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.
1. 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:
> British Museum
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 artifacts. 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.
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 5.30 pm, with normal opening times on the 31st of December.
> 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.
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.
> HMS Belfast
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.
» More information and tickets: HMS Belfast
> Science Museum
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.
> Transport 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.
London attractions open on New Year’s Eve
> Winter Wonderland
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.
> London Eye
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 3 pm. From 3 pm the London Eye will be busy getting ready for the most important night of the year.
» 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
> London Zoo
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
2. 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 lots of family friendly restaurants. It is important to book in advance though if you want to dine in the city centre.
Some family restaurants you may also want to consider are the Italian restaurants Bella Italia, Zizzi’s or Prezzo.
> Planet Hollywood
Planet Hollywood is a perfect restaurant to spend New Year’s Eve in London with kids. There are two different sittings for dinner on New Year’s Eve. Children under 12 years old are welcome in the first sitting, which is at 7 pm. The table will be yours for 2 hours, and dinner consists of a 4 course menu. Party hats and confetti included. From 9 pm you’ll be able to go to the bar area, where there will be a live music band as well as a DJ to dance the night away.
Where to find it: 57-60 Haymarket, SW1Y 4QX
Nearest underground station: Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly line).
Price: from £55 adults, £25 children (5 – 12 years old)
More information: Planet Hollywood
> Medieval Banquet
The Fabulous Medieval Banquet is a spectacular way of spending New Year’s Eve in London as a family. It is a themed restaurant located in St Katharine’s dock, next to the Tower of London. They offer a special New Year’s Eve menu and it is undoubtedly one of the most popular family options for New Year’s Eve, as the whole family will have a great night.
Where to find it: Ivory House, St Katharine’s & Wapping, E1W 1BP.
Nearest underground station: Tower Hill (Circle and District lines).
Price: £100 adults, £80 children
More information: Medieval Banquet
> Rainforest Cafe
The rainforest café is one of London’s favourite themed restaurants for kids. Dine in the jungle, with tropical fish swimming in large aquariums.
Where to find it:: 20 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7EU
Nearest underground station: Piccadilly Circus o bien Leicester Square.
Price: No set menu for NYE, but in our experience it’s normally around £25 per person.
More information: Rainforest Cafe London
Family friendly New Year’s Eve river cruises in London
One of the best ways to welcome the New Year in London as a family is by celebrating on a Thames river cruise, with the best views to watch the famous fireworks that take place at midnight at the London Eye. Many NYE river cruises are for over 18s only, but luckily, there are a few new year’s eve cruises in London that are family friendly.
> Stargazer Cruise (for over 5 year olds)
2.5 hour NYE river cruise. This river cruise includes a picnic box with a sandwich, crisps, chocolate and a small bottle of champagne or soft drink. Enjoy the panoramic views from the inside or step outside to watch the fireworks at midnight. Licensed bar on board.
This cruise departs at 10 pm from Tower Pier (See Map) and will be positioned in front of the London Eye at midnight for the fireworks. It then returns to the same pier at 1 am.
» More information: Stargazer Cruise
> City Cruise (for over 5 year olds)
The NYE City Cruise is one of the most family friendly options to spend new year’s eve in London. It lasts approximately 5 hours and it includes a drink on arrival for each person, a 4-course dinner and 1 bottle of wine for every 2 adults.
Once dinner is over, there will be live music. You can then dance the night away on the dance floor. At midnight enjoy a glass of champagne whilst you watch the fireworks at the London Eye.
It departs at 9 pm from Tower Pier.
» More information: City Dinner Cruise
> Gala City Cruise (over 5 year olds)
The Gala City Cruise is another possibility of you’re looking for a family friendly New Year’s Eve Cruise in London, with spectacular views of the fireworks at midnight.
5 hour river cruise which includes a 4-course meal as well as 1 bottle of wine for every 2 adults. Live music and dance floor. It departs from Tower Pier at 8:00 p.m. Glass of champagne included at midnight as you welcome the New Year watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks of the London Eye.
» More information: Gala City Cruise
> Dinner at Cafe Rouge & Storm Clipper Firework River Cruise (for over 6 year olds)
I personally really like this option if you’re planning on spending New year’s Eve in London with kids. Dine at Cafe Rouge, a French restaurant located in St Katharine’s Dock (next to Tower Bridge) and then hop on the Storm Clipper for a 3-and-a-half-hour river cruise to watch the fireworks.
At 7.00 pm you will have to be in the restaurant. Includes a welcome drink upon arrival at the restaurant and a glass of wine per adult (and 2 soft drinks per child). The storm clipper departs at 9:45 pm from Tower Pier. Enjoy the views as you cruise along the Thames, and watch London’s New year’s Eve fireworks at midnight, returning afterwards to tower pier, and arriving there at approximately 00:45. See Map.
More information: Cafe Rouge & Stork Clipper
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 definitely 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 also isn’t clear on the official website that buggies are aloud, but I really don’t think you’d want to take a buggy somewhere as crowded as this.
Then once the fireworks have finished, everyone tries to get out at the same time, and this may be a bit overwhelming with small children.
> 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 s 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 there were families. A possibility is to go for dinner can always in Chalk farm and then watch the fireworkd from Primrose Hill, or have dinner in Hampstead and then watch the fireworks from Hampstead Heath.
3. 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 most anticipated events of the year: 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 day parade LondonNew year’s day day parade London
Cèilidh at the Southbank Centre
Join the Cèilidh that will take place at the Southbank centre for free, a great experience for new year´s day in London.
» More information: Ceilidh Southbank Centre
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.
Hello! We moved to London (Yes, the best city in the world) in 2010, and since then we have been discovering everything that this fantastic city has to offer. We regularly plan our friends’ trips to London, so we thought we would create PlanTripLondon.com and share our suggestions with the world for everyone to be able to plan the perfect trip to London!