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Jan 06 2014

New Year’s Eve in London on a Budget

NYE Fireworks in London

New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate, whether you go out or decide to stay in.  I rarely go out on New Year’s Eve, especially in London, because of the expense and hassle.  However, as I found out, it doesn’t have to be expensive to enjoy a night out and can be relatively hassle-free.  For this New Year’s Eve, I decided to venture out in London to see what it was like.  I had some food, a few glasses of wine and, including my tube journey from Zone 5 to Zone 1, I only spent £18.  Yep, that’s correct, £18.  Here’s how I did it and here’s how you can for the next one.

Go out early

When I started thinking about going out for New Year’s Eve, I looked on the Internet and it seemed that I would have to pay a minimum of £20 to get in to any pub or club in London.  I’m sure you can imagine my delight when I found out there was a pub in London that had free entry before 6pm and only £5 after 6pm.  This shows there are pubs in London that won’t rip you off, just because it’s New Year’s Eve.  So, it’s worth looking around and talking to others.

Eat before or at the venue

I would normally say cook and eat before you leave but that’s difficult if you are going out early.  Check to the prices of the menu in advance, if you have the option of eating at the venue and check to see if there are any cheap places nearby where you can grab some food.  The food was reasonably priced where I went so it made sense to meet up early at the venue and have something to eat there.  I had a veggie burger, chips, and a glass of wine for £5.99.  Considering we were in Camden, by the lock, I was pleasantly surprised at the price.  There was also a dance floor so we could boogie the night away, which we did.

See the fireworks

This costs nothing, nada, £0!  Being in Camden, we were only a 10 minute walk from Primrose Hill, which is a great and less crowded spot to watch the display.  We left the venue at about 11pm and were one of the first on the hill.  That means we didn’t have to wait outside for hours but still got a good view of the firework display.  It might have been a bit muddy and drizzly but it was a great atmosphere and the firework display was worth it.  Girls, it’s worth noting, if you do this you can forget about the heels and remember to wrap up!

Get your wrist stamped

If, after popping out for food or watching the fireworks, you want to return to the venue without having to queue or pay to get in, get your wrist stamped by the doormen as you leave, providing that’s an option.

Free transport

Believe it or not, all public transport in London is free on New Year’s Eve night from just before midnight.  The great thing is, even the London Underground is available for free from 11.45pm until 4.30am.  This means you can stay pretty much anywhere in the London area that is served by Transport for London and be able to get home for free.  It is obviously a restricted service but I didn’t have any problems getting back. When I left at about 3.30am, it was more like midday because of the sheer volume of people milling around London going from one place to the next or heading home.  I was really impressed by the service at that time of night.


This is where Camden and Primrose Hill are located…

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Have your say 

Do you go out on New Year’s Eve?  What tips do you have for a budget night out on New Year’s Eve in London?

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.


  1. Linda Bibb

    Last year (2012/13) we were in Panama and didn’t need to go out. We celebrated with friends at our home and shot off midnight fireworks on the rooftop of our highrise. Then we watched everyone else in the city set theirs off. All of Panama City explodes in fireworks for hours on New Year’s Eve!


    Hi Linda!

    It’s so lovely to hear from you. Happy New Year! Looking down over Panama City on New Year’s Eve… sounds great! Being able to combine having friends round and seeing fireworks from such a great vantage point sounds to me like the perfect way to celebrate.

    Best wishes, Teresa.

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