Spending New Year’s Eve in London? Whether you’re looking for a museum or gallery to wander during the day, or a festive soirée to shake your thing at come dusk, there’s something for even the most reluctant NYE fan in the capital this year. Here’s our pick of great things to do on December 31, from ice rinks, festive light displays and ace attractions to cabaret, immersive theatre, ceilidhs and museum lates. Say goodbye to 2018 in style and discover the best things to do on New Year’s Eve in London right here.
We’ll be updating this page with more events for New Year’s Eve 2018 as they are announced.
RECOMMENDED: See our guide to New Year in London
Festive daytime events on New Year’s Eve
Kew’s incredible gardens, madeover for the festitivies, are a great place to say farewell to the last year. Christmas at Kew brings illuminations to light up the buildings and plants. The mile-long, twinkling trail will lead visitors past singing trees, a flickering Fire Garden, kaleidoscopic projections and giant flora-inspired lights.
Entry to Winter Wonderland is free, and a wander past the fairground rides, around child-friendly Santa Land (including Santa's grotto) or through the Christmas markets is a real treat for anyone feeling the spirit of the season, as long as you're ready to hear all those songs as you potter.
The Natural History Museum is home to London’s most enchanting ice rink, thanks to the beautiful backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse's buildings, a row of trees dripping in fairy lights and a majestic Christmas tree in the middle of the ice. It's become a London Christmas classic.
Evening events on New Year’s Eve
Museums and attractions open on New Year’s Eve
Both a research institution and a fabulous museum, the NHM opened in Alfred Waterhouse’s purpose-built Romanesque palazzo on the Cromwell Road in 1881. Now joined by the splendid Darwin Centre extension, the original building still looks quite magnificent.
The very public progress of this mammoth building (just how do you keep a skyscraper under wraps?) ensured that, by the time of its completion in 2012, the Shard was a familiar part of London's skyline, visible from all over the city – contentiously so in the case of London's many protected views.
The new London Dungeon has all the ghastly gore and black comedy of the old Tooley Street attraction in a bigger and more high-tech package. A jokey celebration of torture, death and disease, visitors can journey back in time to London's plague-ridden streets (rotting corpses, rats, vile boils and projectile vomiting all come as standard) and meet some of the city's unsavoury characters, from Guy Fawkes to demon barber Sweeney Todd.
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.
The V&A is one of the world’s – let alone London's – most magnificent museums, its foundation stone laid on this site by Queen Victoria in her last official public engagement in 1899. It is a superb showcase for applied arts from around the world, appreciably calmer than its tearaway cousins on the other side of Exhibition Road.
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.
Housed in a set of 18th-century almshouses, the Geffrye Museum offers a vivid physical history of the English interior. Displaying original furniture, paintings, textiles and decorative arts, the museum recreates a sequence of typical middle-class living rooms from 1600 to the present.
When he wasn’t designing notable buildings (among them the original Bank of England), Sir John Soane (1753-1837) obsessively collected art, furniture and architectural ornamentation. In the nineteenth century, he turned his house into a museum to which, he said, ‘amateurs and students’ should have access.
Find things to do on New Year’s Day
Diciannove Italian Restaurant
This Crowne Plaza Hotel restaurant and bar was once, many moons ago, known as Refettorio - with Giorgio Locatelli at the helm, no less. Today, it still follows an Italian theme, with a menu showcasing classic plates from across the boot, served in a grand, Grade II-listed setting. They feature alongside dishes designated 'signatures': think fresh burrata served with asparagus and balsamic vinegar, chargrilled swordfish with cherry tomatoes and rocket salad, and casarecce Calabrese - pasta with a fresh tomato sauce, n’duja sausage, Calabrian olives and parsley. Desserts range from affogato and zabaione to tiramisu and plates of Italian cheese. Six bottles sourced from Spain, France, Chile and New Zealand are the only concessions on an otherwise all-Italian wine list - even the bubbly options are proseccos or sparkling Venetian reds. Expect Italian beers, too.
Venue says: “Winter Set Menu available at £18.50 per person for two courses.”
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