New Year's Eve falls on a weekday this year, which makes it a rushed one for people who aren't on holiday come 31 December 2012. 1 January is still a bank holiday, though, which means you can head out and enjoy a big night with your friends and family. To help get you on your way, we're counting down the Top 10 New Year’s Eve Parties around the UK.
Fancy Dress, Newquay
Newquay is known for its festive nightlife, and New Year's Eve is a golden opportunity to see how it got this reputation. It's local custom for everybody to get dressed up and take to the streets for a wild night on the town. The local pubs, restaurants and clubs are ready for the big one, offering great specials on food and booze for the thirsty crowds. The best place to be at midnight is Bar Help, which overlooks the crowd at Central square, where everybody gathers to watch the fireworks show. The bar ceremonially hoses everyone down with 'snow' afterwards, which is always a crowd-pleaser.
Allendale Tar Bar'l Ceremony, Northumberland
The pretty little town of Allendale blazes into the new year (literally) with a fire festival that lights up the midnight sky. The local townsmen, or "guisers", march towards a ceremonial bonfire carrying whiskey barrels filled with burning tar, clad in Pagan costumes and chanting "Be Damned to He Who Throws Last". As they toss the barrels into the bonfires, the flames get wilder and cheers get louder. It's an incredible spectacle and a great night for everybody in the town.
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
For something a bit out of the ordinary, Spinnaker Tower is throwing a New Year’s Eve bash more than 500 feet above the beautiful Portsmouth harbour. Attendees can enjoy a lofty view of the city, harbour and the Isle of Wight, over canapés, cocktails and music. A New Year’s party is not complete without champagne-fueled dancing, and DJs will be on hand to make sure that happens. Spinnaker Tower is one of the most interesting buildings in the UK - the 550 foot structure is shaped like an actual spinnaker at full tilt and boasts the largest glass floor in Europe. And, If you like out of the ordinary with a touch of culture, see New Year All Year to get a taste of how the rest of the world will be celebrating New Year. As for Spinnaker Tower, along with landmarks like 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), it is a standout structure that adds to the growing collection of unique modern architecture in the UK. Tickets for this event are £45 and must be pre-booked. For more information about the tower and other upcoming events, go to their website , or call +44 (0)2392 857 521 to book.
The Bristol Experience
Bristol is a pretty lively town at the quietest of times, but over New Year's Eve it puts its best dancing shoes on and cuts loose. The city opens itself up to thousands on December 31, with pubs and restaurants offering a wide selection of live music and DJs to keep everyone happy until the morning. Whatever it is you decide to do, make sure you book in advance, to secure a spot. For a full list of what is going on in Bristol, check out www.headfirstbristol.co.uk.
The Lake District
Winter in the Lake District is icy and beautiful, offering a different side of the country to the crowded summer scene. Spending a Christmas or New Year holiday in one of the smaller, traditional inns will charm your socks off with the personal touches, excellent food and fresh air. It might be chilly, but on clear days you can still go outside and explore the region's famous hillsides. On New Year's Eve, the local taverns are cosy and warm, with a smaller crowd that gets downright festive as the night rolls on. For a great selection of cottages and the New Year's Eve party plan at the Kings Head Hotel & Inn, take a look at www.lakedistrictinns.co.uk.
London's Most Famous Icons In One Place
New Year's Eve at London's South Bank is festive in a way you don't see for 363 days of the year (Christmas is pretty close). The pubs and restaurants that face the Thames are full and cheerful, as people prepare to bid the previous year adieu. Towards midnight, everyone makes their way over to the footpath for Big Ben's countdown to midnight. When the clock strikes twelve, one of the most spectacular firework displays in the UK kicks off on another of the city's most recognisable structures: The London Eye. 2012 has been a momentous year for the city, hosting a Royal Jubilee and the Olympics, so it's a good time to reflect on and appreciate the capital.
For more information: www.london.gov.uk
Winter Wonderland, Cardiff
We featured Cardiff's Winter Wonderland in the Top 10 Outdoor Ice Rinks, and this month we're going back there for a New Year's Eve party that will rock your socks off. The Admiral Open Air Ice Rink sets the scene for what promises to be a night of good times and bright lights. There is live music from 9pm onwards, as well as a free bus service provided by Admiral, so that everyone can have fun and get home safely.
The is a reason Edinburgh was voted our number one city in the UK for Christmas - there is something about the city's gothic architecture being lit up by sparkling lights that puts people in a good mood. That same positivity is radiated on New Year's Eve and there is no better way to celebrate it than by showing face at Edinburgh's Hogmanay - a three day street party that showcases some of the best international music acts. This year sees Primal Scream headlining the festivities. For more about Edinburgh's Hogamanay, check out our latest feature on New Year's Eve.
Your Own Home
Sometimes going to a big New Year's Eve event isn't what you feel like after a full day of work. A good old-fashioned house party sorts the problem out. The only crowd you have to worry about are friends and family, you won't have to throw elbows to get a drink and as the night winds down towards midnight, there's no risk of losing your party members (unless you've had about twenty glasses of cava too many). Best of all, the whole evening is going to be cheaper than any pub or club.
Icons Revisited By Water, London
The MV Pride Of London, a fully licensed river cruiser that is practically a floating mansion, offers party goers one of the best views of the proceedings from its spacious foredeck. This beautiful vessel takes its passengers on a slow, relaxing cruise before pulling up next to Big Ben, giving you full viewing pleasure of the firework displays that celebrate moving into 2013. Enjoy unlimited drinks, finger buffets, dancing on the upper deck and an overall awe-inspiring view of the city.
For more information: www.londonpartyboats.co.uk