NYE staycations: best UK destinations for New Year's Eve 2019
See in 2020 somewhere spectacular with our guide to the best UK holidays for New Years Eve - from Hogmanay to wild swimming
Edinburgh's Hogmanay, Scotland
Best for...dancing in the streets
If you've never been to Edinburgh at New Year's (or Hogmanay, as they call it North of the border), this is the year to go: illustrious DJ Mark Ronson is headlining the famous 'Hogmanay in the Gardens' concert. Ronson has collaborated with the whole range of musicians from Paul McCartney to Miley Cyrus, so there's sure to be something for everyone at this almighty party. And if you have been, you'll need no encouragement to return to the UK's biggest and best NYE festival.
The Scots take Hogmanay very seriously, and three days of music, markets and an unbeatable party atmosphere is the norm for the holiday. Expect to dress up and make lots of new friends, all in the beautiful environs of wintertime Edinburgh. There will be ice skating, rides, shows and, of course, magnificent fireworks over the course of the festival, which should be on everyone's New Year's bucket list.
After all the revelling of the 31st, join in the Loony Dook, a bracing dip in the river traditionally held on the 1st January and often done in fancy dress.
Best for... a romantic countryside getaway
This Welsh coastal area offers everything you could possibly want from a New Year's getaway for two: clifftop walks, walled flower gardens, rolling hills, sandy beaches and warm Welsh hospitality.
Stay in luxury country house hotel The Grove of Narberth, whose restaurant is one of the finest in Wales and holds three AA rosettes. They pull all the stops out for New Year's too, holding a four course gala dinner followed by dancing and music from a live swing band and midnight fireworks on the front terrace.
A daily festive tea (including lashings of mulled wine) in front of a roaring log fire in the tastefully cosy parlour will warm you up after a day spent wandering the hills, and make sure to head down to the beach on the first of January to witness the long-running fancy-dress Saundersfoot swim.
The Pig Brockenhurst, New Forest
Best for... gourmet New Year
The pig hotels have taken the UK by storm with their luxurious interiors and their commitment to using home grown produce in their fine dining restaurants. And what better time to experience their award winning hospitality than at New Year's?
There couldn't be safer hands in which to over-indulge this December, with every element of their menus receiving consistent praise from all sides. Start your break with a hearty walk through the ancient New Forest before a scrumptious afternoon tea, but be sure to leave space for the delightful feast they are sure to cook up for the main event on the 31st.
The morning after, it's only a short stroll through the gardens to their Potting Shed spa for a revitalising massage, facial or even a bout of reflexology to soothe any sore heads.
The Isle of Skye, Scotland
Best for... secluded cheer
The Isle of Skye offers the ideal antidote to the crush of a London NYE, without compromising on the festive atmosphere.
By day enjoy long walks in this northern wonderland, where for the most part deer outnumber people, but come evening the rustic pubs of the area throw open their doors for a Hogmanay full of live music, friendly locals and plenty of whiskey.
The Cuillin Hills Hotel in Portree Bay is the ideal cosy nook from which to base your festivities, offering probably the best view of any Scottish hotel alongside exemplary Highland hospitality.
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St Ives, Cornwall
Best for... picture-perfect small town festivity
The little seaside town beloved by artists and fishermen alike is an under the radar gem for New Year’s Eve.
Every year all the streets are closed at 6pm, effectively turning the picturesque cobbled town in to one huge street party. Locals and visitors alike don fancy dress to topple in and out of pubs and restaurants until 12, when everyone convenes at the harbour to watch the impressive firework display reflected in the stunning Celtic Sea.
Stay in the Harbour Hotel and Spa for unrivalled views of the bay and an airy spa in which to nurse your hangover on the first. They offer a delectable five-course New Year’s Eve menu to fortify you for the evening ahead.
Best for... rural Hogmanay
Perthshire is the heart of rural Scotland, so there’s nowhere better to be if you want to experience a countryside Hogmanay this year.
There are plenty of accommodation options: the Jazz age luxury of Gleneagles is world famous, and they offer a New Year’s programme packed with dancing, fine dining and entertainments. For a more laidback option, try cool-kid Mhor 84, a sweet motel-style hotel packed full of Turkish carpets and modern art, which also hosts a lively, week-long programme of Hogmanay celebrations.
Either way, both are only a short drive away from Comrie, a small village which hosts a must-see yearly ‘Flambeaux’ on the 31st, in which ten-foot long birch trees are lit on fire and paraded through the streets before being thrown on to a bonfire to the villager’s chanting. A New Year’s Eve to remember, full of traditional Scottish charm.
Isles of Scilly, Cornwall
Best for... a sunny haven for all the family
If you’re longing for a warm New Year’s, hold the flights to Antigua for just a minute and consider the Isles of Scilly, sometimes known as the Cornish Caribbean.
These islands, situated just off the West coast of Cornwall, remain pleasantly warm even in late December, and their laid-back, nature-centric way of life is the perfect break from the daily grind of mainland life.
For the most special stay, book accommodation on Tresco, an exclusive private island owned by the Tresco Estate and famed for its tropical flowers. Guests can book their own self-catered cottage, complete with log burning fireplaces and a kitchen right out of a Cath Kidston catalogue, as the perfect setting for a week of home cooked meals and lots of beachy walks.
There are enough activities throughout the island to please even the most active little ones, from cycling to horse riding to live music and fancy dress competitions on New Year’s Eve, as well as yoga classes and a spa with an indoor swimming pool to help you enter 2020 as relaxed and revitalised as you could hope to be.
Richmond, North Yorkshire
Best for... countryside celebration
Wrap up warm and head to Yorkshire this December for a cosy, classic spin on mid-winter celebration.
For serious Victorian Christmastime vibes it doesn’t get much better than the Coach House at Middleton Lodge. Their philosophy is that the festive period is all about ‘eating, sleeping and retreating’, something we could easily get on board with. Fortify yourself with a champagne breakfast before days spent wandering across the moors of bona fide Bronte country, then return to the restaurant for a perfectly cooked roast and settle in for the evening’s entertainments.
If you feel up to it, head down to the gruelling annual New Year’s Day run at nearby Whitby, a mammoth 30 mile loop across the moors and hills appropriately named ‘Hardmoors’. Alternatively, go to watch and cheer on before exploring the charming seaside town, complete with the ruined Gothic abbey that inspired Bram Stoker.
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Best for... celebrating like a pagan
Make your way to Somerset, the prehistoric capital of England, this December to usher in the New Year like they did in old times.
Stay in Babington House, the original Soho House hotel, for city-standard service and improbably stylish decor in the middle of the countryside.
A top tip for a particularly special New Year's Eve is to visit Glastonbury Tor, an ancient ruined church on a hill with Arthurian associations, at midnight for a spectacular view of the fireworks from the surrounding area. Then on New Year’s Day partake in a special guided tour of Stonehenge before a hearty pub lunch and a bracing walk through the Somerset hills.
Alternatively pop in to nearby Bath for a wander through the stunning Georgian streets and independent boutiques before heading back to Babington House’s cosy fireplace for a pre-dinner cocktail. An ever so slightly magical New Year’s.
Grasmere, The Lake District
Best for... lakes by moonlight
For the ultimately serene New Year’s, head to the Lake District this December. Spend the last days of 2019 exploring the landscapes which inspired Wordsworth, and even follow in his steps on one of the many guided walks fans have compiled.
The Forest Side hotel, occupying a fairytale gothic mansion with enviable views, has a Michelin starred restaurant to nourish you during your break. The hotel is also dog-friendly, so no need to leave your pooch out of the fun. And fun it will be: they lay on a jam-packed programme of New Year’s Eve celebrations, with activities ranging from the laidback pub quiz to luxurious tasting menus and fireworks.
Post revelry, a New Year’s day dip in Lake Windermere is tradition- but keep it short, as it is sure to be pretty chilly.
Best for... an easy getaway
Historic Kent has been known as the Garden of England for centuries; it's only a short drive outside of London but offers a complete getaway from the hectic pace of life in the city.
Kick back in one of its exceptional boutique hotels: the newest Pig offers a Tudor-esque New Year’s in their intriguing old red-brick manor in the village of Bridge, or try Amano, a courtly building in the heart of one of Kent’s idyllic market towns. Continue the Renaissance theme (Kent was a favourite of Elizabeth I) at the National Trust’s fantastic New Year’s Day guided tour of Knole Park, the sprawling 400-year-old mansion and deer-filled park in which Vita Sackville-West grew up, and where the Beatles shot the music video for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
A wholesome country retreat with plenty going on, Kent is the perfect backdrop for an easy escape from London this December.