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12 Amazing Things to Do in London on New Year’s Day 2024

12 Amazing Things to Do in London on New Year’s Day 2024

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This year is barely over and you’re already wondering what you can do in the next. Luckily we’ve got you covered with a guide of things to do in London on New Year’s Day 2024. 

New Year in London. It can be a nightmare or a daydream (depending on how hungover you are). Transportation is all over the place, or to be more precise – not. Your favourite restaurants are shut but you’ve got to show your out-of-towners a good time in the big smoke. 

So what do you do? Well fear not. We’ve put together a guide to some of the best things to do in London on New Year’s Day 2024. 

From the fine restaurants that are open to catching the Proms at The Barbican, and not to forget the grand New Year’s Day Parade, here’s what you want on your radar. 

Things to do on New Year’s Day in London 

Hit Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland Hyde Park

If you’ve not already found yourself burnt out by all the festive fun, maybe you’ll want to roll the dice and get stuck right back in. Good news for you, Winter Wonderland is open on January 1st. 

Could there be a better place to carry on the antics? With all the rides, fairground food and copious bars, we think not. 

We’re also betting that the crowds will be slightly smaller on New Year’s Day, which means less queueing for the rides and a little less shoulder barging to ruin your magical day out. 

Attend the Barbican’s New Year’s Day Proms 

Inside The Barbican
2021 BBC Proms

You don your finest clothes and swagger to your seat, champagne in hand, the conductor lifts his arms, the band begins to play. It’s 2024. You’re doing it big. 

That’s how we imagine it anyway. The New Year’s Day Proms at the Barbican Centre run through some of the finest pieces of classical music for an afternoon concert that might be hard to top even if you’ve got 365 days to do it. 

This year they’re got the London Concert Orchestra playing Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture,  Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia and Edward Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations, finishing with a crashing crescendo of Edvard Grieg’s Morning’ and ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King. If you’re looking for one to remember, this is probably the ticket. 

Book tickets here

Take a Wintery Walk 

Hampstead Heath

It’s a bit of a tradition of ours to take a blustery winter walk on New Year’s Day, breathing life into some resolutions you doubt you’ll stick to past January. 

London might be a concrete jungle but there are plenty of places you can grab a bit of nature and some green space for a stroll. Hampstead Heath is always a popular spot with our families and there are plenty of great pubs nearby to warm up in after. 

South Londoners you can (and probably should) take advantage of the great Green Chain Walk to explore London south of the river. 

And if you have a car, maybe you fancy getting a little further afield. If so we’ve got a whole guide on the best place for a good stomp right here

We should also remember that spotting the deer in Richmond park is always a lovely way to get your fresh air. 

Catch The Christmas Lights One Last Time

We love London’s Christmas lights. They’re probably one of our favourite things about the capital at this time of year. Unfortunately they’ll all be gone soon, so if you want to get out and about on New Year’s Day soaking them in one last time might be a good shout. 

There’s also the added bonus that at this time of year in London is that there aren’t as many people on the streets. That gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the wonderful Christmas lights without the chaos of the crowds. 

Our favourites are the ones along Carnaby Street, and from there you can make a lap of Oxford Street and Regent Street to see the best of the rest. 

Read More: Totally Magical Christmas Lights in London: The 2023 Guide

Find a Cosy Pub

Assuming you’ve not begun the year with a dry January, or you’re not nursing one of those I’ll-never-drink-again hangovers, planning the year ahead and talking resolutions can be just as delightful in front of a roaring pub fire as it is on top of a windy hill somewhere. 

Obviously your local might be the go-to option for the first few pints of the year, but there are also heaps of age-old pubs in London that would certainly add to the atmosphere. 

Maybe you’d prefer a bit more of a gastro vibe, preparing your stomach for another year of good eating. If so, it’d be worth checking out a few of these spots. We can confirm that The Tamil Prince and The Culpeper (two of our faves) are taking reservations. 

Go to Candlelight’s New Year’s Extravaganza

Candlelight Concerts 1.27 GB

Candlelight are a great option at this time of year. They’ve really pushed the boat out with the scale and drama of their performances while the season’s in full swing. It’s all coming to a big head with their New Year’s Extravaganza. 

For this grand concert they’re taking over the beautiful St Martin-in-the-Fields Church on Trafalgar Square lighting it using thousands of candles and playing classical pieces as famous as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and plenty of Mozart and Bach to go along with it.  

If you’ve not been to one of these before, they’re really quite something. We defy you not to feel moved by the sights and sounds before you.

Book tickets here

Watch The New Year’s Day Parade

Watching The London New Year’s Day Parade is a brilliant way to start the year. On top of that, it’s for sure one of those things you should see at least once in your London life. 

The parade features floats of the best bits the city has to offer, from giant inflatable beefeaters to massive red telephone boxes with brass bands, cheerleaders (so American, we know) and no end of flag waving in accompaniment. 

It’s really a sight to behold. Full of the kind of pomp and circumstance that Britain in general, and London in particular, does so well. 

London’s New Year’s Day Parade starts in Piccadilly at noon, and makes its way through central, finishing up in Westminster. If you want to secure some prime seating you can book a ticket here. 

Party the Day Away at London Rocks

We’re going to assume that if you’re anything like we were way back when, the chance to party all night, and then all of the next day would seem quite appealing.

Now we’re more of the pint at your local and an early night end of the spectrum but we still know where a good time’s at. 

This year it’s London Rocks, a mega party at the famed King’s Cross music venue Scala. They’re breaking the venue into three arenas, The Throwback Arena where they’re dropping classics, The Carnival Party Arena with Dancehall vs Soca sets and the London Rocks Arena playing the best of the rest. 

During all this there will be money drops, dance comps, photobooths and plenty of wildness to make the first day of the year a special one.  

More info and tickets here

Visit a Museum 

Natural History Museum

A lot of places shut down on New Year’s Day, but if you’re looking for a bit of culture to kick off 2024 there are a couple of museums you can visit. 

The Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum are the spots that traditionally keep their doors open on New Year’s Day and that doesn’t change for 2024.

The latter is surprising as they’ve got a big New Year’s Eve party planned for the night before. We guess the cleaners will be working round the clock picking up champagne corks, red plastic cups, and removing party hats from the exhibition’s animals. 

The British Museum is also opening its doors, as will the Horniman if you fancy seeing some ancient artefacts (no we’re not talking about hanging out with granny).  

Go Ice Skating at a Palace

Hampton Court Ice Rink

How about kicking off the year by gliding across the ice using all the grace you plan to attack 2024 with? If this is your plan, you should probably do it in style. In front of a palace perhaps…

There are few places to do it as opulent as Henry VIII’s former home, Hampton Court Palace. Their rink is pretty spacious and is right in front of the grand building, giving you a backdrop to remember. 

Somerset House (yes, it was once a palace) is also opening their rink for New Year’s Day. You’ll be skating in the grand courtyard at the centre of the building. 

Then last but not least, perhaps the coolest palace of them all, The Alexandra Palace, will also be open for a good festive skate session. 

Splash Out On a Meal to Remember

L’Atelier Robuchon

There’s no better way to kick off the new year than to dine in style, stumbling home half-cut on fine French wines and passing out from a fortnight of overeating. 

Some restaurants in London will be open on the big day. If you need a hangover cure, The Breakfast Club will be open at its Liverpool Street location. Another new(ish) spot, Bocconcino Mayfair, is doing their high-end Italian fare as well. 

If you want a NYD meal with no end of class, the new L’Atelier Robuchon is taking bookings. We ate there when it first opened earlier this year and have nothing but good things to say. 

What a way to start the year. 

Cosy Up and Catch the New Studio Ghibli Film at the BFI

BFI Southbank

It’s a family tradition in many of this team’s homes to snuggle up and watch a heart-warming film on New Year’s Day and we think we might have just the option for you. 

Somewhere in amongst all the fun of the festive season, Studio Ghibli’s new film The Boy and the Heron will be getting its UK release. It’s showing at what might be London’s greatest cinema, the BFI, on New Year’s Day. 

The film is something of a surprise release as it wasn’t even advertised in Japan and director Hayao Miyazaki came out of retirement for the project. We’re very, very excited. 

Book tickets here

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Anything Open on New Year’s Day in London?

As a general rule of thumb, no. Most stuff will be closed on the day. If you’re desperate to do something, best to check if it’s open first. 

Where can I go out to eat?

Again, treat this one on a case-by-case basis. If you’ve got friends or family in town and plan to take them to a nice restaurant, call ahead to see if they’re open. Probably best to book a table too. 

Are Shops Open on New Year’s Day in London?

Most major shops like supermarkets and chain clothes stores will be open but probably running on reduced hours. Smaller, independent shops are likely to be closed. 

Is Public Transport Running? 

Generally yes, service should be running on all public transport but will be operating on a Sunday schedule after midday. 

London on New Year’s Day: Map 

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