New Year’s Eve. Old Year’s Day. St. Sylvester. Hogmanay: is there any other night of the year that elicits so much conversational controversy, so many yelps of excitement and groans in equal measure? Apart from maybe Eurovision, the answer is – probably not. If you’re in London to celebrate (or try to ignore) it, we’re going to try and get you into the excitable camp, which a round-up of some of the best, and a few alternative, ways to spend your last hours of 2014, and really make your mark on 2015.
The Great Outdoors (sort of)
London Fireworks Extravaganza
London Mayor Boris Johnson will be presenting the capital’s famous sparkly spectacular, with the whizz-bang display lighting up the Thames from the South Bank. You’ll be sharing the view with over half a million spectators, and to keep under some semblance of control, there is now a £10 per head price and a maximum of 4 tickets per person can be booked. At midnight, the Big Ben bongs will ring out across the area, with that party going on until 12.45am courtesy of a live DJ set and everyone’s good humour. Transport For London will also very kindly be providing eyebrow with a free ride home all night on all services, from 23.45pm to 4.30am.
New Year’s Eve Boat Parties
The Thames is such an emblematic and central part of London life, and how better to take in all the sumptuous sights and see every angle of every pyrotechnic while enjoying a drink, some good food and revelry than from aboard one of London’s river cruises? Lasting five hours, you’ll enjoy unbeatable views, music, a welcome glass of champagne on arrival (and again at midnight), unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks and a wide selection of buffet foods.
Nightbus to Catford NYE Special
323 New Cross Road
London SE14 6AS
A cheap, soulful, guaranteed last of a boogie to be had at this classic and much-loved South East London boozer. DJs will be spinning northern soul, ’60s classics, mod, reggae, ska and more until early into 2015. The event is ticketed but you don’t need to reserve in advance, just show up at the door and hand over £3 – £5 depending on when you arrive and have a great time.
200 York Way
London N7 9AX
£13 – £15
Egg club near King’s Cross in North London is famed for its marathon opening hours and nigh-on legendarily good nights, and this New Year’s Eve promises to be bigger and better than ever. They will be hosting a borderline frightening 15-hour party, from 9pm-2pm. The all-star cast they’ve assembled to keep everyone on their feet is a stand-out one, including Darius Syrossian, Leftwing & Kody, Patrick Topping and Him_Self_Her and a whole host of others. Pack your energy bars and your dancing shoes for this one…
Paradise New Year’s Eve Masked Ball
19 Kilburn Lane
London W10 4AE
This West London party promises to be plush, elegant, glam and nigh-on Bacchanalian in levels of extravagance. The venue is hosting a masked ball extravaganza, with music supplied by some of the capital’s finest DJs over both floors. This year’s confirmed spinners include Asad Naqvi, Rum&Tings, Karl Gordon and Ben Cullum, among others. Exceptionally, no food will be served on New Year’s Eve but you can stagger along for a late brunch and Bloody Mary on the 1st.
Hackney Downs Studios
13-17 Amthurst Terrace
London E8 2BT
For those craving a London version of the Celtic traditional party, head down to Hackney Downs studios for this take on the classic Hogmanay celebration. With urban beats and the promise of Scottish-themed cocktails, you know there’s going to be whisky, we’ve told you there will be dancing, so you can’t complain about the fall-out from combining the two. And who would, frankly?
A Vintage New Year’s Eve Party
London SE1 8XX
The Southbank Centre’s New Year’s Eve Party provides a stylish, retro way to see in 2015. There will be various pop-up venues inside the Royal Festival Hall, including The Torch Club for full-on ’30s and ’40s music, the Soul Casino with music ranging from deep funk to Northern soul, 1960s-themed bar The Pick Up Joint, a vintage hair and beauty salon and The Warehouse, a space that celebrates the dance music and rave culture of the early ’90s via the synth-pop and New Romantic movement of the ’80s. The dress code: pick a decade and dress it.
New Year’s Eve Tarantino Special at The Blues Kitchen
134 – 146 Curtain Road, Shoreditch
London EC2A 3AR
Some intensive viewing of that twist dance-off scene from Pulp Fiction will serve you well at this year’s homage to Tarantino and everything that is a celebration of well-groomed gangsterism. DJs will be playing soul, funk and soundtrack tunes, there’ll be a twist dance contest , five dollar shakes to keep you going and a live surf band.
New Year’s Dinner Parties
London is something of a head-spinner when it comes to choosing restaurants, and New Year’s is no exception. The added snag at this time is that many will be booked up months in advance, so do your research, make your plans and if you get stuck why not check out one of these:
Elegant Courses at City Social
24th Floor, 25 Old Broad St
London EC2N 1HQ
If you look forward more to over-indulging in food than drink on New Year’s Eve, the City Social’s Elegant Courses might well be for you. Swallow your vertigo as you zoom up to the 24th floor of Tower 42 – London’s third tallest building – and soak up the City views as Michelin-starred Jason Atherton his very merry men and women guide you through a six course menu to ring in the new year. Tuck into salted cod brandade, chorizo, baby squid or an impeccable Lake District Beef fillet, braised shin, fondant potato, red wine sauce and black perigord truffles…
Black Tie Masquerade Ball
29 Romily Street, Soho
London W1D 5HP
As glitzy and glam as the name implies, New Year’s Eve at Kettners in Soho offers opulent abundance with their Black Tie Masquerade Ball. Burlesque, cabaret, live music and DJs will keep the glamour factor raised in to the small hours of next year in gorgeous Georgian surroundings. If your mask has a mouth-hole, you can even enjoy supper in the restaurant before revelling in a spot that has absorbed nearly 150 years of freewheeling hedonism.
New Year’s Day
If you make it out of bed before the 2nd of January, you’ll find there are actually some attractions and events happening on New Year’s Day. Various museums and galleries will be operating on restricted opening hours (such as the Churchill War Rooms, the Horniman Museum, the Museum of Transport, Tate Modern…) and you can still wake up your sense on one of the many ice-rinks that are set up for the season (Somerset House, Winterville, Hampton Court Palace, Winter Wonderland…). Finally, to truly see London celebrating itself with flamboyance and fun, make like a Londoner and join in the New Year’s Day Parade. Starting at Piccadilly at 12 noon and finishing at 3.30pm in Parliament Square, it’s a great way for the city’s residents to get together and celebrate everything they love best about their hometown and their own neighbourhoods. Every year since 1997, each of the 31 Boroughs along with the City of Westminster has been invited to enter the Parade with an act, float, or other form of entertainment relating to the yearly Parade theme and since 1987 London’s New Year’s Day Parade has raised well over a million pounds for charity.