An option for many traveling parents is to spend New Year’s Eve in London with children with the intention of visiting the city on these magical days and culminating the trip by celebrating New Year’s Eve in the British capital. Many readers often ask me when these dates are approaching what to do on New Year’s Eve in London with children, so here we have prepared some ideas for you.
London celebrates one of the most important nights of the year on New Year’s Eve, and the truth is that it gets very crowded, and knowing where to have dinner or what to do if you are going to spend New Year’s Eve in London with children can be difficult. The normal thing is to want the night to be a little special, and in a city as big as London it is not easy to decide which is the best option.
What will you find in this article?
- What to do on New Year’s Eve in London with children during the day
- Museums open on December 31 in London
- Attractions in London open on December 31
- Celebrate New Year’s Eve in London with children
- Restaurants for dinner on New Year’s Eve in London with children
- New Year’s Eve cruises in London for families
- What to do on January 1 in London with children
- New Year’s parade
- Ceilidh at Southbank Center
- Winter Wonderland
1. What to do on New Year’s Eve in London with children during the day
Virtually all of London’s museums and tourist attractions will open on December 31st, so knowing what to do during the day if you’re planning on spending New Year’s Eve in London with kids is usually no problem. Some places will have slightly different hours than normal hours and will close earlier, but you will generally be able to get around London during the day like any normal day.
Museums open on December 31 in London
Here we leave you information about some of the London museums that you can visit during the day if you are going to spend New Year’s Eve in London with children:
> British Museum
The British Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world and you can admire archaeological remains from ancient Egypt and other artifacts, which are often very interesting for children. It can take you a few hours to see the most interesting and it also has cafes and restaurants inside, so it’s great to take a break in the morning.
Address : Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG, London.
Nearest Tube Station : Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern Lines) or also in Holborn (Central and Piccadilly Lines)
Price : Free for both adults and children.
Hours : Open every day from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, with normal hours on December 31.
> Natural History Museum
Since we have lived in London we have visited the Natural History Museum with children when some family and friends have visited us and I have to say that it has always been the most successful.
In the Natural History Museum you can see thousands of stuffed animals, some of them animals that unfortunately have already become extinct, skeletons of numerous species and the new great star of the museum, the skeleton of a whale that was baptized as “Hope” and that occupies the central gallery of the museum, simply impressive and highly recommended on New Year’s Eve to visit with children. The exhibition of dinosaur skeletons is undoubtedly the most successful among the smallest of the family.
Address : It is on Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD, London.
Nearest tube station : South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly Lines).
Price : Free for both adults and children.
Hours : Open from 10:00 am to 5:50 pm, with normal hours on December 31.
> Warship HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast is one of the largest surviving World War II ships in Europe. She is currently permanently anchored to the banks of the Thames and is an amazing visit for children.
You can visit all the cabins, the engine rooms of the ship, the bridge, in short, the best way to see an impressive ship and give the little ones the opportunity to feel like real sailors for a few hours. Absolutely worth a visit.
Address : Anchored on the south bank of the Thames, at “The Queen’s walk”, SE1 2JH, London.
Nearest Tube Station : London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern Lines).
Price : Adults 16 Pounds and children over 5 years old 8 Pounds (Under 5 years enter free).
Hours : Open every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in winter, with normal hours on December 31.
> Science Museum
The Science Museum in London is super interactive and fun for children, and the youngest members of the family will most certainly not want to leave. Experiments that defy their reasoning or what they had seen so far, mechanisms capable of lifting several kilos of weight with just one finger, mysteries of astronomy, time, light… in general, a highly recommended option to enjoy New Year’s Eve in London with children of all ages.
Address : On “Exhibition Road” in the London Museums area, SW7 2DD.
Nearest tube station : South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly Lines).
Price : Free admission for both adults and children.
Hours : Open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, with normal hours on December 31.
> Transportation Museum
The Transport Museum in London is one of my favorites to visit with children. It is a very interactive museum for the little ones in the family, and they will be fascinated after being able to ride in double-decker buses, vintage buses and tube cars from the Victorian era. It is one of the museums in London that we personally liked the most to go with the family.
Attractions in London open on December 31
During the day on New Year’s Eve, many of London’s attractions open normally, but other attractions close soon, something to keep in mind if you are going to spend New Year’s Eve in London with your family.
The famous Winter Wonderland Christmas fair that is installed every Christmas in Hyde Park will be open on December 31 from 10 am to 5 pm. Undoubtedly a very special place to spend New Year’s Eve in London with children, since there are places to eat, attractions, raffles… come on, you will have a good time for sure.
Everyone thinks that the London Ferris Wheel will be closed on December 31st, but the reality is that it will be open to the public from 9am to 6pm. This is where London’s big New Year’s Eve fireworks display usually takes place at midnight, but this 2021 won’t take place.
> 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 (depending on the pace your children want to take, of course to make the complete visit. If you decide to visit the Tower of London on December 31, we recommend that you go early, around 9.30 or 9.45, so there won’t be so many queues and you’ll have just enough time to see it before eating. Admission to the Tower of London is included in the London Pass sightseeing pass .
> London Zoo
Located in the northern area of Regent’s Park, London Zoo is one of the favorite visits for children in London, whether it is during New Year’s Day or any other day.
It is the oldest scientific zoo in the world since when it was opened in 1828 the 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.
Address : Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY, London.
Nearest Tube Station : Camden Town (Northern Line).
Price : Adults 22 Pounds and children between 3 and 15 years old 18 Pounds (Children under 3 years enter free).
Hours : Open every day from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in winter, with normal hours on December 31.
> Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is the best-known church in all of England as well as being the oldest temple in the British capital. Famous for its historical value and for having hosted coronations of Kings and Queens. And for being the place where some of the most influential people in recent UK history are buried.
Address : 20 Deans Yd, SW1P 3PA, London.
Nearest tube station : Westminster.
Price : Adults 20 Pounds and children between 6 and 17 years old 10 Pounds (From 0 to 5 years old enter free).
Hours : Open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on December 31.
Disney on Ice
An ice skating show at the O2 stadium in London, where we can see various Disney characters, 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!
Location : O2 Stadium.
Nearest tube station : North Greenwich.
Price : 32 to 61 pounds depending on the ticket.
Hours : On December 31 there is a pass at 10:30 and 14:30.
2. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in London with children
The first thing you should know is that New Year’s Eve in London is usually a day in which the center collapses from early in the afternoon, since some of the streets are cut off and many people go out on the streets of London during the day, so we recommend choosing a place that is well connected to your hotel and to which you can return without much hassle.
Restaurants for dinner on New Year’s Eve in London with children
To dine on New Year’s Eve in London, as you can imagine, almost all restaurants offer a special New Year’s Eve menu, and if you are in the center it is important to book in advance, as they tend to be full.
The most important thing is that you decide on a restaurant as soon as possible and make a reservation, since it will be almost impossible for you to find a suitable place to dine on New Year’s Eve if you do not make a reservation (and of course, even if your children love it). I would like the idea of going to a Burger King… well, maybe it’s not the best way to celebrate the end of the year.
> Rainforest Cafe
The quintessential restaurant to go with children in London. Its decoration is the most striking, set in the jungle and with large aquariums with tropical fish. Obviously the menu is designed to please both parents and children and in our opinion, although the prices are a bit high for the type of food they serve, the visit is worth it just for the good time you spend with the children. .
Address : 20 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7EU
Nearest Tube Station : Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square.
Average price : About 22 Pounds per person.
Reservations : Rainforest Cafe London
> Other restaurants to celebrate New Year’s Eve in London with the family
Many of the chain restaurants like Italian restaurants Bella Italia, Zizzi’s or Prezzo will fill up but these are the places we usually recommend to go with children. We have an article where we explain which are the restaurants with a view of the fireworks and which are our favorite restaurants that we personally recommend.
New Year’s Eve Cruises in London for Families
One of the best ways to ring in the new year in London has always been by taking a cruise down the Thames with views of the New Year’s Eve fireworks on the London Eye. Unfortunately, this year 2022 will not be welcomed in London with the famous fireworks as it was decided to cancel this event due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
But, luckily, some New Year’s Eve cruises will continue, and although this year there are no fireworks to see, we are convinced that it will continue to be one of the best ways to celebrate the end of the year. Many of the cruises do not allow entry to children under 18 years of age, but there is a cruise that is more familiar, where entry to children under 18 years of age is allowed. Without a doubt, it is one of the most spectacular plans to celebrate New Year’s Eve in London with children.
Gala Dinner Cruise
It is a 5-hour cruise, which children over 5 years old can join. It is usually one of the most spectacular New Year’s Eve cruises in London every year. Includes a glass of champagne on arrival, 4-course dinner plus tea or coffee, with a half bottle of wine per person and a small bottle of mineral water per person. there will be a music group playing live and there is a dance floor. Glass of champagne at midnight. Bar on board. Formal attire is required.
It leaves Tower Pier (located next to the Tower of London) at 8pm, cruises down the Thames and returns to the Tower of London at approximately 1am.
> From the riverbank
To see the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London live from the banks of the River Thames you need to buy tickets. In our article buy tickets for fireworks in London we explain what the different areas available are and how to buy tickets. One of the questions that you often ask me is if it is advisable to go see the fireworks live if you are going to spend New Year’s Eve in London with children. It is definitely an option, but we do not usually recommend it for two reasons: 1 – the large number of people who attend this event, and 2 – because normally you have to enter up to 4 hours before and be there waiting, which with children I think it can be a bit difficult.
It is definitely not something I recommend if you have a baby stroller, since they do not make it clear on the official website that they allow baby strollers to enter. We also have to take into account that at the end of the New Year’s Eve fireworks, the 130,000 people who have bought tickets have to get out of there, and usually they all go to the subway, either to go home or to the hotel or to go to another place to continue the party.
In my opinion, trying to get out of there with so many people when you go with children can be a bit overwhelming. But, if your children are not very young and you think that the experience will be worth it, then buy the tickets as soon as possible, since they sell out very quickly! And if you decide to go with children, please leave us a comment when you return from your trip to tell us and share with more people how it went, the age of your children and if based on your experience you would recommend it.
> Other options
Other options to see the fireworks live is by doing one of the cruises that I mentioned before, or by going to some of the places that we mentioned in our article where to see the fireworks in London . Here we told you that there are places from which they can see the New Year’s Eve fireworks live without paying admission. To go with children, in my opinion, the best places are: Primrose Hill (the highest hill in Regent’s Park), Parliament Hill (the highest part of Hampstead Heath) and Vauxhall Bridge.
We have been to these three places on different New Year’s Eves, and I can say that in all three places there were families with children. You can always find a restaurant in Chalk farm and then go to see the fires in Primrose Hill, or have dinner in Hampstead and then walk to see the fires in Hampstead Heath.
3. What to do on January 1 in London with children
In our article what to do on January 1 in London we tell you what attractions are open in London and what events are on that day, but here we tell you some of the most interesting things you can do with children on New Year’s Day if you are going to spend New Year’s Eve in London with children:
new years parade
On January 1, one of the most anticipated events of the year is celebrated in London: The New Year Parade. It is an impressive parade, which runs through the main streets of central London and in our case has already become a tradition on January 1 in London, and without a doubt we recommend you go if you are going to spend New Year’s Eve in London with children.
Ceilidh at Southbank Center
In addition, at the Southbank Centre, on the south bank of the river next to the London Eye, a Cèilidh is held every January 1, which is a typical Scottish dance and to which everyone can join for free. It’s super fun and when we’ve danced it at a Scottish wedding we’ve been to, we’ve always loved it. It has not yet been confirmed for 2022.
The Great Christmas Fair in Hyde Park will open as normal on January 1. As we have mentioned before, it is an ideal option to go with children, and since it is open on January 1, it is a good way to start the new year if you are going to spend New Year’s Eve in London with children.