The end of one year and the beginning of another can be a great time to celebrate with loved ones, take stock of the year past and feel hopeful for the 12 months ahead – although, let’s be honest, most of the time New Year’s Eve is pretty anticlimactic and you start the new year with a blistering hangover and a sense of regret.
This year, why not break from tradition and do something different? Start the new year as you mean to go on: with your friends and family around you while you explore somewhere new together.
Devon is a great place to visit to celebrate New Year’s Eve; not only are there loads of events that will please any guest – from party animals to those looking for a quiet and romantic break – but there’s a jam-packed schedule of New Year’s Day events too, where the fresh air will certainly cure any sore heads the morning after the night before.
Here’s our ultimate guide to celebrating the new year in Devon.
👉Where to go
👉Where to stay
👉Where to eat
👉What to do
Where to go
Whether you’re looking for a party atmosphere, want something fun to do with the kids or are searching for a quiet place to see in the new year with the one you love the most – Devon has got you covered.
Read on for our best recommendations of where to be when the clock strikes 12 or take a look at our top 5 New Year’s Eve events in Devon.
Best for a family – Bideford
Bideford is one of the best places to see in the new year in the whole country, let alone Devon, and its small-town vibe makes it a fun, family-friendly destination. Make sure you pack your best fancy dress, though, as the whole town dresses up and descends onto the quay to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another.
The party begins in the middle of the afternoon, with family-friendly games, events and live music to make sure kids have just as much fun as the adults.
Best for a party – Dartmouth
Dartmouth is almost as well-known as Bideford for its over-the-top New Year’s Eve celebrations. The whole of the town also turns up to party in fancy dress, and the evening culminates with fireworks by the river.
The many pubs and restaurants along Dartmouth’s waterfront ensure that the whole town enjoys a party atmosphere long into the early hours of the new year.
Best for romance - Salcombe
Salcombe is another coastal South Devon town that enjoys a New Year’s Eve party, except its celebrations are a little more refined, making it a great destination for a romantic couples’ break.
Begin the evening with an extra-special meal in one of the restaurants, and then see in the new year with the fireworks display put on by The Ferry Inn.
Best for something fancy - Bovey Castle
For the ultimate luxury New Year’s Eve celebration, book a ticket to Bovey Castle’s annual black-tie event. Set in the exquisite settings of Dartmoor National Park, you can enjoy a Champagne reception, a delicious six-course meal, a live band and fireworks at midnight.
The Dartmoor setting makes it an excellent choice for a New Year’s Day walk too, to clear sore heads after an evening of festivities!
Best for a coastal celebration - Clovelly
A highly unique place to visit all year round, Clovelly also hosts an unsurprisingly quirky New Year’s Eve party. The fishing village pays homage to its heritage on December 31, when the villagers dress up as pirates to party the night away, with the evening culminating in gunpowder on the quay at midnight.
You couldn’t get much closer to the seaside than at Clovelly, making it a great – and unforgettable – destination for seeing in the new year on the rugged North Devon coastline.
Where to stay
If you’re celebrating the new year in Devon, you’re going to want to treat yourself to a fantastic house to retire to after the festivities – or find the perfect place to hold an unforgettable party!
From cosy coastal boltholes to large party houses, here are our recommendations on where to stay to be as close as possible to the New Year’s Eve action.
Within easy walking distance of the festivities on Bideford Quay, this grand townhouse has plenty of space for everyone to enjoy a New Year’s Eve get-together. Kids can hang out in the games room while you relax in the hot tub and toast to another brilliant year gone by.
See in the new year in style with a break in this incredible home on the River Dart. The living spaces are huge, meaning there’s plenty of room for a party, and most of the rooms have stunning river views so you can watch the sun rise on a new year from the comfort of your own bed.
Treat your loved one to a romantic break at this beautifully decorated property in the South Devon countryside. Wrap up warm to enjoy a sundowner on the paved terrace in the shared landscaped grounds and then start the new year off right with a head-clearing dip in the shared on-site pool on New Year’s Day.
Stylishly furnished for a small get-together with a few special friends and family, this sleek property boasts open-plan living spaces that are perfect for a party. Enjoy the countryside views, have some healthy competition in the games room and then jump in the bubbling hot tub that’s the ideal spot to toast to the year ahead.
Just down the coast from Clovelly’s new year celebrations, this petite retreat is packed with charm, perfect for a coastal getaway. The roaring wood burner will keep you toasty warm on chilly winter’s nights and the cottage’s location is ideal for hangover-busting coastal walks to see in the new year.
Where to eat
Got your heart (and stomach) set on an evening filled with gastronomic delights to help you see in the new year? You’ve come to the right place – from fine dining surrounded by countryside, where the ingredients have come from less than 25 miles away, to a riotous feast to set you up for partying the night away – Devon is a foodie’s paradise. Here are our top picks:
What’s on offer: A six-course meal showcasing local ingredients.
Price: £60 per person.
What’s on offer: A four-course dinner followed by casino tables, a DJ set and fireworks over the River Taw with a cup of hot chocolate.
Price: £50 per person.
What’s on offer: A five-course set menu in the Georgian Kitchen or Wine Cellar, with ingredients from within a 25-mile radius, plus live music, a piper and dancing. Or a family-style sharing feast in The Folly, followed by drinks around the fire pit and dancing.
Price: £140 per person for the Georgian Kitchen or Wine Cellar; £90 per person for The Folly.
What’s on offer: A three-course meal followed by a disco.
Price: £40 per person.
What’s on offer: A gastronomic black-tie gala, with a delicious dinner followed by live music.
Price: £89 per person.
Things to do
Start the year off right with an unforgettable New Year’s Day in the fresh Devon air. Whether you want to brave it with a bracing dip in the sea, or keep it classy with a trip to the races, here’s what’s on offer on the first day of the new year:
Guaranteed to either kill or cure your January 1st hangover, this annual event sees hundreds of residents take to Westward Ho! beach in fancy dress for a no-wetsuits-allowed swim.
Another Devon tradition, this event is slightly more glamorous than a dip in the sea, and slightly warmer too! While the race schedule is yet to be confirmed, you can be sure that a day out at Exeter Racecourse will be an exhilarating way to see in the new year.
You can enjoy a gentle cruise along the placid River Exe, perhaps spotting the waterfowl that call it home, while sipping a complimentary tea or coffee courtesy of Stuart Line Cruises.
Is there a more time-honoured tradition than a New Year’s Day walk? Wherever you’re visiting in Devon, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the variety of walking routes on offer. From lung-busting routes up Codden Hill to sedate strolls along the Tarka Trail in North Devon, a blustery walk on the South West Coast Path, or the bleak beauty of Exmoor and Dartmoor, there’s no better way to see in the new year than by lacing up your trainers and getting outside.
Out with the old and in with the new – make this New Year’s Eve the year you do something different!