New Year’s Eve is a great time to be in London with your kids. But there are 2 thing that pop to mind every time December 31st nears:
What can I do with my kids?
Are there any museums or attractions open on New Year’s Eve?
The good news is that there are a lot of things to do on New Year’s Eve in London with kids, and the other good news is that most of these activities (museums, monuments,
attractions…) are open. Of course, the opening times might be shortened, but this should not stop you from ending the new year perfectly with your family.
And for the evening, we have listed a few things that might be of interest, including great family-friendly restaurants and, of course, the famous New Year’s fireworks.
Read on to discover how to spend the best New Year’s Eve in London with kids:
Just like Paris has the Louvre, New York has the Metropolitan and Saint Petersburg has the Hermitage, London’s iconic museum is the British Museum. It is your chance to discover the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts outside Egypt, including mummies and the world famous Rosetta Stone. But that’s not all! Wait until you see the impressive frescoes of the Parthenon of Ancient Greece. Other attractions include the gigantic winged bulls of Assyria, the marble sculptures and frescoes of the Parthenon of Ancient Greece, and many more fantastic historical relics.
And why not make the most of your visit with your children by booking our Mystery at the British Museum tour? You’ll be covering the highlights of the museum in just 2 hours, and your children will have loads of fun listening to the family-friendly guide and solving the riddles in the entertaining game booklet.
If you want to learn more about the charismatic former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, head out to the Churchill War Rooms. Not only will you learn a lot about his life and achievements, but your children will also have a great time visiting this museum as there are a lot of child friendly gimmicks such as wax statues and interactive gadgets.
The Horniman Museum is located in the middle of a beautiful landscaped garden in Forest Hill (south of London). It is a traditional museum specialized in anthropology, natural history and musical instruments. The highlights here are the taxidermy animals, including the (over)stuffed walrus. This makes it a very nice and fascinating museum to go visit with the kids. Although it is quite far from the city center, it is well worth going there.
Pollock’s Toy Museum is a very small museum that will amaze your children and take you back to your childhood. Started in 1965 in a small attic room near Covent Garden above Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop, this quirky museum of old toys is now located in a beautiful unrestored Georgian town houses. This off-the-beaten-path museum is a perfect London attraction to go visit with your children if you have already seen all of the capital’s highlights.
Located in a beautiful building just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Royal Albert Hall, the Natural History Museum is a true fun and educational playground for children of all ages. Here, they will learn everything about the mysteries of our planet, from the time of the mighty dinosaurs to our modern era. It’s a great opportunity for you to refresh your memory as well! Highlights include skeletons of dinosaurs, a skeleton of a blue whale (the biggest creature that ever existed on earth) and even a Wildlife Garden. The Natural History Museum is truly one of thebest things to do in London with kids in winter.
Welcome aboard the HMS Belfast, Europe’s largest preserved World War II warship! This old Royal Navy light cruiser is a permanently moored museum ship on the River Thames. On board, you and your children will discover the fascinating life aboard such a ship, with wax statues giving life to all the different areas, such as the engine room, the kitchen and even the cabins.
Here’s a museum your whole family will want to warm up in when visiting London in winter: the Science Museum. If your kids love everything science, they will find this museum fascinating! The museum is entirely dedicated to science and presents objects related to topics such as astronomy, physics, chemistry, time, light, technological and medical achievements in a family-friendly way. In other words, your children will learn as much as they have fun!
***NOTE: certain galleries might be closed at certain times. You can check out the full schedule of gallery closures HERE
Located in Regent’s Park, the London Zoo (also called Regent’s Zoo) is one of the best things to do in London with kids. Historically, it is the world’s oldest scientific zoo (1828), originally intended for scientific study but later on opened to the public (1847). Today, it houses 756 species (over 17,480 animals). You and your children will be able to see fascinating animals such as lions, tigers, gorillas, komodo dragons, penguins, reptiles and many more! In winter though, some animals might not be visible..
Located a stone’s throw away from the London Eye, opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the London Aquarium (Sea Life London Aquarium) opened in 1997 and is now the largest aquarium in London. You and your children will be able to enjoy walking through the glass tunnel and see different kinds of sharks, or discover the ray lagoon, the penguin point, the crocodile pool and even Nemo’s kingdom among other fascinating highlights. Needless to say that this is a great activity to entertain your children in London on New Year’s Eve.
The Tower of London is one of the highlights of London, which should be on the to-do list of anyone coming to London for the first time. Officially called Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of The Tower of London, this medieval fortress attracts close to 3 million people each year, making it one of the most visited monuments in Europe.
Listed as a World Heritage protected site, the Tower of London is filled with exciting stories and things to see. From ghost stories and fascinating historical fun facts to the famous Crown Jewels, this is one visit you and your children will never forget.
Visit the Tower of London with Family Twist and be sure to make the most out of this visit by keeping your children highly engaged and entertained. Book our private Exploring the Tower of London tour on your next trip to London.
The Shard (or Shard of Glass as it is also called) is London’s highest tower. Standing at 309.6 meters high (1,016ft), it is also one of the tallest structures in Europe. The open-air observation deck (The View From The Shard) is located on the 72nd floor (our of 95). On a clear day, and if you and your children are not afraid of heights, a visit to the Shard can be a great way to see London from a bird’s eye view.
Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace located close to 19km (12miles) south west of central London. There are many attractions, and the visits here are very family friendly. Of course, the palace and the gardens are a must see, but other highlights here include the maze, the historic real tennis court (real tennis is an older version of tennis, different from the present game) and the huge grape vine, the largest in the world.
There is a wide range of activities and events designed for families here, like the Great Garden Game to help explore the grounds, as well as different interactive adventures around the palace… Spending half a day at Hampton Court Palace is a perfect way to spend New Year’s Eve London with kids.
Kew Gardens (officially called Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew) is a lovely botanical garden located in Richmond, west if London’s city center. Children and adults will learn a great deal about plants and flowers at Kew Gardens, from the tallest trees to the smelliest plant… During Christmas and New Year, the gardens turn into a magical place. All the buildings, trees and trails are illuminated, making it a beautiful and unforgettable experience for each member of your family. Add to that a vintage carousel, Santa’s Snowflake Grotto, huge Christmas trees and a scented garden, and your New Year’s Eve break in Kew Gardens will be a moment you and your children will cherish forever.
The London Eye is the iconic Ferris Wheel located opposite the Houses of Parliament, above the Thames River. From the large cars on the wheel, you will have a magnificent bird’s-eye view over London. Have fun trying to spot the many iconic monuments of the city! Can you spot the Gherkin, the Shard, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben? A spin on the London Eye is a great introduction to the city when visiting London with kids. Go on a clear day for the best view of London, though the city is beautiful in the fog and rain as well (when you're safely ensconced in your pod)!
***NOTE: the London Eye is an extremely popular attraction, and we highly suggest booking your tickets online in advance (for cheaper prices too!). You can book your tickets online HERE
Just opposite the London Eye is the famous London Dungeon. It’s one of the creepiest and most famous tourist attractions in London for kids. How exciting is that? With live actors, special effects and crazy rides, you will re-live some of the most macabre events of London’s history… Not for the faint of heart!
For more than a month each year, the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland offers experiences that go beyond just being a Christmas market. It is a place of fun and entertainment, especially for children. Attractions here include an ice-skating rink, a giant Ferris wheel, a circus shows and last but not least… Santa’s very own house! When it comes to food, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is full of original restaurants such as the Ice bar, the Swiss chalet or even the Fire Pit Bar where you can roast marshmallows over a wood fire. For your Christmas gifts you will definitively find what you have always dreamed of inside one of the 200 wooden chalets.
All of Family Twist’s cultural activities and hands-on workshops are open on New Year’s Eve. So if you want to participate in Chocolate workshop to make your own delicious chocolate snacks or if you want to solve a murder case with a real Scotland Yard detective, check out our family-friendly activities page on London HERE!
Once the sun sets and all the museums and attractions close, that is NOT the time to go back to the hotel. It is a night of celebration, and the best part is probably still to come. In order to make the most of your New Year’s Eve night when in London with kids, we have selected a few family friendly restaurants where you can be sure you and your children will have a great time. And of course, the best way to celebrate the New Year is to see the traditional fireworks.
Hix Mayfair is the restaurant of the Brown’s Hotel. This high end restaurant focuses on serving the finest British classics using only carefully selected local ingredients. They also have a kid’s menu with lots of dishes that the children will enjoy!
Located next to Piccadilly Circus, the Rainforest Café London is a tropical paradise for children. This international restaurant chain serves kid-friendly food in a décor featuring waterfalls, animated creatures (lizards, crocodiles) and aquariums. This is one restaurants the children will never forget, especially on New Year’s Eve.
Sticky Fingers is an American restaurant. It might not be the most local restaurant (most of the customers here are tourists), but it sure is an interesting experience if you are visiting London with kids. Rock-themed (perfect for Rolling Stones fans), their burgers, ribs or sausage will please both parents and children. Sticky Fingers also has a kids menu.
Another international restaurant chain that is perfect for a family dinner with children is Planet Hollywood. Inspired by the movie industry, you and your children will be able to eat American food in a décor featuring the biggest names in the movie industry.
Marcus Wareing is a famous chef and he has published as many as 6 cookbooks that have inspired many amateur cooks. His restaurant, Tredwell’s, was the winner of AA’s 2015/2016 Restaurant of the Year in London. The contemporary British cooking will delight both parents and children. Tredwell’s also has a junior menu.
London is also the city where you will find some of the best Indian food in Europe. And a great kid-friendly Indian restaurant is Masala Zone. The menu presents a unique range of traditional tastes of India, such as Indian grills, the Thali, Chicken Tikka wraps and Indian desserts.
Inamo is a chain for Asian Fusion restaurants in London. Located in strategic areas (Soho, Covent Garden and Camden), Inamo provides delicious cuisine with friendly and efficient service and a vibrant atmosphere. The kids menu features accessible Asian food for the young ones, including chicken satay, grilled salmon or vermicelli noodle soup.
Superstar chef Jamie Oliver has his own Italian restaurant. With carefully sourced fresh and seasonal ingredients, you and your children will be able to enjoy healthy and delicious Italian specialties, including a wide range of pasta dishes, antipasti and dessert. Jamie’s Italian also has a kids menu.
Dine, Drink and Bowl. Those are the three things that you will do at All Star Lanes, which means that you will have a lot of fun. The restaurant serves home style American food including burgers, hot dogs and even lobster. For adults, All Star Lanes also has a wide range of craft beers. But the highlight of the evening will be to set in the bowling alley and challenge your family members!
Located in the heart of Saint James’s Park, between the plants and the ponds, Inn the Park is a natural oasis that perfectly blends into its surroundings. This self-service restaurant serves British traditional dishes. And while you eat, your children can always go play outside in the park.
The moment a lot of people wait for on New Year’s Eve is the traditional fireworks show near Waterloo and Westminster. Every year, thousands of people gather in those areas to watch the fabulous fireworks. It has become so popular that this year, watching the fireworks from strategic areas will be ticketed.
Tickets are sold £10 each, and these will have to be purchased to access the best fireworks viewing locations (which will be sectioned off and made only available to ticket holders). Although some people might think this is quite unfair, it’s also a great way to avoid staying in the cold for hours on end just to secure a good spot!
With those tickets, you will have a great spot for sure and you and your children will be able to start the New Year in style! Click here to buy your tickets online.