Blog - What's on

Best New Year celebrations in the West Country

What's on

Celebrate and jubilate! It’s New Year and party time, have a ball this year…

“And now we welcome the New Year. Full of things that have never been.” Head west for New Year, crack open the bubbly and join the celebrations – we’ve got the inside story on the best places to make merry and welcome 2018. And when the last strains of Auld Lang Syne fade, totter back to a cosy cottage for a good night’s sleep and a lovely lie-in – heaven!

Bideford, Devon
Pack that superhero costume and swoop down to Bideford Quay to join thousands of revellers. Widely regarded as the place to be in Devon at New Year, the town is closed to traffic and comes alive with crowds in all sorts of fancy dress outfits and an outdoor roadshow. Traditionally, party goers would try to run the length of 13th century Long Bridge before St Mary’s church bells strike midnight; now the fireworks are the stars of the show.

Stay at The Cart Linhay, in a peaceful spot two miles from Bideford.

Dartmouth, Devon
To the south of the county, Dartmouth has a famous carnival atmosphere on New Year too. Everyone starts to assemble on the streets of the pretty Elizabethan town during the evening, with fancy dress and oodles of good cheer. The Boat Float, the inner harbour, is the epicentre of the party, with fireworks at midnight.

Stay at Dove Cottage, two miles from Dartmouth and with fabulous views of the River Dart.

Bovey Castle Dinner/Dance, Devon
The New Year ‘do’ at this swish hotel harks back to the Edwardian glamour of its early years, when it was grand country home to the heir of the WH Smith empire. Slip on your posh frock to join guests at an extravagant black tie dinner/dance with a champagne reception, five-course dinner, dancing to a live band and fireworks against the backdrop of Dartmoor.
Stay at Fingle Tor, a smart lodge set in the grounds of Bovey Castle.

St Ives, Cornwall
Traditionally associated with beautiful art and peaceful seaside holidays, St Ives' reputation for its New Year’s Eve buzz has spread. Thousands of people party in fancy dress through the lovely little streets, which close to traffic at 6pm, spilling down on to the beach to toast the new year and watch fireworks glitter over the harbour.

Stay at Dolphins, on a quiet road 400 yards from the heart of St Ives.

Looe, Cornwall
The Cornish know how to party as well as anyone! This is another little town which is famous for its New Year fancy dress celebrations and fireworks. And for little ones who can’t stay up til midnight, there’s a special fireworks display at 6pm, a great experience with the fishing boats in the harbour brilliantly lit for the occasion.

Recover at 1 Glencairn, a three-storey townhouse close to the waterfront.

Newquay, Cornwall
You can depend on Newquay for a jovial atmosphere and colourful New Year celebrations here are memorable, with a midnight countdown and rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne in the central square. Clear your head with a bracing New Year’s Day walk along the South West Coast Path!

Stay at 18 Polvella Close, a big detached house handy for Newquay town.

Near Taunton, Somerset
The Mount Somerset Hotel near Taunton is holding a New Year's Eve Dinner/Dance, a glittering New Year extravaganza of a champagne and canapé reception, followed by a six-course dinner and dancing to live music. Champagne and fireworks are the climax of the night.

Stay at Pipkin Cottage - it'll be worth the half hour drive.

Weymouth, Dorset
Another fancy dress event, this a huge one with over 20,000 people partying merrily through the streets and down on the harbourfront. People usually congregate from about 7pm, enjoying refreshments from food and beer tents, and drift towards live music in the town centre to count down to midnight.

Stay at The Chapel - a truly stylish start to the new year.

Bridport, Dorset
Starting at dusk, revellers join the market town’s street party in fancy dress – the crazier the costume, the more it’s appreciated, so let your imagination run wild! The atmosphere gathers pace until you link arms for Auld Lang Syne in Bucky Doo Square at midnight. See if you have the stamina to plunge into the sea for the traditional Lyme Lunge in Lyme Regis the next day!

Stay at Badgers, a thatched cottage seven miles from Bridport.

[Main image credit: Sean MacEntee]

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