1st birthday party ideas for an unforgettable celebration holiday cottages

Party Houses

1st birthday party ideas for an unforgettable celebration

Sarah P 22 July 2020

A 1st birthday is as much for you as it is for your little one, but it is one of the most important milestones that you will celebrate with them. Create even more memories and take photos that you can look back on when they are celebrating their 18th, 21st or 30th birthday!

The first of many milestones, a first birthday is a chance for the most important people in your life to celebrate a whole year of your baby. A great way to get everyone together for a big celebration is to hire a large holiday home that can accommodate the whole clan because after all, you’ll want to invite grandparents, aunties, uncles, friends and no doubt, there will be lots of other little ones joining the party too!

We’ve pulled together some of the best 1st birthday party ideas to help you plan a special celebration including ideas for themes, food, entertainment and large party houses for the venue!

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1st birthday party venue ideas

Our top tip, you don’t need to go far! Your little one won’t know whether you’re in Spain or Cornwall, what’s more important to them is being surrounded by the people that love them the most. Pick somewhere that’s no more than a couple of hours away by car, that way you don’t have to contend with luggage restrictions or long, stressful journeys, and it’ll be easier for the rest of the family. Many of our large houses have extras like games rooms and cinema rooms so you know there will be lots to keep families entertained. Some of them also have playrooms with toys, books and activities so whatever your 1st birthday party ideas look like, you're sure to find somewhere perfect. 

Live like a Disney princess in The Pink Castle | Ayrshire, Scotland

Sleeps 8

A princess party is a 1st birthday theme that would be even more magical hosted inside of a castle. The Pink Castle really is like something out of a fairytale and as the venue of a magical princess party, it really is somewhere that dreams are made of.  A fantastic 1st birthday party idea for girls, dress her up as a Disney princess and explore the quirky corners of the castle, take a whimsical fairy tale walk through the woods and picnic beside the stream. While the birthday princess catches up on her beauty sleep, you can retire to the sauna located in one of the castle’s turrets or admire the sea views from the hot tub. 

The highlights

  • A hot tub with sea vies
  • A sauna located in one of the turrets
  • Tennis court available via prior arrangement with the owner

More castles to stay in

Free entry to Camel Creek Adventure Park at Trelow Barton | Cornwall

Sleeps 12

When you stay in this stylish farmhouse, guests receive free entry to Camel Creek Adventure Park which sits adjacent to the property. Is there a better 1st birthday party ideas? Celebrate their 1st birthday with plenty of fun and adventure and no doubt Camel Creek will go down as a big hit with any other children in your family. 

A fantastic family-friendly house with plenty of space to spread out, Trelow Barton is the perfect base for spending quality time with your new 1-year-old and the rest of your family. With Cornwall’s most popular attractions and the rugged coastline on your doorstep, it’s sure to be a celebration you’ll never forget. 

The highlights:

  • Adjacent to Camel Creek Adventure Park, with free entry for guests
  • Enclosed garden with private hot tub

Tea party on the lawn at Tanner House | Kent

Sleeps 15

Less than two hours outside of London, this 1st birthday party idea gets you out of the city and into the countryside for a week of fresh air with your little one. With families in mind, Tanner House offers a peaceful escape with a huge garden all to yourself! Celebrate a with a relaxed tea party on the lawn as your chosen 1st birthday party theme. Bake cakes and cookies and have children help decorate them for the perfect 1st birthday party food. Play music, set up games, let the kids dress up and embrace the outdoor space.

The highlights:

  • Three bedrooms designed especially for children
  • Treehouse, swing and trampoline in the garden
  • Located within 2 hours of London 


Teddy Bears picnic at Sheafhayne Manor | Devon

Sleeps 14

This beautiful Elizabethan Manor is surrounded by beautiful gardens, a pretty stream and 2500 acres of farmland. This magical setting is the perfect place to hold a teddy bear's picnic 1st birthday theme to celebrate your 1-year-old. Pack up picnic baskets full of tasty treats, homemade lemonade and of course, the birthday cake, and explore the outdoors together. Located close to the border between Devon and Dorset, the Jurassic Coast will be right on your doorstep. 

The highlights: 

  • A games room with pool, table tennis, air hockey, table football and ride-on children’s toys
  • Vast outdoor space including pretty gardens, stream, orchard, and croquet lawn
  • Professional catering available to pre-book directly with the owner

A big summer garden party at Hop Pickers Oast and Barn | Kent

Sleeps 25

Go all out and host a summer party that not only celebrates your 1-year-old but the rest of the family too! Host a big summer garden party at The Hop Pickers Oast and Barn, a family-friendly house that caters in every way for families. Fire up the BBQ and dine beside the lake, set up games on the lawn, make animals out of balloons and spread out toys as simple 1st birthday party entertainment ideas. 

Catering for the 1-year-old to the 70-year-old in your family, this stunning home-from-home offers so much to do that you will never want to leave. Soak up the sun on the terrace, relax in the hot tub, keep kids cool in the splash pool and get competitive in the games room. 

The highlights:

  • Games room with pool table and table football 
  • Swimming pool, hot tub and splash pool for kids
  • Various garden toys and entertainment for youngsters

1st birthday party ideas for girls and boys

Choose a 1st birthday party theme, and this will produce plenty of decoration ideas too!  We think these 1st birthday ideas for boys and girls are a perfect balance. Use them as a starting point and adapt as you see fit.

  • Disney princess – There are so many to choose from: the classic Cinderella and Snow White to the more recent Elsa and Ana of Frozen.
  • Myths and legends – Mermaids and unicorns are all the rage, so when it comes to choosing decorations and cake, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
  • Minnie & Mickey Mouse – A timeless favourite that you probably enjoyed when you were a child, and now you can share it with your children.
  • Wild animals – From woodland creatures to ‘the big five’, no doubt you’ve been teaching your little one all about the wonderful animal kingdom.
  • Under the sea – Oh, the fun you can have bringing the weird and wonderful underwater world to life for your little ones’ 1st birthday party. 
  • Sports – Does your little one love to sit beside dad watching football, rugby or golf? Maybe one more for the adults at this stage but it’s all part of development, right?
  • Tractors and cars – Kids love anything that they can pull, push and make noise with so fill the party with toys they will love!
  • Farm animals – How often do you say to your baby, “sheep go baa, cows go moo?” it’s likely to be something every one-year-old is starting to understand.
  • Winter wonderland – Was your baby born in the winter? Embrace the cold weather and turn your venue into a pretty winter wonderland.
  • Summer garden party – Fire up the BBQ and enjoy the great outdoors. Set down a pile of blankets and cushions and let your little one roam the lawn.

1st birthday party entertainment ideas

Keep older siblings, cousins and friends busy too with these 1st birthday entertainment ideas; a few simple toys and activities will be enough because there will be so many people to play with. 

  • Balloons – Let’s be honest, the balloon is probably going to get more love than the birthday presents from your 1-year-old. Why not make them into animal shapes for extra fun?
  • Ball pit – Buy, borrow or bring with you a small children’s ball pit that you can blow up or put together in your venue.
  • Soft play – Tunnels, bean bags, foam blocks and soft climbers are great for keeping younger children entertained.
  • Ride-on cars and tractors – Great for slightly older children who are on the move all the time. It’s precious to pop your 1-year-old in a car and let older cousins gently pull them along too!
  • A basket of everyday toys – Throw together some basic building blocks, soft animals, musical toys etc. that kids can help themselves to.
  • A selection of children’s books – As the party slows down, tired children might like a few moments of peace with a book.
  • A drawing station – Do you have creative children or older kids attending? Colouring can keep little ones busy for hours!
  • Stickers – Simple but effective. Get a few cheap books of stickers and leave them lying around for the kids to use; watch out adults, you might be in the firing line.

1st birthday party food ideas

When it comes to 1st birthday party foot ideas, keep it simple and do a finger buffet with shaped food that the kids will love!

For the kids…

  • Use cookie cutters to shape sandwiches, biscuits and pizzas
  • Do bowls of strawberries and marshmallows to dip into melted chocolate
  • Colourful jelly and ice cream are a classic
  • Hot dogs are easy if you want to keep options to a minimum

For adults…

  • Dinosaur sandwiches not your thing? Set up a sophisticated adults' buffet instead!
  • Make a batch of something easy like chilli or casserole that guests can help themselves to
  • Fire up the BBQ on a sunny day and dine alfresco

The cake…

You will always remember your baby’s 1st birthday cake, even though they’ll probably get more on their face and clothes than anywhere else. If you’re going to make the cake yourself, go for something simple and jazz it up with some colourful icing, decorations and candles to make it stand out. As well as THE birthday cake, which you are likely to hand around to all the guests, why not make a separate one for a cake smash? This is basically for the guest of honour to dig into with their hands and make as much mess as possible - a 1st birthday idea that you will always remember. 

Pinterest is great for 1st birthday cake ideas.

Plan a 1st birthday party

Have our ideas for a 1st birthday inspired you to book a venue for your baby’s first milestone birthday? Browse our large party houses and family-friendly homes in the UK to find a place that will be perfect for this very special celebration.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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