New Year’s – a time for celebration, promises to be a better you and that useless subscription to the gym. As a student, you may be home for the holidays or want to spend it with your uni house/coursemates. However, as excited you may be to celebrate as students, we face the dreaded issue of finances. With it being an expensive time, we may be holding onto our last few pounds until the next student finance payout – which is why we’ve created a list of free and cheap New Year’s Eve celebration options. There’s something to suit every taste and personality, from those after an understated evening, a wild night out or those not planning on leaving the warm premises of their home.
One thing people may forget about New Year’s Eve is that you have a whole day to celebrate the end of the year. Most people may think to just do something in the evening, but London is full of so many wonderful places and activities to do and visit during the day. So, when you’re planning your New Year’s celebrations, remember to consider the WHOLE day. Here’s our rundown of cheap things to do in London at New Year's...
If you fancy going back to your childhood ways, get yourself to Ballie Ballerson this New Year’s in Shoreditch. Famous for their adult ball pit, they’re hosting a glitter and sequins party this year to enter the new year in style. A fun cocktail bar, enjoy playful buy one get one free cocktails, a free glass of champagne at midnight, and if you’ve bagged yourself a VIP ticket, you’ll get a pizza too. Entry ranges from £5.50-£60.
Mama Shelter Hotel
We all love to wine and dine and what better place to do it this year than at Mama Shelter Hotel. Situated in Bethnal Green, enjoy a delicious three-course dinner. To celebrate the new year there will be music by DJ Tina Edwards as well as Season Three winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race UK, Crystal performing alongside guest performers that are yet to be announced. Prices for the event start from £65pp.
The Holly Bush
If you’re one for a more low-key New Year’s evening with either friends or family, then a visit to The Holly Bush in Hampstead is the place to welcome the new year in a more relaxing environment. A great option for those that may be apprehensive about entering busy clubs and bars, the Holly Bush is offering a six-course meal featuring blue cheese soufflés, duck liver parfaits and smoked trout. Going from 6 pm-1 am you can either join for a drink or two or relish in the delicious course. Tickets start from £5-£65pp.
80's NYE Party
Forget about the 2020s, when the best music came from the ’80s. Get your hands on tickets for the Back to the 80’s NYE Party at The Macbeth in Shoreditch. Whether you come dressed in all your lycra or something modern with a sequin or two, you’re bound to have a great time. The party is from 9 pm-3 am, meaning you’ll start the new year off with dancing – what better way! Entry cost £15-£18pp.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Whilst there may not be any big London firework display, The Vengaboys are here to the rescue as they are headline performers at the Clapham Grand New Years event. An evening full of fun, expect more guest performers, drag queens, giveaways and confetti cannons. Starting from 9 pm-2 am you better like to party like The Vengaboys. Tickets start from £23.
Continuing the theme of classic cheesy pop hits and artists, The Enterprise in Camden is hosting a New Year’s Eve Pop Party featuring all your favourites such as Cher, Abba, Britney, The Spice Girls and more! The best thing about it all is that it’s free! The cheese-fest starts at 8 pm until 1 am.
This past year has been anything far from normal. Why not embrace it and enjoy something a little different this New Year’s through a cruise along the Thames. Unite sightseeing, live music, dinner and fireworks into one. Sit back and enjoy some great food, drinks and fireworks – a boat ride like no other.
Let’s party like it’s the 20’s at Mr Whites, The Prohibition Party by Marco Pierre White in Leicester Square. Entering the 2020’s in a 1920’s manner, enjoy a three-course feast, gin cocktails and dancing surrounded by 1920’s décor. If you fancy pushing the boat out, uncover your glad-rags and dress to fit the evening. The evening begins at 9 pm and lasts till 1:30 am. Tickets for the party portion of the evening cost £20 whilst the meal on first release costs £55.
Jumping forward a few decades, The Apothecary in Shoreditch is hosting a New Year’s Eve event filled with funk and soul music from DJ Fannoire Ge. A night full of dining and dancing, enjoy Japanese style dishes created by head chef Jude. Afterwards, throw yourself onto the dancefloor. Entry costs £10-£55.
In keeping with past decade tunes, head over to Blame Gloria with sites in Covent Garden and Clapham Junction to attend their Studio 54 Party. A dress code is a must as you time travel back to the 70’s disco era. We want to see sequins, sparkles, flairs and more from attendees. A great night out for those wanting to enter the year in fabulous attire. Entry ranges from £15-£30pp.
London has many rooftop bars and restaurants to bag yourself a great view of the city’s skyline filled with colour as the clock strikes midnight. One of the best spots is the Skylight Tobacco Dock Skylight Rooftop Bar in, you’ve guessed it, Tobacco Dock. Offering a nice little spot to be entertained for the night, enjoy a glass of Moet champagne on arrival. The spot also features a DJ to play you into the new year as well as ice skating, Alpine food and Winter inspired cocktails. If you’re celebrating the new year with friends or family, bag yourself a covered hut or igloo which includes mulled wine, champagne, dinner and ice-skating tickets. Tickets start from £39pp.
Another dining experience that is on the cards is from the restaurant Ayllu. Offering a selection of dishes that have been infused with flavours from Peru and Japan, enjoy this unique dining experience. Situated in Paddington, Ayllu’s event is called New Year’s Eve with Nikkei Twist. The term ‘Nikkei’ refers to the innovative cuisine that was created through the emergence of Japanese recipes and traditions with Peruvian ingredients. The night features an 8-course Nikkei tasting menu, accompanied by non-stop house and party tunes. The event starts from 6 pm-2 am, costing £40pp.
Lord Napier Star's
You can also find house music at Lord Napier Star’s New Year’s Eve Party. Situated in Hackney, enjoy a night of house and disco music as well as a confetti cannon or two to start the new year with a bang. Entry ranges from £5-£10.
Tonight Josephine Waterloo
Competing to enter the new year with the loudest bang is Tonight Josephine Waterloo. Located in Waterloo, get your tickets for Josephine’s Glitter Bomb NYE event. A ticket includes a glass of bubbly and glitter face paint to perfectly match the aesthetic of the evening. The event is from 7pm-2am with tickets costing £25-£30pp.
The Bat and Ball
If you’re a fan of a game or two or are very competitive, spend your new years at The Bat and Ball in Stratford. Hosting an event cleverly named ‘Bat away the Year’, spend your evening playing a round or two of ping pong to win exclusive prizes. After the competitions are over a DJ is set to keep you dancing into the new year. The competitions are from 5 pm-8 pm, with free entry. After 9 pm entry costs start at £5.
Start the new year off laughing with a comedy show. London has many comedy clubs and gardens spread across and tucked away. One of our favourites include the Hoxton Cabin on Kingsland Road Comedy Club. Other comedy scenes in London are hosting New Year’s Eve events. If you find yourself in Wimbledon, visit Tunnel 267 for their NYE comedy event. Or if in Bethnal Green, enjoy the Backyard Comedy Clubs New Year Eve event.
Now we can’t forget that we’ve only just celebrated Christmas too – after all there are 12 days of Christmas. If you haven’t had time to do all those Christmassy activities due to deadlines, then now is the time! Spend your day or early evening and go ice-skating, visit the Christmas market for a cup or two of mulled wine or hot chocolate. Even visit Winter Wonderland. Just remember the festivities haven’t ended and are still there to enjoy.
Whilst New Year’s Eve is all fun and games, it can also bring pressure to make you feel like you need to party the night away. However, you can still have a great time celebrating from the comfort of your own home. Here’s our list of things you can do without splashing the cash and hitting the town.
Online quizzes rose in popularity over lockdown and people are still continuing to participate. Join Bucket race’s virtual party this new year’s where you’ll take part in quizzes, challenges, tasks, puzzles and much more. Perfect to enjoy with friends and family or enjoying your own company. To join the online festivities, tickets range from £10-£20.
Other at-home ideas include simply cooking or ordering your favourite food to enjoy through the night. Don’t forget the snacks! Inject some colour into your evening through at-home fireworks, or if you fancy being low key enjoy the simplicity of sparklers and indoor fireworks.
Invite your friends and family over for a fun evening of board games and party games whilst Jools Holland has the night’s music covered. If you fancy pushing the boat out, do a themed murder mystery night where you and your guests dress up. Keep it traditional with a 1920’s theme or change it up and go 80’s!
If you’re not a fan of New Year’s or aren’t keen to celebrate this year, use this day/night to treat yourself. Maybe go shopping or have a relaxing pamper evening to enter the new year feeling your best self.
Just remember, there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate. At the end of the day, it’s just like any other ordinary day.
Happy New Year!