Many parents decide to visit London for New Year’s Eve as a family, and choosing what to do on New year’s Eve in London with kids deserves some thinking. London is simply magical during the Christmas season but ending a trip to London celebrating the last night of the year in style as a family makes this an unforgettable experience.
New Year’s Eve is possibly the most important night of the year in London, and thousands of people plan to spend this magical night in one of the most wonderful cities of the world. With so many people and so many options, it can be tricky to choose how to send new year’s eve in London as a family.
What to do on New Year’s Eve in London with kids during the day
Virtually all museums and tourist attractions in London will open on December 31st, so choosing what to do during the day on New Year’s Eve in London with kids is usually not a problem. Some places may close early, but you should be able to do some touristy stuff during the day like any other day.
Museums open on the 31st of December
Some of the museums you’ll be able to visit during the day on New Year’s Eve in London as a family are:
The British Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world and here you will be able to admire a large amount of archaeological remains of ancient Egypt as well as other artefacts. Kids normally love looking at these objects in the British Museum. You can easily spend a few hours in the British Museum. There are coffee shops and restaurants inside it too if you need to take a break at some point. Pre-booking advised.
Where to find it: Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG.
Nearest Underground Station: Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern lines) or Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines)
Entry fee: Free.
Opening times: Open daily from 10.00 am until 5.00 pm, with normal opening times on the 31st of December.
» More information and tickets: British Museum.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum has to be one of my favourite places in London to visit as a family. Not only is it absolutely brilliant to visit with kids, but it is also one of London’s most amazing places to visit. As you enter the beautiful building where the natural history museum is housed, you’ll soon spot “Hope”, the skeleton of a whale that hangs in the central gallery of the museum. The museum is simply impressive and I’d say it is recommended if you’re choosing what to do during the day on New Year’s Eve with kids. The dinosaur exhibition is normally a favourite for the little ones. Pre-booking advised.
Where to find it: Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD.
Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly Lines).
Entry fee: Free.
Opening times: Open from 10.00 am until 5.50 pm. Normal opening times on December 31st.
» More information and tickets: Natural History Museum.
One of the largest World War II ships preserved in Europe. It is currently permanently anchored to the banks of the and River Thames and it’s an incredible place to take the kids.
Let the little ones explore the cabins and the engine rooms, and let them feel like authentic sailors for a few hours. Absolutely worth a visit.
Where to find it: The Queen´s walk, SE1 2JH.
Nearest Underground Station: London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern lines).
Entry fee: Adults £16, children over 5 £8. Under 5’s free.
Opening times: Open daily 10.00 am – 5:00 pm during the winter months, including the 31st of December. Last entry 3.30 pm.
» More information and tickets: HMS Belfast
A highly interactive museum where your little ones will not only be entertained for hours on end but where they will also be able to learn about the solar system, the human body, physics and chemistry experiments… They probably won’t want to leave!
Where to find it: Exhibition Road, SW7 2DD.
Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines).
Entry fee: Free.
Opening times: Open daily from 10.00 am until 6.00 pm, with normal opening times on the 31st of December.
» More information and tickets: Science Museum.
London’s Transport Museum is one of our favorites to visit with children. It is a very interactive museum for the little ones, and they will undoubtedly be fascinated when they find our they can explore London buses as well as trains from Victorian times.
» More information and tickets: London Transport Museum.
Sherlock Holmes Museum
Where to find it: 221b Baker St, Marylebone,London, NW1 6XE.
Nearest Underground Station: Baker Street.
Entry fee: Adults £16, children over 6 £11.
Opening times: Open daily from 9.30 am until 5.00 pm, with normal opening times on the 31st of December
» More information and tickets: Sherlock Holmes Museum.
London attractions open on New Year’s Eve
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a must see during Christmas in London and definitely not one to miss if you’re visiting London with kids. It will be open on December 31st from 10 am to 5 pm. It would probably be a good place to visit during the day on New year’s Eve in London with children, exploring the Christmas markets, the funfair and the ice skating rink. There are also numerous restaurants where you will be able to grab some lunch.
» More information: Winter Wonderland.
Everybody thinks that the London eye closes completely on the 31st of December as this is where London’s famous New year’s Eve fireworks take place, but the truth is that the London Eye is open on the 31st of December from 9 am to 6 pm.
» More information and tickets: London Eye.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is another attraction that can be visited with children on New Year’s Eve. On December 31, the Tower of London opens its doors from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm.
It can take you about 3 hours to visit the Tower of London, so if you decide to visit on December 31st, we would recommend that you get there no later than 9.30 am as it’s probably going to be one of London’s busiest tourist attractions on this day.
» More information and tickets: Tower of London
Located in the northern area of Regent´s Park, London Zoo is one of London’s favourite attractions to visit as a family.
It is the oldest scientific zoo in the world since it was inaugurated in 1828. The original plan was to keep it as a space for the study of species, but in 1847 it was opened to the public and today it is home to almost 800 species.
London Zoo is open from 10 am to 4 pm on New year’s Eve.
Where to find it: Regent´s Park, NW1 4RY.
Nearest underground station: Camden Town (Northern line).
Entry fee: £22 adults, £18 children under 15. Under 3’s go free.
Opening times: Open daily from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm during the winter, with normal opening hours on New year’s Eve.
» More information and tickets: London Zoo
Disney on Ice
An ice skating show at London’s O2 Stadium, where various Disney characters will make an appearance, including Moana, Maui, Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Ariel, Belle, Beast, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. A whole Christmas experience that the little ones will not forget!
Where: O2 Stadium.
Nearest underground station: North Greenwich.
Entry fee: £32 – £61.
Session times: There are two sessions on NYE, at 10:30 am and at 2:30 pm.
» More information and tickets: Disney On Ice
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in London with kids
The first thing you should know about celebrating New Year’s Eve in London is that it does get very busy. A good idea if you’re planning on celebrating New year’s Eve in London with kids is to book a hotel which will be easy to get to from wherever you’ll be celebrating New year’s Eve.
New year’s Eve Family Restaurants in London
Most restaurants in London offer a special new year’s eve meal, including many family-friendly restaurants. We would highly recommend booking in advance if you want to have an evening meal in central London on New Year’s Eve.
Some well-known family-friendly restaurants in central London that we would consider are:
Hard Rock Cafe
Where to find it: Building 225, Criterion, 229 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HR
Nearest underground station: Piccadilly Circus.
Price: Set menu for NYE, with a choice of a 2 course meal for £37.95 or a 3 course meal for £44.95. Children
Other family-friendly restaurants for New Year’s Eve with kids in London
Pizza Express is one of our favourite family-friendly restaurants in London, and there are a few to choose from in central London. Other family-friendly Italian restaurants you may want to consider are Bella Italia, Zizzi or Prezzo. These are all brilliant if you’re planning on visiting London with toddlers.
Other family-friendly restaurants we would recommend checking are Giraffe, Bill’s, Pizza Pilgrim’s, Shake Shack… One of our favourite themed restaurants is Sarastro, but we would probably recommend this for slightly older children.
Family-friendly New Year’s Eve river cruises in London
One of the best ways to welcome the New Year in London has always been by cruising the Thames overlooking the New Year’s Eve fireworks at the London Eye.
The famous New Year´s Eve Fireworks are back to welcome the New Year in London this year. This means that the New Year’s Eve cruises will be one of the best ways to celebrate NYE in London. Many New Year´s Eve cruises are child-friendly, so this is an extraordinary way to welcome 2023 and spend New Year’s Eve in London with children.
This option has to be one of our favourites for celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids in London. Enjoy a meal at Cafe Rouge (See Map) at 19.30, one of our go-to restaurants as a family in St Katharine’s Dock, next to the Tower of London, and then hop on a river cruise to watch the fireworks at midnight. Board the boat at Tower Pier at 22.00, and return to Tower Pier at approximately 00.30 hrs. This has to be one of our favourite options, as we absolutely love Cafe Rouge and St Katharine´s Dock. As it´s not Westminster either, it is away from most of the crowds so if you´re going with kids this is probably one of the best options.
This option includes a welcome drink on arrival at the restaurant and a 3-course celebration dinner with a glass of wine per adult and two soft drinks per child. Background music during the river cruise and a glass of sparkling wine at midnight per adult. See walking route from Cafe Rouge to Tower Pier.
» Find out more: Cafe Rouge and Galaxy Clipper
The Gala City Cruise is now of your best options if you’re looking for a special family-friendly New Year’s Eve Cruise in London. Children over five years old welcome.
This is a 5-hour river cruise with a 4-course sit-down meal and one bottle of wine for every two adults. There will be live music and a dance floor to dance the night away. It departs from Tower Pier at 8:00 pm, cruises to the London Eye to see the fireworks, and returns at 1 am. See Map.
» Find out more: Gala Dinner Thames Cruise
The Stargazer cruise is another child-friendly New Year´s Eve River Cruise. This cruise lasts for 2.5 hours, and kids over five are welcome.
This river cruise includes a Picnic Box with a sandwich, crisps, a small chocolate bar, a mini bottle of champagne, or a soft drink. The boat has a glass ceiling with panoramic views and a bar on board. There is indoor and outdoor seating. It departs Tower Pier at 10 pm, cruises to the London Eye to see the new year’s eve fireworks at midnight, and then returns to Tower pier at 1 am. See Map.
» Find out more: Stargazer Cruise
Watch London’s New year’s Eve fireworks with kids
From the banks of the River Thames
If you want to watch the London Eye New Year’s Eve fireworks live from the banks of the River Thames, you need to make sure you buy tickets in advance as they sell out very fast.
Do we recommend buying tickets to watch the New year’s Eve fireworks in London with kids? The answer to this question will probably depend on how old your children are. It is an option, but there are two things you need to have in mind: 1 – the large number of people who attend this event, and 2 – the waiting, as you usually have to go in 2 to 4 hours before the fireworks start.
It isn’t clear on the official website that buggies are allowed, but I don’t think you’d want to take a buggy somewhere as crowded as this.
Then once the fireworks have finished, everyone needs to get out, so leaving the ticketed area can be a bit daunting with little children. In these cases, we usually just stay a bit longer and wait for the crowds to go before we even try to leave. The nearest underground stations also get very busy.
Other ways to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London with kids
There are some places in London from which you’ll be able to watch the fireworks, even if you’re not first in line to watch the fireworks, and you may see them a bit far away.
- Primrose Hill (the highest point in Regent’s park),
- Parliament Hill (the highest point on Hampstead Heath)
- Vauxhall Bridge
We have seen the new year’s eve fireworks from all these places during the years and this is where you would normally find local families. You could consider booking a restaurant in Chalk farm and then watching the fireworks from Primrose Hill, or booking a restaurant in Hampstead and then watching the fireworks from Hampstead Heath.
What to do on New Year’s Day in London with kids
The best things to do on New Year’s Day with family are:
New Year’s Day Parade
On the 1st of January London celebrates the New Year with one of the year’s most anticipated events: The New Year’s Day parade. This is an impressive parade, which runs through the main streets of central London and it’s a fantastic way of spending New year’s Day in London with kids.
London’s New year’s Day parade will start on Piccadilly Street at noon. It will then pass through Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, reaching Parliament Square, next to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. It is expected to reach Parliament Square around 3.30 pm.
» More information: New year’s day parade London
Winter wonderland in Hyde Park will also be open on New year’s day, and this may be the perfect day to go if you haven’t taken the kids yet!
» More information: Winter Wonderland.