own DIY handprint calendar for 2022.
12. Watch the ’sunset’ (when the lights go down earlier) at Penguin Point at London Aquarium.
13. Take your little ones along for a free interactive play session in Mudlarks at Museum of London.
14. Bake one of these New Year’s Eve cakes with the little ones (or just spell out Happy 2022 in cupcakes and blow out the candles at midnight)!
15. Enjoy a magical matinee with Aladdin, the Lyric Hammersmith panto.
16. Strike out at Rowan’s Bowling Alley as the clock strikes.
17. Toast to 2022 via an early Champagne Flight on the London Eye.
18. Launch your year with an epic movie. Spiderman: No Way Home is out in cinemas now.
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 (ages 4-16) can get prepped and pampered for the night/year ahead at Brown’s Hotel Spa in Mayfair.
22. Make it pop with this NY Eve Balloon Countdown.
23. Get high with an early evening trip up for 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.
26. Wave goodbye to London 2021 from the Emirates Air Line Cable Car flight over Greenwich.
27. Settle in for some festive family films at Backyard Cinema.
28. Experience the winter market, a Magical Ice Kingdom and more at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.
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! Check out our guide to Best Ever Movies to Watch with your Kids.
31. Make and decorate your own capes or just gift the family with superhero undies (my annual 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:
Join the crowds for London’s annual New Year’s Day Parade (Jan 1 from 12pm, all ages, FREE);
Swing out with another adult, your child or baby in a carrier at the New Year’s Day Ceilidh at South Bank Centre (all ages, 12pm, FREE) (Jan 1);
Ride a real steam train in London with the Epping Ongar Railway’s New Year Scenic Railcar Service (Jan 1-2);
Seen Spiderman? Catch one of these other family friendly releases: The Matrix Resurrections, Ghostbusters Afterlife, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, King Richard, Disney’s Encanto or Clifford the Big Red Dog.
More Festive Guides for London Fun