All the attention might be on Christmas at the moment, but soon you’ll have to decide where you’re going to be when Big Ben starts to chime. If the idea of another year watching Jools Holland’s Hootenanny on BBC Two leaves you feeling a little underwhelmed, don’t worry. There are oodles of amazing places in our own backyard to welcome 2016.
So, where’s the party at? These ten great destinations were the most popular places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in 2014, based on bookings through Holiday Lettings, the UK’s leading holiday rental website.
Londoners know how to throw a New Year’s party. The centrepiece of the city’s festivities comes at midnight on the banks of the River Thames where thousands descend to watch the pyrotechnics. Since the 2011 show wowed on the eve of the Olympic year, the annual spectacle has developed a reputation as one of the most exciting firework displays in the world. Then, after the evening’s revelry, you can catch the New Year’s Day Parade. The procession will march through central London, from Piccadilly to Parliament Square.
There’s little wonder that Edinburgh saw the second highest number of bookings for New Year’s Eve last year. Over 150,000 people are predicted to be in the Scottish capital for the world-famous Hogmanay celebrations. Dance to top musicians and renowned DJs against the magical backdrop of Edinburgh Castle until the wee small hours. Feeling brave? The following day you can partake in the Loony Dook. It’s where thousands of revellers in fancy dress go for a traditional dip in the Firth of Forth. You won’t regret it… honest.
If you’ve ever partied in Glasgow, you’ll know it has one of the biggest clubbing scenes in the whole of Europe. But a trip to Glasgow on New Year’s Eve offers more than late night clubs and house music. There are restaurants that cater for every taste and bars for boisterous drinkers and cosy couples alike. Fans of live music need not worry; they’ll be able to catch performances across the city (including Scotland’s own chart-topper Calvin Harris at the Courtyard). And although you may be almost 6,000 miles away from Copacabana beach, check out the ‘Brazil Meets Cuba’ alternative Hogmanay party at Boteco do Brazil.
Beautiful Bath is always one of the UK’s top destinations, but the historic city was the fourth most visited on New Year’s Eve in 2014. The city is known for the stunning symmetry of its Georgian architecture and its friendly atmosphere. For a grand start to 2016, bring in the New Year in style at the iconic Roman Baths. The annual black-tie event includes an elegant drinks reception in the stunning torch lit baths. The striking scene will leave with you memories that will last a lifetime.
Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside, even on New Year’s Eve. Holidaymakers have been flocking to these gorgeous (but often underrated) shores since the 17th century. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of the resort’s award-winning restaurants before strolling along the famous promenade and admiring Scarborough’s natural bay. If you’re quick, you might still be able to get a ticket to the hottest New Year’s Eve party in town: The Masquerade Dinner takes place at The Spa, a Grade II listed building and Scarborough’s most prestigious venue.
This sleepy Somerset town is synonymous with Arthurian legend and mysticism, so hundreds feel the need to make the pilgrimage for the unique New Year experience it offers. One particular place of interest is Glastonbury Tor, a mysterious man-made hill, now maintained by the National Trust. Of course, Glastonbury isn’t just for New Age hippies, man. The town’s many pubs, bars and eateries will open until late. So get yourself to Glastonbury for a cosmic start to 2016!
Last year, Hastings had the seventh highest number of bookings for New Year’s Eve, the highest in a trio of south coast resorts. In fact, the town’s emergence as one of the UK’s top holiday hotspots continued into 2015. New Year’s celebrations should start with a trip one of the vintage galleries and antique shops on the fashionable Norman Road. Then, as the clock edges closer to midnight, make your way to a traditional pub for a good old knees up! If you love old boozers, try Ye Olde Pumphouse on George Street.
As one of the south coast’s shining lights, Bournemouth’s position on this list proves that the town has much more to offer than just a seven mile beach. The cosmopolitan resort has a vibrant night scene that can rival any of its neighbours – even bustling Brighton. If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to bring in 2016, check out the ‘Christmas Stage’ in Bournemouth Square. It runs from mid-November until Saturday 2 January. Starting at 11am on New Year’s Eve, through to 10pm, a variety of free entertainment will be on offer. You’ll see children’s entertainers, choirs, live music and exciting fire shows.
If Brighton knows how to do anything, it’s how to bring in the New Year a little differently. This lively town has everything you need for a killer NYE celebration: there are traditional pubs, thumping clubs and suave cocktail bars all within stumbling distance. For a real treat, go to Pump up the Jam at The Tempest Inn. The establishment’s cavernous aesthetic adds to the already electric atmosphere. It’s also great for 90s music aficionados: they’ll be playing it all night long!
Sneaking into the top ten is Kendal. For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, you’re in for a treat: it’s a pretty market town in the Lake District with limestone buildings and an arched bridge spanning the river. While some visiting ramblers crave a rural retreat, others opt for the bustle of a vibrant town and Kendal is the ideal place to find some joviality on New Year’s Eve. Dine in one of the town’s fine restaurants before raising a glass for 2016, alongside friendly Cumbrians in a public house. Then, when you’re ready for a dance, swing by the Bootleggers to see local band ‘The Seals’ play classic songs until 3am. What better way could there be to start 2016?
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