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Hello 2020! The best local places to celebrate

What you doing for New Year's Eve? One of these 21 awesome gatherings, that's what! From overnighters to pub parties, dinner destinations to bar crawlers, raise your glass to 2020.

Can’t be bothered to have New Year’s Eve at yours this year? Here are 21 brilliant options in Bucks & Oxon, from Stiletto-worthy events to dinner down your local gastropub – either way, you’re guaranteed a glass of fizz in hand at midnight and a sore head in the morning.

 

For party animals

Crazy by name, crazy by nature – The Crazy Bear, in Beaconsfield, sure knows how to throw a party. On offer this year is a decadent 20s themed affair – expect sparkles, burlesque, magic and music – with the choice of an eight plate Thai feast, or five course British menu. Bring your A-game, the dress code is Hollywood Glam (£150pp).

Meanwhile Claytons Marlow is celebrating the arrival of the new decade with slick tracks and spinning vinyl from the Seventies through to modern day music. Claytons regular DJ Tony White’s on the decks (£11.25).

Elsewhere, sleek and modern boutique hotel The Chesterton in Bicester is throwing it’s first NYE bash – you’ll get a Kir Royale and canapé reception, three course dinner, plus a DJ until midnight and a Casino.

If it’s cocktails you’re after, our go-tos are The Botanist in Marlow – you can opt for a three course meal with drinks (£49.95pp) or head straight to the bar with live music and a glass of fizz (£10pp). Or, in Oxford, it has to be The Alchemist on Westgate’s Rooftop, with views of the fireworks across Oxford, bonkers concoctions, a choice of two set menus (from £35) and a funky disco theme.

Kazbar (above), on cool Cowley Road, also has brilliant cocktails (the signature Kazmopolitan is divine), plus the atmosphere is always buzzing with bright, quirky Moroccan inspired interiors and lively bar staff. This year the Mad Flamenco Orchestra are performing until the early hours, plus you’ll get to celebrate New Year twice as there’s also a countdown at 11pm for the bar’s Spanish family!

Meanwhile, Muddy Award-winning bar Tap Social, in Botley, is teaming up with Oxford-based DJs Kwassa Kwassa to blast afrobeat, reggae and salsa until the early hours (last orders are 3am *gulp*). There’ll also be a selection of street food vans (£6pp).

 

DESTINATION DINNER

Dig out your posh frocks! Stoke Park (below), in Stoke Poges, doesn’t do things by half (we should know, we had the Muddy Christmas party here!) and is offering a glass of fizz and canapés, followed by a four-course menu created by head chef Chris Wheeler. A £195 ticket (£185 for members) also includes a live band in the plush Orangery, fireworks on the lawn and midnight buffet in 3 AA Rosette Humphrey’s restaurant to soak up the Champers.

Also in Bucks, Chesham-based De Vere Latimer Estate is offering a stunner of a setting and slap-up, four course dinner in the newly refurbished glass-roofed 1838 Restaurant & Bar – dinner is super reasonable at £55, with tasty local produce guaranteed. Similarly, Gees Restaurant, in Oxford, set within a stunning Victorian Glasshouse, offers a stylish backdrop to see in 2020 with a cocktails and Mediterranean menu cooked on the wood fired oven and charcoal grill. Easy access into central Oxford if you fancy carrying on the party.

Also in Oxford there’s Vivek Singh’s Oxford outpost Cinnamon Kitchen, on the top floor of Westgate. There’ll be a four course menu of the chef’s signature modern Indian cuisine, plus view over Oxford’s spires (£45pp).

A short drive towards Summertown, there’s the small but perfectly formed, Muddy Award-winning and Michelin-starred The Oxford Kitchen (both accolades equally as impressive, of course), with a special six course menu (£115pp). And then there’s more Michelin action at Raymond Blanc’s Oxfordshire gaff Belmond Le Manoir (below). Brace your bank account, it’s pretty pricy at £430pp, but you’re getting a black tie event, special Gala Menu, flowing Champagne, live entertainment and three star calibre.

And finally, Cotswold corker Minster Mill near Witney has two menus on offer. The first, a candlelit dinner with Champagne and seven course tasting menu for £120 in the restaurant (add a wine flight for an added £30). The second, a four course party menu in the atmospheric Malthouse (less eating, more dancing) for £120. Both options include fireworks and DJ in the Malthouse. The spa is open on New Year’s day for some much needed R&R.

 

KEEP IT LOCAL

For a low-key, no pressure New Year you can’t go wrong with the pub – tasty gastro fare, a friendly local vibe, plus you can crawl into a taxi and be home by ten past 12. Here are our top picks of venues pushing the boat out for 31 Dec.

The Mole Inn (above), in Toot Baldon, offers a beautiful countryside setting and is a dead cert for foodies with the gastropub cooking up a special five course menu with bubbles – extra points for produce being fresh and local (£60pp). Likewise, newly relaunched The Kingham Plough, just outside Chipping Norton, has five courses on offer, plus a cocktail on arrival (yes please) for £75pp. There’s no chance of getting bored with more than 60 wines to try, 12 whiskies, a whole stash of local gins and if you make your way through the whole menu, there’ll be some much needed munchies when the clock strikes 12.

On the opposite side of Oxfordshire, there’s Ridgeway pub The Greyhound Inn (below) in Letcombe Regis where head chef Liam Whittle has whipped up a Celebration Dinner menu – four courses, plus English sparking wine, canapés and sweet treats (£65pp) – alternatively you can just turn up at the bar for a drink and a natter.

The Polecat Inn, in Great Missenden, south Bucks, is offering its usual dinner menu alongside some chef specials and a DJ (make sure you book ahead to snaffle a seat in the new glass dining area). For the kids, there’s also a sweet daytime NYE party (11.30am – 2.30pm) with a three course meal, games, goodie bag and countdown to ‘midnight’. Awww, anyone else wishing this was an option for adults?

And finally, Marlow-based The Chequers is channeling Studio 54 with a ’70s themed shindig. A £15 ticket includes a drink on arrival, plus a hog roast at midnight. Flares optional.

 

THE OVERNIGHTERS

How to deal with the inevitable head pounding on 1 Jan, you ask? Waking up at super-luxe The Langley should help (caveat: bring aspirin anyway). The newest, grandest, shiniest five-star hotel in the area is hosting its first ever NYE with all the good stuff – Champers, canapés, a four course gala dinner and live music in the elegant Winter Garden room. Plus you’ll wake up to a slap-up breakfast.

For a two-nighter, celebrations begin on 30 Dec at Hartwell House, nr Aylesbury, with cream tea and welcome dinner. For the main event, there’s a Champagne reception followed by four course black tie dinner with wine and DJ, plus you’ll receive breakfast on both mornings. Access the house’s stunning 90 acres of parkland and gardens is also included, ideal for walking off the hangover, or alternatively, you can head to the spa.

Finally, for those who dare to break border control on New Year’s Eve, hop over the Berks border to Cliveden for a two night bash, starting on New Year’s eve with afternoon tea to line the stomach, followed by champagne in the evening and a four course dinner. It’s black tie and there’ll be live music and a disco, plus a karaoke led by Cliveden’s biggest fan Meghan Markle (this bit might be made up) . You’ll get another gourmet dinner the next day, plus breakfast on both mornings served by Prince Harry. OK, I’ll get my coat.

 

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