My first time EVER to the United Kingdom was for New Years! Crazy right? RIGHT!
Since I am a traveler who loves to cram as much stuff into a vacation as possible, I decided that before we went on our all expense paid trip to Ski Peak in Vaujany, France that I would tack on another stop!
London has always been on my must do list…but seeing fireworks light up the night sky over the London Eye? I knew we’d be in for a treat. Thankfully, I experienced everything first so I could fill you in on all the shit you should probably know before going!
Here is my ultimate guide to New Year’s in London!
By getting there, I mean to London itself…not the firework venue just yet! Obviously, this time of year can be ridiculously expensive for travel. Buttttt, leave it to me to find the best deals!! My post about Cheap Flight Sites will give you the inside scoop on which websites will have the best deals!
For this trip in particular, I ended up using one of those sites to find http://www.kissandfly.com. No this isn’t some hooker website where you have to do deeds for flights hahah, it’s just simply a tool to find AMAZEBALL prices. Literally, round-trip from Boston to London was $900 for two people. TOTAL. I know, bow down to me later, but for now, getcha ass up and start your search!
Tip #1: Use your airline miles to get you to a popular hub then fly from there! For example, Boston is a major hub to fly from the US to almost anywhere in Europe/UK etc. We used our miles to basically pay for our round-trip flight to Boston then only had to pay round-trip to the UK!
Since New Year’s is right around the corner though, you want to look now! Booking in advance will save you the stress and heartache later on. Plus, you’ll be broke from all the Christmas present buying if you wait too much longer! If you just so happen to read this post later on, what I’m trying to get at is…book in advance!! The closer it gets, especially if you don’t live within a relevant distance to London, the more expensive it will be!
Tip #2: All airports are far as fuck from the city center of London. Make sure to search them all to find the best deal! We flew into Gatwick because it was cheapest overall!
Picking your Viewing Area for New Year’s Eve Fireworks (if you decide this option)
A couple of years ago, London introduced a ticketing system where you have to choose a viewing area and buy a ticket to prevent overcrowding. Some may hate this new system, but I found it to be very well planned out. WAYYYY better than any American system would have been. I think all hell would have broken loose if this was in America. No offense ‘Merica.
I am not entirely sure when tickets go on sale, but you can get reminders that send you updates. So, which one should you choose? Well, we picked the Green Area, also known as behind the London Eye. This wasn’t my first choice because I saw that other spots were more popular but already sold out at the time…no no no, THIS was the best viewing area in my opinion.
Virtually no line, whereas both the Waterloo and Westminster Bridge, had lines for days!!! It was ridiculous. Whichever you choose, you are sure to get a great show. But choose wisely. A lot of roads, tubes and bridges close early to prepare for this…which brings me to my next point of where to stay!
Side note: Some might just want to hit up a killer party and watch the fireworks from someplace else! That’s totally up to you. Just want to give y’all ALL the options so you don’t miss out on any fun!
ALSO…If you decide to go with this option…you can bring food, snack, drinks, and even alcohol into the viewing area! We got there probably 2 1/2 hours before midnight because we thought we would have to wait in line forever. I wouldn’t bring any glass…but seriously anything you can think of to hold you over for those few hours before the show! Trust me on this. We didn’t know we could do that but luckily there was a small convenience store inside our viewing area but on any of the bridges, there won’t be shit!
Where to Stay for New Year’s Eve
Where you stay should be solely based on where your viewing area is! Since we were in the green, we looked at the map for places on the same side of the river as our viewing point. BECAUSE like I said earlier, streets and bridges etc. close hours in advance so if you are on the opposite side…good fuckin’ luck getting anywhere.
Airbnb: We opted for an Airbnb because of the price and location. Why not get an entire apartment for the same price as one night in a hotel? If you listen to me and do your research ahead of time then there will be lots of options to pick from!
I don’t really want to tell you specifics of where to stay because everyone has different budgets, tastes, and ideas of how their trip will go. The most important thing is to pick a place in conjunction with your viewing area OR place you decide to party. Search for hotels, hostels, apartment rentals daily to catch the best deal!
What to do during the day in London
Go shopping at Covent Garden: A little less popular than Oxford or Regent Street is Covent Garden. Their decorations are insane, and you can find a more funky street style here along with arts and crafts at the market!
Stroll through Hyde Park: I actually suggest you do this the night before because New Year’s Eve goers still get to enjoy the world-famous Christmas Market! Seeing it #LitAF in person is just magical. If you can’t make it the night before, hurry and catch it before it disappears for a whole other year! Spiked hot chocolate, fun rides, and overpriced hats make it the most festive place to spend the afternoon.
Cook up Cocktails at ABQ London: Get your Breaking Bad on by entering an RV Meth Lab to cook up some cocktails! It’s truly a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else. Yellow jumpsuits, dry ice, and a huge Heisenberg sign really immerse you into the show! Plus, the drinks are addicting 😉
Borough Market: Start your day with a stop at Borough Market. We pretty much ate our way through each aisle trying every food, cheese, meat and olive we could get our hands on! And obviously, since it’s New Year’s, you gotta down some of their warm wine. Personally, I was not a fan whatsoever, but when it’s cold and you need a buzz, it’s perfect!
What to Expect during New Year’s Eve
I know that NYE is all about getting glammed up. Guys want to wear their snazziest suites and girls want to wear so many sparkles that it looks like a stripper threw up on them. My advice to you is go all out, but remember its gonna be cold!
Maybe you opt for a high-end party with a premium open bar rather than standing outside in the cold to watch fireworks you’ve seen hundreds of times. Great! Just be prepared to walk, walk, walk. Cobblestone streets and road closures make for a long hike in heels ladies so just make sure to dress accordingly. AND since it is so damn cold outside, you don’t have to worry about being uber fancy…some nice flats would do you just fine. Plus, you’ll be able to bust a move easier ;).
Restaurants will be pretty busy as well so make sure you book a table for a celebratory New Year’s Eve dinner well in advance to make sure you fill up on food before a night of partying! Unless you choose the option of all-inclusive parties! Usually, you pay a certain fee and get unlimited food and booze all night long! Sounds like a steal!
Since most of the tubes and bridges will close early, take an Uber to the closest possible roadblock and get out there! It will save you from walking miles in the cold no matter what activity you plan on doing.
Where to eat for New Year’s Eve
Tip #3: 5 stars does not always mean the best meal. You are the only one who knows your palette and what flavors you like. Pick a place where the menu looks appetizing and run with it!
Belvedere: A French-inspired restaurant in the middle of London’s most beautiful parks, Holland Park, and in one of the capital’s most fashionable areas. Serving up some serious couture cuisine!
Toulouse Lautrec Restaurant & Jazz Club: Get jazzy with a pre-determined New Year’s Eve menu at only £49 per person! Being another French-inspired restaurant (yes I am obsessed with French food), this is a steal!
Hunter 486: Located inside The Arch London is this Best of British menu! A four-course meal jam-packed with British favorites is the best way to get your food fix before the night begins! Did someone say crab ravioli??
Tip #4: Go on Open Table to find which restaurants still have availability and ones that are close to your viewing area!
See how I picked mostly French food? That’s just my taste! You can see all the other places we ate in London to give you even more options!
Where to Party for New Year’s Eve
Wanna party with all your closest friends in a seriously “cool” environment? Celebrate with the London’s New Years Eve Ball Apres ’17! It’s everything you love about the winter without the cold! A ski party in the heart of London serving up free beer, wine, and soda all night in an alpine wonderland environment. Sit around a log fire, sip cocktails and dance the night away! £180 per person!
Would you rather go back in time to the roaring 1920’s? This Great Gatsby themed NYE party is sure to bring out the flappers and dappers. Gambling tables, an elegant dinner club, and even a secret speakeasy will catapult you back to the Prohibition age! This NYE Prohibition Party is a more budget-friendly option at only £10 per person!
Let’s get high! In the sky I mean 😉 Celebrate New Year’s Eve at The Shard! This sophisticated event is for the grown and sexy! Flying high about the crowds you’ll experience a 360-degree view of the fireworks and the beautiful city of London! Between the goodie bag filled with products and cash bar, no wonder the Shard is the place to be! Bust out those wallets bitches because this comes in at a hefty price tag of £199.00 per person!
Did someone say BOOZE CRUISE? Okay, I guess NYE is all about trying to stay somewhat classy right? Let’s take the party to the water with a Big Bang Boat Cruise! Not just any cruise though…take a trip down the Thames River with this 5-hour extravaganza! You’ll see some of London’s iconic sights, drink free wine, beer and soda the entire ride, and even chow down on a buffet! Hold onto your Christmas money though because this comes in at a whopping £245.00 per person!
Tip #5: There is something for everyone on NYE. I didn’t even scratch the surface…so google some options and I’m sure you will find something to fit your budget (Broke AF like me) and your style.
New Year’s Day
Eat in an Igloo at Coppa Club: Let me be honest with you, you most likely won’t get a table here because they don’t accept reservations. But we still got to go and enjoy the view of seeing the cutest little igloos that you can dine in while overlooking the Tower Bridge! If you are lucky enough to snag a seat, it will be a meal you talk about for a while.
Overlook London at the Sky Garden: You’ve heard of the Shard but have you heard of the SkyGarden?? Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. Towering over the city you can enjoy eating, drinking and people watching from this place! The perfect way to catch some fresh air and ponder the upcoming New Year!
Winterville at Clapham Common: Don’t let winter slip away just yet. Enjoy this pop-up playground for all ages! Here you will find a game of mini golf, to a backyard cinema and even a Wasted Chic Christmas market! Spend the day eating, drinking, laughing and dancing right into the New Year!
Boy oh boy, I wish I was headed back to London this year for New Year’s Eve! I tried to cover as much ground as possible to make this trip unforgettable for you! Hopefully, you learn from my mistakes, pick some awesome activities to do both before and after, and have the best fucking New Year’s ever!
If you’re feeling super frisky this holiday season, check out my NEW YEAR’S IN LONDON YouTube video. You get to witness the magic of London during Christmas/ New Year’s and see some fireworks! Which will hopefully get you excited for booking your celebration vacation! Ah, I love that sound of that. Have you been to London for New Year’s? Am I missing anything?? Until next time…
xo Bonvoyage Babes