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Things to do on New Year's Day in London

Check out which museums, galleries and attractions are open on New Year's Day 2017, along with the best events to help you see in the new year

It's business as usual for most of London's museums and attractions, so peel yourself out of bed and start your cultural year as you mean to go on. Note that some venues will have reduced opening hours, so be sure to check details in advance as we'll be confirming these listings nearer the time, oh and - Happy New Year! 

RECOMMENDED: Read our full guide to New Year in London

Events in London on New Year's Day

New Year's Day Parade

London's New Year's Day Parade will feature performers representing 20 countries, including Pearly Kings and Queens, cheerleaders, marching bands, dancers and representatives from West End shows. The American-style extravaganza of musicians, dancers, acrobats, clowns and floats twirl, march and drum a 2.2-mile route beginning at the Ritz Hotel, taking in Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Big Ben, with temporary grandstands erected for better viewing in some places. 

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Various , London Sunday January 1 2017

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

The Grinch would have a real job stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park's massive tribute to festive fun, which is back for 2015 and open on New Year's Day if you're still in need of a little festive fun post Christmas.

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Hyde Park , Kensington Friday November 18 2016 - Monday January 2 2017

Museums open on New Year's Day

Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms are dedicated to the life and achievements of former British prime minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965). There's much on his political career, and many of his trademark props – including a cigar and his red siren suit – are on display.

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Design Museum


Opened in 1989 (following its original incarnation as the Boilerhouse established in the V&A by Terence Conran), the Design Museum by Tower Bridge encompasses modern and contemporary industrial and fashion design, graphics, architecture and multimedia. The smart Blueprint Café has a balcony overlooking the Thames. You can buy design books in the museum shop, as well as products related to the exhibitions. Exhibitions are usually accompanied by a programme of workshops for children.

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Fashion and Textile Museum

Founded by Zandra Rhodes in 2003, this centre for contemporary fashion, textiles and jewellery is now operated by Newham College and offers courses for creative students and businesses, as well as a programme of changing exhibitions. 

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London Bridge

Fan Museum

The Fan Museum is dedicated to the history of handheld fans and the craft of fan making, with a collection of more than 3,000 specimens from all over the world, some dating from the eleventh century. 

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Horniman Museum

An anthropological museum set in 16 acres of landscaped gardens, the Horniman Museum has a traditional natural history gallery, a state-of-the-art aquarium and gardens that offer spectacular views over London.

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Forest Hill

Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum holds an important collection of twentieth-century art as well as collections of the machinery of war, official communications and manuscripts of war literature.

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London Film Museum

Formerly known as The Movieum of London, London Film Museum celebrates the silver screen with props from films such as 'Superman', 'Star Wars', 'The Italian Job' and 'Batman'. 

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South Bank

London Transport Museum

The museum's design gallery is a tribute to Frank Pick, the man responsible for rolling out the London Underground brand and giving each line its own character. For children, the London Transport Museum has an under-fives play area.

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Covent Garden

Museum of London

The history of London, from prehistoric times to the present, is told in the Museum of London through reconstructed interiors and street scenes, alongside displays of original artefacts found during the museum's archaeological digs.

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Museum of London Docklands

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. 

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Canary Wharf
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Attractions open on New Year's Day

Cutty Sark

The world's last surviving tea clipper was the fastest and greatest of her age. That was over a century ago now, but the Cutty Sark is certainly still a venerable sight, perched on her glass pedestal on the water's edge in Greenwich. 

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Hampton Court Palace

Henry VIII had many homes, but this one oozes historical drama. Shakespeare performed here and Cromwell made it his home after the Civil War.

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HMS Belfast

Europe's largest cruiser from World War II, HMS Belfast is now a floating naval museum, a landmark on the Thames near Tower Bridge, with nine huge decks.

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Kensington Palace

Catch the inspired 'Enchanted Palace' installation before it closes, at this royal residence in Hyde Park.

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London Eye

The world's largest observation wheel offers a number of trip options: for instance, you could combine your revolution with a river cruise, take a Champagne flight or book a private capsule.

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South Bank

London Zoo

London Zoo is home to more than 600 animal species, many of which are endangered. There are plenty of cafés and picnic spots, and the zoo offers educational and craft activities as well as events exploring science and conservation.

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Regent's Park

Madame Tussauds

'Premiere Night' is an area in which contemporary stars including Harrison Ford and Sean Connery mingle with legendary icons such as Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

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Regent's Park

Kew Gardens


Kew Gardens is a magnificent World Heritage Site covering 300 acres with over 30,000 species of plants. A few of the specimens are represented by models but Kew is able to represent many examples of primitive plants from its own living collections. 

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Novelty Automation

This attraction promises an intoxicating mix of end-of-pier fun and eccentric artistry. Its owner, Tim Hunkin, makes coin-operated machines, some of which were once displayed in Covent Garden, others are still at his Southwold arcade The Under the Pier Show. At his new arcade you can see such machines as Is It Art? (an expert determines whether any presented object is art), Alien Probe ('Investigate the captive alien, but try not to annoy it'), the self-explanatory Autofrisk and, best of all, the regulator-evasion game of Money Laundering.

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Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Attraction showcasing weird and wonderful items from around the world, such a piece of the Berlin Wall, shrunken heads and a Swarovski crystal-covered Mini Cooper.

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Piccadilly Circus
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Art galleries open on New Year's Day

National Portrait Gallery

Portraits don't have to be stuffy. The National Portrait Gallery has everything from oil paintings of stiff-backed royals to photos of soccer stars and gloriously unflattering political caricatures.

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Leicester Square

Royal Academy of Arts

Britain's first art school is now best known for the galleries. Expect to pay for blockbusters, but shows in the John Madejski Fine Rooms are drawn from the RA's holdings – ranging from Constable to Hockney – and are free.

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Somerset House

The venue houses a formidable art gallery (the wonderful Courtauld), a beautiful fountain court, a terraced café and a classy restaurant. The Embankment Galleries explore connections between art, architecture and design with a series of temporary exhibitions.

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Tate Britain

Tate Modern gets all the attention, but the original Tate Gallery has a broader and more inclusive brief. Housed in a stately Portland stone-built building on the riverside, Tate Britain is second only to the National Gallery when it comes to British art.

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Wallace Collection

This handsome house, built in 1776, contains an exceptional collection of eighteenth-century French furniture, paintings and objets d'art, as well as an amazing array of medieval armour and weaponry.

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The V&A houses one of the world's greatest collections of decorative arts, in such varied fields as ceramics, sculpture, portrait miniatures and photography.

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Find your perfect New Year's Day party

New Year's Day parties in London

There are loads of great New Year's Day parties happening across London, meaning that the NYE fun doesn't have to stop on January 1.

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By: Tristan Parker