Close Icon
13 Ideas for a New Year Break in the UK

Celebrating New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be the same old same old every single year. There are so many different ways to see in the new calendar year – in style – right here in the UK (and it doesn’t have to be the local pub again). So if you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy this year’s soiree, here are some interesting ideas to add a little magic to your NYE countdown! And whether you want to enjoy a romantic toast with your other half, stay up late with the kids watching the fireworks, or invite the rabble to party the night away with wine and champagne, these NYE celebration ideas promise not to be the usual humdrum affair.

1. Hogmanay in Edinburgh


This is the biggest street party in the UK and it brings three whole days of music and events, all dedicated to seeing in a brand new year! There’s a wonderful festival atmosphere, especially when everybody’s favourite bands and DJs are on – but the street party is suitable for all ages so it won’t be intimidating for families or the slightly older crowd. From day to night, there are different things on for people of all ages. For instance, The National Museum of Scotland will be hosting ‘Sprogmanay’, bringing the party indoors with animated art, a words and sounds room, kids’ crafts and much more – and best of all – it’s free of charge so parents can enjoy the Hogmanay festival knowing that their little ones have something to do too. So whether you bring everyone along to enjoy the fun and festive Candlelight Procession in Edinburgh’s Old Town, come along to the Concert in the Castle for some fantastic headliners, enjoy the good old fashioned and truly iconic Street Party, or come to the Candlelit Concert for some classical music, you’ll never have a dull moment.
(Browse our cottages in the Scottish Highlands)

2. Cottage in the Cotswolds

cottage celebrations

If you’re after a quaint and quiet cottage getaway with your family, a cottage in the Cotswolds could be perfect. Not only is this region and its many chocolate box villages and pretty market towns famed for their traditional architecture and fairy tale cottages (so you’ll find many beautiful holiday homes to host your party), but there’s also so much to do in the surrounding areas so your guests will never be bored. The region is fantastic for walking, hiking and nature trails as well as cycling, sailing and various lake water sports available in the Cotswold Water Park. If you enjoy a tipple or a spot of shopping, you’ll find the local towns and villages to be thoroughly exciting. And some of our favourite places to go include Stow-on-the-Wold, Blockley, Broadway, Chipping Norton, Chipping Campden, and Bourton-on-the-Water. We have featured properties in all of these areas and you’ll find ample sights, gardens, walks, museums, zoos and wildlife parks, castles and historical sites nearby.

Some of our larger cottages in the Cotswold area are also suitable for groups if you’re planning a big NYE dinner with all your friends. Or there are a number of great pubs and restaurants in each area so you can choose to dine in or out!
(Browse our cottages in the Cotswolds)

3. Beach Party in St. Ives

In the small Cornish town of St. Ives, there exists an incredible party known only to those who have been let in on the secret. Every NYE, locals gather in fancy dress and fill the streets for a big celebration – and it’s built up quite a reputation over the years as one of the best New Year’s Eve parties around. Quite often, the party spills onto the beach so it’s the perfect place to come for beach lovers. The street party lasts well into the night and fireworks are set off to celebrate the countdown moments of midnight. Not only is it an electric atmosphere with the fantastic crowds and community feel, but the fancy dress element of it will make kids feel at home too. A great New Year’s Eve event for the whole family!

4. A Weekend in Oxford

Oxford is one of our favourite places to visit on a daytrip and it can be easily reached from London or some of our beautiful cottage locations near Burford, Witney, Shilton and Swinbrook close to the A40. The city of Oxford offers a great day out for all ages and as a famous university town, it’s got some fantastic sights. Don’t miss the stunning Bodleian Library, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Museum of the History of Science, the incredible University Parks, the Sheldonian Theatre, and the fantastic University of Oxford Botanic Garden. There’s also an endless choice of museums and buildings not to be missed, such as the Pitt Rivers Museum and the famous Radcliffe Camera. For great places to eat, you’ll find everything from fine dining to budget. To splash out, book at Gee’s Restaurant & Bar or the Ashmolean Dining Room. To save a few pennies, head to the family friendly Turl Street Kitchen.

5. Scenic Break in Snowdonia

To get away from it all and get back to nature with a loved one, we recommend a romantic break to the amazing National Park of Snowdonia. Not only is this region one of the most beautiful places of untouched natural beauty, but there’s so much to do for outdoorsy types and active couples. You can spend your week exploring the numerous trails on foot, or you can bring your mountain bike for an adventure on two wheels. Better yet, you can really turn up the romance for NYE and spend the countdown moments gazing at the stars in the sky. Snowdonia is a rare ‘Dark Sky Park’ and one of the best places to stargaze in the whole of the UK. So be sure to bring some warm clothing and plenty of blankets plus a flask of mulled wine so you and your loved one can see in the New Year watching the constellations above. Some of the best stargazing spot include Aber-Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre in Conwy, Crimea Pass above Blaenau Ffestiniog and Dinas Dinlle Car Park in Caerarfon.4. NYE in Castle Combe.

6. NYE in Castle Combe

One of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds is civil parish of Castle Combe. It’s one of the most iconic chocolate box villages in the Cotswold region (one that attracts thousands of tourists every year) and it can be easily reached from the town of Chippenham or some of our featured holiday cottages in the Kemble and Cirencester area – making it ideal for a day out with the whole family. Kids and grown-ups will love walking around the old and quaint streets and taking picture of all the traditional buildings. Don’t miss the Village Pound, the Dower House, the St George, the Market Cross, Archway Cottage (Garrett House), St. Andrew’s Church, the Court House and the War Memorial. Go to the Castle Inn for amazing food and drink (booking recommended), The Salutation Inn for a good tipple and to rub shoulders with the locals, or The Old Rectory for some good old fashion tea and scones.
(Browse our cottages in the Cotswolds)

7. Fireballs Ceremony in Stonehaven

The quiet Scottish town of Stonehaven takes fireworks to a whole new level at NYE. Instead of throwing fire into the sky, this town like to bring fire into the streets (but don’t worry – it’s all very safe). For the countdown to NYE, the local members of the Stonehaven Fireballs Association light up the roads with their incredible fire and light show and you can expect these fire performers to be on cue at the stroke of midnight every single year. What a unique way to welcome in a new calendar year! These traditions are recognised globally and historians predict that these rituals have been around since Neolithic times. Ancient ceremonies around the world have used fire as a purifying force or a solar symbol to destroy all things evil. So it’s a great way to turn a new leaf for a new year.

8. Getaway in the Malvern Hills

For families who love the great outdoors, the Malvern Hills makes for a great getaway. It’s a wonderful place to come if you love a mix of walking, nature and sightseeing. Some of our Cotswolds cottages located near the Evesham and Pershore area are conveniently placed for a daytrip to the Hills and you can get there in less than an hour. The Malvern Hills are a 15km range of ancient rocks, rolling peaks and fields. It’s suitable for walkers, hikers as well as cyclists and there are also many local attractions such as museums, public parks and gardens, vineyards and more.

9. Visit the Cotswold Waterpark

canoe waterpark

This is a great place to spend New Year’s Eve with the kids. If you need a fun family getaway, with plenty of fun activities to do in the day, the Cotswolds is a great place to be. Keep your little ones entertained in the day with a range of on-lake activities including rowing boat and pedal boat rides, swimming, canoeing and kayaking, paddle boarding, waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, inflatable rides and more. The surrounding area of the water park also provides some great nature walks (easy enough for kids) plus plenty of cycling opportunities for those who like to explore on two wheels! For children who love nature, this is one of the best places in the UK for birdwatching and nature watching – so don’t forget to bring a good set of binoculars! The activities really are endless. All this before retreating back to one of our lovely featured holiday cottages at night where the parents can enjoy their own celebrations with a toast to the New Year. And because all of beautiful cottage rentals are self-catering, you can enjoy a home away from home and use the full equipped kitchens to rustle up a feast for friends.
(Browse our cottages in the Cotswolds)

10. Fancy Dress Fun in Looe

The people of Cornwall really do know how to celebrate when it comes to NYE. The quaint little seaside town of Looe brings joy to the streets every single New Year’s Eve as locals descend on the town centre dressed up in fancy dress costumes. Most of them like to start their evening with a delicious seafood meal (it is a traditional fishing town after all) before hitting up their favourite local haunt at Trawlers on the Quay, a popular place to get the party started. For the countdown, join the fancy dress rabble down to the beach to watch the midnight fireworks. The atmosphere is just great. And if you’re around for a long weekend, don’t forget to check out the Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary, the nature reserves on Looe Island, and Seaton Valley Countryside Park for scenic strolls with the whole family.

11. Nos Galan Road Races in Wales

For some good, wholesome family fun for NYE, head to the unlikely spot of Mountain Ash, a small Welsh town in Cynon Valley. If you don’t mind New Year’s Eve with a bit more energy, this is the place to come. Every year, the town prepares for the Nos Galan Road Race, an exciting event where locals compete in a 5km run and each race features a ‘mystery runner’ leading the race with a torch. The mystery runner is a famous sports person who later reveals themselves. In the run up to the race, there are events and activities for all ages including prize draws, a family friendly hour where kids are welcome, plus a fireworks display.

12. Loch Break in Scotland

Need a peaceful getaway for a romantic NYE? Or a quiet retreat for you and the kids where you can escape the crowds? Whether you want some alone time with your partner or you want to spend some quality time with your whole family, there’s nothing more wonderful than a Loch break. The Scottish Highlands is a place of unbelievable natural beauty – and natural beauty of the rugged kind too. This place is mainly untouched by tourism so you can enjoy the most breath-taking scenery whilst you’re here. You will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to Lochs as there are so many. Including the stunning Loch Rannoch where one of our featured cottages (Bunrannoch House) is located, Loch Morar and Loch Maree, Loch Lochy, Loch Shiel, Lock Insh, Loch Oich, and Loch an Eilein, just to name a few.
(Browse our cottages in the Scottish Highlands)

13. Winter Wonderland in Cardiff

For something completely different this year and something that will entertain the kids too, why not hit the giant skate rink in Cardiff city centre? The Welsh capital has always been a popular night out for NYE but if you’re celebrating with the little ones, the Admiral Open Air Ice Rink is perfect. It has everything from bright lights and funfair rides plus some live music to get everyone in the festival mood, so you’ll be sure to have a magical time. If the kids can make it until midnight, you’ll be able to catch the fireworks display too! Cardiff is a few hours’ drive from our cottage locations in Snowdonia National Park and less than 1 hour 30 minutes from some of our cottages in the southern Cotswold region, so makes for a perfect NYE daytrip if you’re planning a week break for you and the family.