We love a house party (the clue is our name). Especially when it comes to big celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve. There’s always so much magic in the air during the festive period. This is the perfect time to toast to your friends and family. But we know that music and cocktails aren’t everyone’s perfect idea of New Year’s Eve. There are plenty of fun things you can do across the UK to celebrate and we have some great alternatives for anyone who wants to get away and do something different. Here are 19 ideas for the best New Year’s Eve breaks in England, Wales, and Scotland:
1. Winter Beach Break in Devon
Many people will tell you that Devon is a summer destination. But we think it’s particularly charming in wintertime. The cold months are considerably quieter (even during the Christmas period) and you’ll be sure to get some peace and quiet on the beautiful beaches. This is a lovely time of year to take long beach walks, enjoy a winter picnic with views of the ocean, or to go beachcombing with the kids. And if it’s an adults only group, you can wine and dine in Devon’s cosy pubs, many of which have roaring fires and great seasonal dishes on offer.
2. Country Retreat in the Cotswolds
If you want to experience the quintessential country life then the Cotswolds is the best destination for a New Year’s Eve break in the UK. This spectacular region is one of those special places that you can spend weeks exploring, and you will still want to return time and time again.
The region is best known for its fantastic walking and cycling routes (with flat terrain to suit all levels), amazing wildlife (including birds and mammals), and laid-back country culture (with some of the best pubs in England). Spend the day reconnecting with the outdoors, followed by an evening warming up by an open fire at a traditional English pub.
3. Lake District Walking Holiday
Walkers will love the Lake District at this of year. The scenery is outstanding and so atmospheric, especially if there’s snowfall. Some of the finest routes include the easy lakeside walk at Derwentwater and Brandelhow, the steep climb from Tom Gill to Tarn Hows (with views of high fells when you get to the top), the ancient mountain passes of the Mickleden Valley trail, and the easy Windermere Western Shore walk that is suitable for the whole family.
4. Foodie Weekend in Edinburgh
Good food goes hand in hand with NYE celebrations and the beautiful city of Edinburgh is known as a bit of a foodie paradise in Scotland. So if you’re looking for a break that can tantalise your taste buds and dishes that can excite your palate, we recommend booking a weekend break in Scotland’s capital.
If you love Michelin dining, make sure you book a table well in advance as waiting lists can be long for the city’s top restaurants. Michelin star restaurants include The Kitchin, Restaurant Martin Wishart, 21212 and Number One at the Balmoral Hotel.
5. Loch Lomond Adventure Holiday
If you want an exhilarating outdoor adventure for New Year’s Eve, you will be spoilt for choice with activities at Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. We feature a number of spectacular properties in Loch Lomond, all of them suitable for large groups so you can bring the whole gang with you.
The National Park has so much on offer, including hiking and cycling, sailing and water sports as well as loch cruises and tours. For an adrenaline-pumping day out, don’t miss the fantastic TreeZone Aerial Adventure Course and be sure to check out Loch Lomond Water Ski Club for fun on the water. Loch Lomond is also home to Martin Wishart’s Michelin star restaurant for groups that enjoy fine dining.
6. A City Break in Bath
Bath is a beautiful city at any time of year, but it’s especially magical during the winter season. The city centre boasts some of the most spectacular Christmas light displays in the country, making it one of our favourite destinations to get a little festive cheer. Stay here over New Year and you can spend your days shopping the post-Christmas sales, sightseeing as well as wining and dining in the city’s top restaurants.
You are also less than an hour from Stonehenge, which is open to the public every Boxing Day and every New Year’s Day.
7. Spa Weekend in Cheltenham
Cheltenham is one of the UK’s top spa towns so if you’re hoping to relax and rejuvenate before the brand new year rolls in, a weekend getaway here is a great way to celebrate. Many of the spas and wellness centres in Cheltenham have been rated by leading publications. Including The Spa @ Ellenborough Park which is set in a historic hotel dating back to the 1500s and reviewed by The Telegraph with an 8/10 rating. Or the striking Cowley Manor with its extensive grounds and modern décor, also listed by The Telegraph as 8/10.
8. Shopping and Sights in York
Need a holiday that has something for everyone? The historic city of York is incredibly charming, with lots of activities to suit all ages. For culture vultures and knowledge buffs, they’ll love the sightseeing and museums. The iconic Gothic style York Minster is one of the city’s defining features and other sights not to miss are York Castle, St Mary’s Abbey, York Museum Gardens, Treasurer’s House, York Art Gallery and York Dungeon.
For shopping, you simply cannot miss The Shambles – an old cobbled street with buildings dating back to the 14th Century. The Shambles Market is also open 7 days a week.
9. Bournemouth Nightlife
For groups that can’t resist the sound of music and the clinking of champagne flutes but want something different to a house party, why not visit a brand new city to mark the occasion? Bournemouth is a superb destination for nightlife, with many hip bars and restaurants set along the beautiful Boscombe Pier. The Pier is also a top area for fresh seafood dining so foodies will be very well catered for.
The city often has a number of events to suit every style of party or budget. From black-tie dinner dances at the Bournemouth Pavilion Ballroom to club nights at the O2 Academy. So you will definitely be able to find a venue that suits your group.
10. Romantic Trip to Oban
Whether you plan something for just the two of you or for a large group, there is no better town for a couple’s retreat than western Scotland’s port of Oban. This sleepy little community is the gateway to the Hebridean Islands, perfect for anyone who wants a sailing or cruising adventure. There are also many fantastic sights / attractions nearby. Such as the ancient ruins of Dunollie Castle, the 14th Century Castle Stalker, the 13th Century Dunstaffnage Castle, and the spellbinding Loch Creran which is very atmospheric during the cold season.
The town itself is crowned by McCaig’s Tower, a historic structure that resembles a Colosseum. And seafood lovers will find some of the best food around in this part of the country. You will get to taste Scotland’s finest, all at very reasonable prices.
11. Spend NYE in a National Park
We think a week’s getaway in Pembrokeshire National Park is the ultimate way to relax during the New Year period. The park’s expansive wild coastline makes a fantastic location for long walks, sunsets, winter picnics or just watching the world go by.
12. A Dog-Friendly Holiday in the Highlands
Want to plan a New Year’s holiday but don’t want to leave your furry friends behind? If your family circle isn’t complete with your loveable mutt, head off to the Scottish Highlands for a scenic walking trip. The Highlands is one of Britain’s top destinations for dog walking, renowned for its many dog-friendly hotels, B&Bs and rental properties. There are endless walking routes to take your dog on and you will never struggle to find a pub that welcomes four-legged companions.
13. Winter Boating in Norfolk
Boating during the winter months may not have the same appeal as summer sailing. But there are so many reasons to try this alternative, other than the advantages of quieter waters and more mooring space. Winter sailing in Norfolk is a truly magical experience, with spectacular scenery, an enchanting atmosphere, and crisp and clean air. The Norfolk waterways offer jaw-dropping vistas and awe-inspiring sunset views. Just be sure to wrap up warm and don’t forget to pack your camera to capture those special moments.
14. Tour the Gardens of Kent
Known as the ‘Garden of England’, the beautiful county of Kent is a popular travel destination for garden fans. But it’s not just the spring and summer months that are worth visiting the region for. Kent is home to some of the most prestigious plant collections as well as many gardens that are open during the Christmas and New Year period. Some of our favourite spots to check out are Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Hever Castle and its 125 acres of landscaped grounds, Leeds Castle, Chartwell Gardens and Ightham Mote.
15. New Year’s Day at Cheltenham Races
One of the Cotswolds’ biggest New Year celebratory events is the famous Cheltenham races, taking place every year on the 1st of January. If you’d rather avoid the New Year’s Eve crowds, have an early night and save yourself for the New Year’s Day racing event instead. It’s the most stylish event of the year in the city and sees locals and visitors alike, coming together to celebrate such a momentous occasion. The event usually opens at 10:30am, with the first race around noon.
16. Yorkshire Ale Trail Weekend
The Transpennine Real Ale Trail is a great way of discovering the best boozers in Yorkshire and Lancashire, with selected pubs that are located just a short walk from their respective stations. Whist train services may be less frequent on certain national holiday dates during Christmas, they run regularly on New Year’s Eve. Meaning you can get the full ale experience from Stalybridge to Huddersfield to Dewsbury.
At House Parties, we feature a number of stylish properties suitable for large groups within the Yorkshire area. With houses sleeping up to 15+ people and many with great transport links.
17. Hogmanay Celebrations in Scotland
There are so many different events taking place across the course of the Hogmanay Festival in Edinburgh. Including concerts, comedy, live performances and traditional dancing. But the events that you definitely don’t want to miss are the Torchlight Procession (taking place on 30th December) and the famous Street Party (taking place on 31st December). If you’re still not done celebrating, make sure you join locals for Loony Dook to take a dip in the freezing River Forth on New Year’s Day! It’s a sobering experience to say the least!
18. St. Ives Beach Party
Who would have thought that the small and sleepy Cornish town of St. Ives could put on such a good New Year’s Eve event? Locals gather in the town every 21st December fully clad in fancy dress costumes for a street party, and the crowd often ends up overflowing onto the beach. This party is family-friendly so kids will feel very welcome, and a fireworks display usually marks the night.
19. London City Break
There is so much to do in London and it’s one of our favourite cities for having a good time with friends. And we have a number of properties in Sussex as well as Kent, which are ideally located just a short train or coach journey away from the dazzling capital. As well as sightseeing, shopping, nightlife, street food and amazing gastronomy, London is also the best place for watching NYE fireworks. The annual fireworks display takes places on Victoria Embankment and tickets are just £10 per person.