After the perfect way to spend New Year's Eve in London? Whether you're looking for things to do, venues and museums that are still open, a spectacular evening out, or just the very best New Year's Eve parties and nightlife, there's tons of things to do in London on New Year's Eve. Say goodbye to 2016 in style.
RECOMMENDED: Read our full guide to New Year in London
Things to do on New Year's Eve
The last David Bowie album cover, a robot surgeon and a drinkable book: all these and more are celebrated in the Design Museum’s annual Beazley Designs of the Year awards and accompanying exhibition. As the museum likes to boast, someday this stuff is going to be on display in other museums. We never miss this show. Every iteration turns up products that are life-saving, lovely to look at or just so clever you really, really wish they’d been your idea.
It’s a well-known trick that if you get a facelift and you want it to remain a secret, you should get a haircut at the same time because then everyone will attribute your fresh face to your new ’do – such is the transformative power of hair. Yet when it comes to fashion it’s the hairdresser who is often overlooked, but not anymore. This beautifully exhibition curated by Shonagh Marshall celebrates the 40-year career of hairdresser Sam McKnight, a man who has no less than 180 Vogue titles under his tool belt.
When Horatio Nelson died, he left his mistress, Emma Hamilton, £2,000, his house and his pigtail. It’s a perfect metaphor for Emma’s life: romantic, precarious and ultimately determined by others. Within a few years she’d spent the money, been forced to sell the house and wound up in debtor’s prison (presumably she hung on to the pigtail, since it appears in this show).
Amazing curator Carey Newsom persuaded 26 teenagers to let a photographer document their bedrooms: now you're invited in to see the results at this exhibition on the museum's concourse. Like homes inside of homes, each room reflects the person who created it, as well as commenting on how how teenagers handle the new privacy created by social media, smartphone tech - and the surprising resurgence of letters and vinyl.
The opening exhibition at the Design Museum's new Kensington home sees 11 installations exploring prominent issues, defining our time. Themes include networked sexuality, sentient robots, slow fashion and settled nomads. Architecture practice OMA present a response to the recent Brexit vote, while fashion designer Hussain Chalayan has conceived a series of wearable devices that pick up on emotions and project them for others to see.
The Harry Potter studio tours get a festive makeover once more this Winter, with Christmas trees and a seasonal feast in the Great Hall, decorations in Gryffindor common room and snow drifts in Diagon Alley. The beautiful scale model of Hogwarts that was used for sweeping shots over the school will also be looking wintry, with snow and ice effects carefully applied by hand.
This exhibition explores St Paul's Cathedral before, during and after The Great Fire of London. The blaze which consumed the London landmark 350 years ago was rebuilt to designs made by Christopher Wren after the flames tore through it. Here you can discover objects that survived the fire, follow a family trail or join a tour and find out how the heat make the cathedral's stones explode like grenades.
2016 marks the 150th anniversary of celebrated children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, who was a frequent visitor to the museum where she would often sit and sketch. This exhibition celebrates the date with artworks, original sketches and her earliest published works on show.
Evening events on New Year's Eve
London is chock-full of incredible New Year's Eve parties, from quirky fancy dress events to heads-down raving, here's our full list of all the parties kicking off in town on NYE.
Do Auld Lang Syne properly at Cecil Sharp House’s Ceilidh event on NYE from 8pm to 1am. Don’t worry, it includes a lesson at the start for anyone who’s still trying to brush up on their steps.
Venues open on New Year's Eve
The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, England’s first hospital for abandoned children, founded by Thomas Coram in 1739. It houses a fine collection of paintings by artists including Gainsborough, Reynolds, Hogarth and Hudson.
An anthropological museum set in 16 acres of landscaped gardens, the Horniman has a traditional natural history gallery – dominated by a bizarre, overstuffed walrus – where the exhibits are displayed in traditional cases with no computer touch-screens in sight.
The IWM London has had on a major refit - by Foster & Partners architects - which opened in 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the start of World War I. The Central Hall is still the attention- grabbing repository of major artefacts: guns, tanks and aircraft hung from the ceiling (not least a Harrier GR9 that saw action in Afghanistan).
Housed in a warehouse built 200 years ago to store sugar, coffee and rum, the museum tells the story of the Thames and its port and the people from all over the world who settled there. Thousands of objects and pictures – many rescued during the 1970s and 1980s when containerisation and competition forced London's port to move downstream – trace the area's history, from the arrival of the Romans to the rise of Canary Wharf.
Find things to do on New Year's Day
Permanently moored-up on the banks of the Thames, alongside Victoria Embankment and with views of the London Eye, Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament, the good ship R.S. Hispaniola is a floating spot for drinks and food. There are special events, too. The food offering ranges from seasonal a la cartes and bar menus to Sunday roasts, set menus and afternoon teas. The cocktail list includes cucumber martinis, a lavender fizz and a Tennessee Lemonade - Jack Daniels, Chambord, lemonade, lime and gomme syrup. The global wine list - slanted toward the old world - offers 22 bottles by the glass, with 14 of those also available by the carafe.