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Welcoming in the New Year at a Classic British Pub

There are many different ways in which to celebrate the beginning of the new year and the ending of the old one. Different countries have different traditions; the Americans have a big party and fireworks in New York’s Times Square, people in Belarus celebrate with a 13-day festival, and people in Chile visit lost loved ones at the cemetery. Meanwhile, in Britain, thousands of people will celebrate at their local pub. As we know, the British pub is something of an institution and New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year.

So, what can you expect should you choose to spend your New Year’s at a traditional British pub?

Ticketed Events

Classic British Pub
Classic British Pub

Well, first of all, you’ll need to check whether or not your chosen pub is hosting a ticketed event. A trip to the pub on NYE is so popular with the people of Britain that many venues require you to book in advance. Most places will have a website so be sure to check there first for full details. What’s on offer depends entirely upon the type of public house it is; some provide a full spread, entertainment and even fireworks, whereas others are part of a festive pub crawl. The more, the merrier!

Friends and Family

Of course, what the night is all about is spending time with family and friends, both old and new. This is often a time of year when people return to the places where they grew up, and gathering in the local pub is a great way to catch up with those you haven’t seen all year. However, don’t be put off if you’re an ‘outsider’; you’re guaranteed to be welcomed with open arms, especially on this very special occasion. You’ll be sure to have made a few firm friends by the end of the night.


Many pubs will offer alternative entertainment all year round in the form of pool tables, quiz machines and foosball. On NYE, it’s a great way to pass the time until midnight. However, it’s just as easy to bring the entertainment right to your table through online games platforms. This way, you needn’t even leave your seat in order to up the fun factor with friends and add a little more excitement to your night. You could even choose to download a game made especially for groups, like Heads Up or Draw Something, and have everybody in fits of giggles all night long.


Some pubs have the ability to go one step further and offer live music for revellers. Depending on the size of the building and its location, you could be treated to anything from traditional folk music played by locals to a visiting rock band, booked especially for the night. It wouldn’t feel like a proper New Year’s if you hadn’t managed to embarrass yourself on the dancefloor! So be sure to look out for pubs with a musical act billed; it’s a great way to kick of proceedings and have everybody feeling merry and bright before the big moment.


Another very important aspect, as with everything at Christmas-time, is the food. Pub grub has progressed in recent years from a pie and plate of soggy chips to some truly outstanding gastronomic fare. Most venues that have the facilities will now serve food cooked by a half-decent chef and with some options to suit all dietary requirements. Even if the pub you’re visiting only offers something very simple, it’s always enjoyable to be able to eat a slap-up meal with friends as you welcome in the new year.


New Year's Fireworks
New Year’s Fireworks

What’s a celebration these days without some good fireworks? Many pubs have space in which to host a bigger fireworks display than the sort you could manage at home, so it’s always welcome when they take full advantage. Though it might not rival the enormous display over the Thames in London or the Castle in Edinburgh, it’s always a great spectacle and a way to express some of that excitement that’s been building up all evening. Fireworks are sure to be a hit with everybody.


The culmination of the night’s festivities comes just before midnight, when the entire pub will inevitably count down the seconds until the new year. Whether you follow along with the countdown broadcast on the TV or just start your own, it’s always a special moment of celebration. This will then usually be followed by a kiss and hug for your nearest and dearest, perhaps a handshake for all of those around you, before everybody sings the obligatory rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Despite the fact that this poem was written by a Scot, it is sung enthusiastically up and down Britain by absolutely everybody. There’s no better way to kick off the new year!