Today I want to share my guide to the best places for New Year’s Eve in the UK with you. There are lots of festive destinations to end the year in the United Kingdom, from big cities to celebratory towns. Whether you’re seeking the top New Year’s party in Britain or the perfect place to sing “Auld Lang Syne” with friends, there’s a place you’ll love on December 31st. I’ve included a map, too.

Best Places for New Year's Eve in the UK

Best Places for New Year’s Eve in the UK

The best places to spend New Year’s Eve in the UK range from major urban hubs to towns and villages in the countryside. Some are home to famous celebrations, while others are renowned for annual events or centuries-old local traditions.

Whatever you’re looking for, these exciting places to visit in the UK in winter are bound to get you in the New Year’s spirit.

From fire festivals to parties and fireworks on the sea, I hope my list inspires you to travel somewhere fun to ring in the coming 12 months at the end of December.

Edinburgh Hogmanay Ferris Wheel

1. New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh

Edinburgh tops my list of the best places for New Year’s Eve in the UK. Not only does the city look magical at this time of year, but there are also festivities going on all over town.

New Year’s Eve in Scotland is called Hogmanay, and Edinburgh’s celebrations are some of the biggest and best in the country.

The festivities last for three days, with everything from a torchlight procession through the city to a big street party with a concert and fireworks display over the castle. There’s even a New Year’s Day tradition of swimming in the Firth of Forth in costumes.

Scott Monument, Edinburgh

Hogmanay here is so famous it’s often considered the top New Year celebration in the UK. It makes Edinburgh one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve in the world.

I went up to Edinburgh once to spend Hogmanay with friends, and I had an amazing time experiencing three days of the city’s legendary events and traditions.

I loved the fireworks on the 31st, but the torchlight parade was one of the most awe-inspiring things I’ve ever taken part in. It was amazing to see all the flames light up the night sky.

If you want to take this trip, you can book a place to stay in Edinburgh here. There are lots of great hotels, B&Bs, apartment rentals, and other accommodation to choose from.

New Year's Eve in Edinburgh

2. New Year’s Eve in London

London is another of the best cities in the UK for New Year’s Eve. The capital comes alive on December 31st with events, parties, and a big fireworks show on the Thames.

Whether you want to party in Trafalgar Square or spend the evening by the river, there’s a lot going on.

I’ve been in London for New Year’s Eve many times, and experiencing the fireworks show is amazing. That’s not least because it has landmarks like the London Eye and Big Ben as a backdrop.

A lot of London’s best restaurants, bars, clubs, and hotels host special dinners and parties on New Year’s Eve, too.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a multi-course tasting menu, sip champagne with a view, or dance the last night of December away, there are plenty of options.

New Year's Eve fireworks in London

If you just want to enjoy the city, you can walk around and take in the Christmas decorations. From the trees to the lights and London’s shopping arcades, there’s plenty to see.

If you want to experience the best of it, you can follow my free self-guided Christmas lights walk in London to see the highlights.

If you need a place to stay, you can take a look at my guide to quirky hotels in London to find a unique and memorable place to spend New Year’s Eve.

Regent Street Christmas Lights in London

3. New Year’s Eve in St Ives

Next on my list of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve in the UK is St Ives. This coastal town in Cornwall is not only a beautiful seaside destination, but also home to one of Britain’s best celebrations on December 31st.

This is not least because there’s a spectacular fireworks show on the waterfront at midnight each year.

Locals and visitors go all-out with costumes, and everyone gets into the New Year’s Eve spirit. It’s so big it’s been said that this is Britain’s third largest fancy dress party after London and Edinburgh.

Red Phone Box in St Ives, Cornwall, England

Before the show starts, people enjoy house parties or drinks at bars, restaurants, and traditional pubs like the Sloop Inn.

Afterwards they join the crowds on Fore Street, Park Avenue, The Malakoff, and the road to the Harbour Hotel (not to mention the area around the harbor itself) to get ready to ring in the new year.

If you want to take this trip, you can book a hotel in St Ives here. I’ve stayed in an apartment in St Ives and I loved the flexibility it gave me during my stay.

Cottages in St Ives, Cornwall

4. New Year’s Eve in Stonehaven

Next on my list of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve in the UK is Stonehaven. This coastal town near Aberdeen, Scotland is known for hosting one of Britain’s most unique celebrations on December 31st.

Called The Stonehaven Fireballs, the festival sees 40-45 men and women parade up and down the Auld Toon High Street swinging flaming balls around their heads on wires before hurling them into the sea.

The idea is to burn off the bad spirits from the old year and let the spirits of the new year come in fresh and clean.

View of Stonehaven, Scotland

The Stonehaven Fireballs festival takes place every Hogmanay as the old town bell rings at midnight. A pipe band plays just before the parade starts, and the ceremony lasts 20 minutes as thousands of people watch in awe.

Most visitors and locals arrive at the harbor from 10pm to find a good place to view the festivities. There are shows and entertainment from 11pm. After the Fireballs ceremony ends, there are fireworks to enjoy.

If you want to take this trip, you can book accommodation in Stonehaven here or a place to stay in Aberdeen here. From hotels to apartment rentals and B&Bs, there are plenty of options.

Beach in Stonehaven, Scotland

5. New Year’s Eve in Biggar

Next on my list of the best NYE destinations in the UK is Biggar. This Scottish Borders town in South Lanarkshire is known for hosting one of Britain’s most famous bonfires on December 31st.

Called Biggar Bonfire, the event sees the town’s oldest inhabitant lighting a huge fire on the high street around 9:30pm.

The tradition is said to date back to pagan times, when fire was worshiped and believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

At the beginning of the night, the Hogmanay celebrations start with a torchlight parade featuring pipes and drums. When the parade reaches the high street, the bonfire is lit and the traditional Scottish music and dancing begins.

If you want to take this trip, you can book a place to stay in Biggar here. You can also stay nearby in Edinburgh or Glasgow if you want to base yourself in a city.

6. New Year’s Eve in Cardiff

Over in Wales, Cardiff is one of the top places to spend New Year’s Eve in the UK. The Welsh capital is known for everything from parties to club nights, restaurant events, and family-friendly entertainment.

Tower in Cardiff, Wales

Like London and Edinburgh, Cardiff goes all-out for New Year’s Eve. Each year on December 31st there are premier events featuring everything from lip-sync battles to karaoke, dancing, champagne, and big countdowns to midnight.

There’s also the annual Winter Wonderland festival. Whether you want to spend New Year’s Eve ice skating on the grounds of Cardiff Castle, enjoying drinks in the Ice Bar experience on the City Hall Lawns, or checking out the fun fair, there’s plenty of entertainment on offer.

If you want to take this trip, you can book a place to stay in Cardiff here. There are lots of options to choose from, including hotels, B&Bs, and apartment rentals.

Cardiff Castle view

7. New Year’s Eve in Allendale

Up in Northumberland, Allendale is another of the best places for New Year’s Eve in the UK. This town is known for its unique fire festival, the Allendale Tar Bar’l. It’s a tradition that’s been celebrated for many years.

The annual event sees 45 costumed men carry flaming tar-filled barrels on their heads as they march through town behind a band.

At midnight, they toss the burning tar onto a pyre in the town square to ignite a bonfire as people shout “be damned to he who throws last”.

Crowds gather from 11pm to see the “guisers” (as the barrel-carrying men are named) called upon to do their duty. The torches are lit and the barrels ignited at 11:30pm, and there’s music and dancing in the streets after the bonfire is going.

If you want to take this trip, you can book a place to stay in Allendale here. There’s a range of options to choose from, including castles, hotels, cottages, glamping sites, and farm stays.

8. New Year’s Eve in Newquay

Back in Cornwall, Newquay is another of the best New Year’s destinations in the UK. This surf town is known for its big celebrations on December 31st.

Cornwall beach

The New Year’s Eve fireworks in Newquay are legendary. They light up over the bay at midnight, and they’re great to see if you can get a view of the harbor.

Elsewhere, many local hotels and pubs host parties and events. There’s always revelry in Central Square, too. If you want to live like a local, dress up in a costume and head to one of Newquay’s clubs or bars to celebrate.

If this trip appeals to you, you can book a place to stay in Newquay here. There are loads of options, from traditional hotels to lodges, resorts, B&Bs, houses, and apartments.

Cornwall surfers

9. New Year’s Eve in Belfast

Over in Northern Ireland, Belfast is another of the best places for New Year’s Eve in the UK. While there are no official fireworks here on December 31st, the city offers everything from glittering parties to big nights out.

If you’re looking to party the night away, many of Belfast’s pubs, bars, and clubs offer live entertainment, DJs, special menus, and New Year’s Eve VIP packages.

Elsewhere in the city, restaurants and hotels offer special menus, music, and champagne toasts to ring in the New Year in style.

If that all sounds good to you, you can book accommodation in Belfast here. I’ve stayed at the Malmaison Belfast and I like its stunning exterior and city center location. You can book a room here.

Belfast City Hall

10. New Year’s Eve in Bideford

In Devon, Bideford is another of the best places to be on December 31st in the UK. This town may seem unassuming, but it was named one of the top 10 places for New Year’s Eve traditions by the Guardian.

That’s because it’s famous for its fancy dress and fireworks display on December 31st. Thousands of people put on costumes and join a big outdoor party on the quay in the early evening. There’s music and a stage, and everyone gets into the spirit.

At midnight the bells of St Mary’s Church ring in the new year, and a legendary fireworks display lights up the night sky.

If you want to celebrate here, you can book a hotel in Bideford here. There are lot of good options, from country hotels to houses, barns, cottages, and B&Bs.

11. New Year’s Eve in Inverness

Back in Scotland, Inverness is another of the best places for New Year’s Eve in the UK. Why? Because the Capital of the Highlands puts on a big party on December 31st.

Inverness Castle

The Red Hot Highland Fling is an open-air celebration featuring live music, comedy, and fireworks. It takes place in Northern Meeting Park Arena and it lasts all evening until the wee hours on January 1st.

From traditional Scottish music to folk rock and a ceilidh band, there’s no shortage of entertainment to help revelers get in the Hogmanay spirit at the Red Hot Highland Fling.

If you want to ring in the new year in this part of Scotland, you can book a place to stay in Inverness here. There are all kinds of options, including hotels, apartments, houses, lodges, and B&Bs.

Inverness river view

Map

As promised, I created an interactive Google map of all the places I listed in this blog post. You can find it here. I hope it helps you plan the perfect New Year’s Eve trip!

Torchlight Procession for Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Best Places to Spend New Year’s Eve in the UK

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the best places for New Year’s Eve in the UK, and that it’s inspired you to get out and discover some of the most celebratory destinations in the country.

I’m sure they’ll help you start the coming 12 months off right as much as they’ve helped me. Happy New Year!

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Best Places for New Year's Eve in the UK

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