New Year’s Day Parade
By far the biggest event with 8,000 participants, 500,000 spectators and a global TV audience, is London’s New Year’s Day Parade. Starting off by Green Park tube station at 12pm, the procession proceeds through Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square before finishing at Parliament Square around 3.30pm. Anyone who likes cheerleading, marching bands, historic vehicles, huge baloons, music or confetti is in for a treat.
Free. Grandstand tickets available for £37.50 – £125
⏰ 12pm – 3.30pm
New Year’s Day Gala
Begin 2018 in style at Barbican’s New Year’s Day Gala, an orchestral extravaganza that will feature classics including ‘Nessun Dorma’, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘Rule, Britannia!’, courtesy of the London Concert Orchestra, Sky Ingram (soprano), Alexander James Edwards (tenor) and conductor Anthony Inglis. Check out the Martini Bar after the show for £6 cocktails from 5-6pm.
Tickets from £19.50
📍 Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS, United Kingdom +44 (0) 20 7638 4141
New Year’s Day Ceilidh
Get the new year off to a folky start with a New Year’s Day Ceilidh session at the Clore Ballroom in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. There will be music, dance and theatrics performed by musicians and dancers from all over the world in association with the Ceilidh Liberation Front, an organisation committed to preserving the proud Celtic ceilidh tradition.
⏰ 3pm – 7pm
Christmas at Kew Gardens
Head to one of West London’s most popular attractions to catch the last day of Christmas at Kew Gardens and squeeze a few final drops out of the festive season. Marvel at the magic of kaleidoscopic projections, lustrous plants and buildings and the fabulous Fire Garden. Santa and his elves will be lingering about for one more day to meet the kids, while adults can look forward to festive shopping, mulled wine and seasonal snacks.
Tickets: £18.50 (concessions: £12; kids under 4 go free)
⏰ 5pm – 10pm
Christmas by the River
Check out the Christmas by the River market in London Bridge City, with views of Tower Bridge, the HMS Belfast and the Tower of London. There will be pop-up stalls and bars serving craft beers, warm cider, mulled wine and, of course, Christmas cocktails. Meanwhile, 68 independent traders will be offering homemade gifts and tasty fare from festive German-style chalets.
⏰ 11am – 7pm
📍 London Bridge City, 2A More London Riverside, London, SE1 2DB, United Kingdom +44 (0) 20 7403 4866
Catch the last day of Winterville on Clapham Common, a festive feast of attractions and activities – not to mention lots of seasonal drinks from a multitude of bars scattered around the pop-up village. Have some fun on the ice rink, brave a couple of rides and jump aboard the Ferris wheel before indulging in some of the tasty food provided by Street Feast.
⏰ 11am – 10pm
Christmas Lights Bike Tour
Explore London in one of the healthiest (and quickest) possible ways with a jolly Christmas Lights Bike Tour that begins at the Southbank HQ of the London Bicycle Tour Company. Take in sights including the Houses of Parliament, Harrods and Hyde Park as the tour travels through Central London’s most popular areas, accompanied by a boombox blasting traditional carols as well as everyone’s favourite Christmas hits. Tours are available in English or Dutch and the leisurely pace leaves lots of time for photos.
Tickets: £25.95 (children: £22.95)
⏰ 3.30pm – 6.30pm
Discover the Elizabethan Christmas story at Hampton Court Palace and find out how the festive season materialised in 16th-century England. The elaborate expression of the Christmas story will involve a range of workshops involving singing, sketching, dance and theatre. Be sure to have a skate on the ice rink while you’re here.
Free with entrance to Hampton Court Palace (adults: £15.90; children £8; members: free)
⏰ 11am – 3.30pm
📍 Hampton Court Palace, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU, United Kingdom +44 (0) 20 3166 6000
Skate at Somerset House
Come along and marvel at the majesty of Somerset House, nestled away between the Strand and the River Thames. Take the kids for a skate on the ice in the courtyard of this palatial 18th-century building for a New Year’s Day they’ll never forget.
⏰ 12pm – 10.15pm
📍 Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN, United Kingdom +44 (0) 20 7845 4600
Find out all about the origins of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah at Museum of London’s Hanukkah Celebrations. Families can drop in and participate in either of two workshop slots where children aged five and over can learn how to write their name in Hebrew and design their very own Hanukkah cards to share with friends and family.
⏰ 12.30pm – 2pm; 2.30pm – 4pm
📍 Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN, United Kingdom +44 (0) 20 7638 4141