New Year’s Eve ideas: 20 fun things to do with your family this year

From going to your local cinema and museum to DIY arts and crafts to do at home


by Asher Brandon |

With New Year's Eve approaching you may feel a bit out of the swing of things. Really it's been two years since the last proper New Year's (we're definitely not counting last year's), so there is a lot riding on this year's celebrations. For some of you this may be your first New Year's with children, or if you have young children they may not even remember New Year's celebrations.

Considering this, you may be at a loss for what to do this year. Well fear not, we've come up with this handy list of things to do UK wide this New Year's.

New Year's is a great opportunity to have some quality family time and create memories that will last a life time, both for you and your children. But don't feel pressured to do anything big. As this list shows small DIY New Years celebrations can be just as impactful as the more elaborate affairs.

Check out: the best things to do this New Year's Eve that's family friendly


20 fun things to do this New Year's Eve CLOSER

Go to the Aquarium
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Make New Year's Eve truly magical for you and your children with a dive into the deep. Who needs Blue Planet when you can be your very own David Attenborough? Most cities in the UK have an aquarium, making this a must do activity regardless of where you are. From Sea World in London, to the Lake District Coast Aquarium in Cumbria, wherever you are this New Year's Eve there's probably an aquarium in your vicinity.

Go to the cinema
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There are some great films released on Boxing Day, especially in the family friendly film department. Why not catch up on some of the films you and your family missed over the busy Christmas period? Some cinemas even show older films over the Christmas period, giving you the chance to experience some of your favourite films on the big screen all over again (and take your kids along for the ride).

Go to the zoo
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Going to the zoo can be a magical experience for your children, bringing them face to face with the most incredible animals they can only dream of seeing in the wild. And most Zoos are open throughout the Christmas period such as ZSL London Zoo, which is only closed on Christmas Day.

If in London go to the Natural History Museum
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If you're in London this New Year, why not go on a trip to the Natural History Museum? The museum is packed full of engaging exhibits for both adults and children (although, lets be honest, the real reason people go is to see the giant robot T-Rex ud83eudd96). Make your New Year's one to remember with a trip to one of the best museums London has to offer. Oh, and did we mention, admission is free.

If in London, go to Winter Wonderland
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If you're in London this New Year's Eve and haven't been before (or even if you have) you should definitely check out Winter Wonderland. With rides and activities for kids and adults alike, Winter Wonderland is a real crowd pleaser (not to mention you can have a little festive drink as well). How much?General admission tickets are £5 each and free for children under 2 years old. Where?Hyde Park in London

Go on a crisp winter walk
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Whilst for many lockdown may be an unpleasant memory there are definitely things to be taken away from it - like the value of spending time outdoors with friends and family. So this year why not go on a nice family walk. Could be on a beach, in the woods or even in a local park. Trust us, it feels much better to go on a walk by choice without it being literally the only reason you're allowed out of the house. Take some time to clear your mind this New Year's Eve with a nice family walk.

Do some arts and crafts
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Why not encourage your little ones artistic sides (and potentially even rediscover your own) this New Year's. Getting creative is a great way to connect with your children and encourage them to follow their imaginations. Here's an idea for some guaranteed crafting fun: precut some card shapes and have your children decorate them and stick them together to make their own little monsters. Get crafty this New Year's for some sure fire family fun.

Put on a sparkler show
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If your children are a bit too young to stay up for the firework displays at midnight, why not take matters into you own hands (literally). Put on a sparkler show for your little ones this year and if they're old enough, you can even let them hold them and put on their own show. The perfect compromise this New Year's.

Put on a movie night for your family
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So maybe there's nothing you want to watch in the cinema... why not take matters into your own hands and put on a movie night? You could even have a theme - classic films from your own childhood or a Pixar marathon as these films are fun for all the family. You can even recreate your own cinema by making the kids some good old fashion cinema tickets, rearrange your sofa cushions and make some homemade popcorn and snacks.

Play the one-word story game
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Play the one-word story game and write it down so you can read it next New Year's Eve. The rules are simple, you go round in a circle and each say a word and by the end of the game you'll have a full story. Things can definitely take a silly turn and hilarity is sure to follow.

Have a family game night
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You can't go wrong with a family games night. It's a sure fire way to bring the family together and keep the kids entertained throughout the evening. Introduce your kids to some classics - be it board games like Monopoly or a party games like charades.

Make a time capsule
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Do a little twist on your New Year's resolutions this year and make a time capsule with your kids. They could put their wishes for the year ahead in, or just put some little bits in for their future selves. A great way to teach them about the passing of the year. You could hide it in the house or bury it in the garden and get it out next New Year's.

Do some baking with you kids
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Why not let your kids help with some baking this New Year's as a special treat? Baking with your kids is educational and a lot of fun. It will really make the day special for them and eating their creations at the end of the day will no doubt put a smile on their faces (especially if you've been baking cakes).

if in London, go on a trip to the Diana Memorial Garden
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If you're in London this New Year's, why not take your kids to the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens? Children go to playgrounds all the time, so for New Year's why not take them to a truly special one. This playground has a giant pirate ship in the middle (yes you heard us right) and a sensory playground for children with special needs. It is truly a unique park ideal for New Years celebrations. Kensington Gardens also happens to be right next to Hyde Park, meaning you could start your day at the park and go to Winter Wonderland for some fun in the evening - the perfect day out in London.

Go ice Skating
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Stuck for things to do this New Year's? Why not slide on down to your local ice rink. The great thing about ice rinks is that the pop up all over the place this time of the year, be it at Somerset House if you're in London, or Cribbs Causeway if you're in Bristol. You can go on a romantic date, or take the kids along and introduce them to one of the joys of winter.

Go to watch a panto
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Wherever you are this New Year's Eve there will surely be a panto within your vicinity. These fun theatre pieces are staples of the Christmas period and if you don't get a chance to catch one in the lead up to Christmas, why not watch one on New Year's Eve? Pantos are typically retellings of fairytales, so you won't get the post Christmas blues as they often have little to do with Christmas itself. Panto can also be a great way to introduce your kids to the theatre - it takes place in a setting in which audience participation is actively encouraged and silly humour is in abundance. And for the adults out there, who doesn't enjoy seeing some B-listers act their chops off for entertainment?

if in Newcastle go to the life science centre
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If You're in Newcastle this New Year's Eve you should go on a day trip with your family to the Life Science Centre. This centre was opened 21 years ago with the aim of making science more accessible to the north west of England. They offer a wide range of activities for kids and adults from science workshops for younger children, to a planetarium for all to enjoy. This winter they even have a Winter lights programme running until February 4 2022, which features a range of activities. They also have an Ice rink, meaning you can tick off 2 items from this list this New Year's.Where?Times Square, Newcastle.How much?Life centre -Family of 4 tickets (Max. 2 adults) are £30.50, adult tickets (18+) are £13.50, concession tickets (over 60s, students, unwaged) are £10.00, child tickets (Ages 5-17) are £7.25, and under 4s go free. Ice skating - Family of 4 tickets are £33.50, adult tickets are £11.50, concessions are £10.50, child tickets are £9.00 and tickets for under 4s are £4.00.There are Ice skating and museum ticket combos available at checkout.

If in London or Manchester, go to Lightopia
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If you're in fancy a bit of a light show this New Year's Eve and want to take advantage of the shorter days, why not go to Lightopia? With festivals in London, Manchester and Alton Towers this winter you're spoiled for choice of where to go.Where?In London - Crystal Palace Park, In Manchester - Heaton Park, and Alton TowersHow Much?In London adult tickets are £19.50/£22.50, child tickets are £13/£15.50 and family tickets are £58/£70In Manchester adult tickets are £20, child tickets are £13 and family tickets are £62At Alton Towers tickets are £20 for those over 3

If in Cardiff, go to Christmas at Bute park
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If you find you're at a loss for things to do this New Year's Eve (and also find yourself in Cardiff) check out Christmas in Bute Park? With incredible light displays, interactive installations, a flickering fire area, an enchanting fairy tree forest, laser shows and mirror balls - Christmas in Bute Park has a little something for everyone. For those that live in Cardiff prepare to see one of your favourite parks in a new light this New Year's Eve. Oh and did we mention they also have a selection of locally sourced food stalls and mulled wine? The perfect New Year's treat.Where?Bute park in Cardiff.How much?Adult tickets (16+) are £18, Child tickets are £13 and under 2s can go for free. Family tickets (2 Adults, 2 Children or 1 Adult, 3 Children) are £55.

If in Bristol, go to We The Curious
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If you're in Bristol this New Year's Eve why not go on a trip to the South West's answer to the Science Museum? We The Curious encourages visitors to ask questions, to follow their curiosity and make their own discoveries. This makes it the perfect museum for children - not to mention the fact you are actively encouraged to touch and interact with the exhibits. This museum is the perfect way to introduce your children to the world of science and even get them excited to return to school in the new year. This museum isn't just for kids - adults can also enjoy the exhibits and there is even a planetarium attached. We The Curious is the perfect option for Bristolians this New Year's.Where?Bristol Harbourside.How much?Adult tickets (16+) are £15.95, Adult concessions are £13.75, Child tickets (3-15) are £10.45, Child Concessions are £6.55 and under 2s are free. Tickets to planetarium shows are £3.50 for the 3D show, £2.50 for the 2D show and free for under 2s.

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We were all very restricted in our New Year's Eve celebrations last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However with the rollout of the vaccine this year and the lifting of restrictions it looks as if we should be seeing a return to normality this Christmas and New Year (fingers crossed). Because of this you may be feeling a bit of pressure this year to make up for lost time and have the biggest New Year's possible. However, if lockdown taught us anything it taught us the value of spending time with friends and family, and to do this at the time we had to get creative. So this New Year, start there. Prioritise spending time with those you love and let what you do come second.

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