17 party theme ideas to inspire a big celebration holiday cottages

Party Ideas

17 party theme ideas to inspire a big celebration

Sarah P 01 August 2022

Special occasions deserve extravagant celebrations and what better way to mark them than with a themed party that the guest of honour will love! Whether that’s you or you’re arranging a BIG or intimate gathering to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, engagement, hen, stag, wedding or any other occasion, our party theme ideas for adults and children will give you plenty of inspiration.

We’ve pulled together 17 fabulous party themes with a snapshot of exactly what you need to pull each one off, and a matching party venue from our collection, which conveniently will double up as a holiday too!

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A festival-themed party 

A festival-themed party

Don the flower crowns and hang up the fairy lights. Whether you’re seeking Coachella vibes or something more Glasto-style, a festival-themed party can be quick to pull together and perfect plan for a hen party or a birthday! Think boho style, floaty dresses and wellies. This is a great theme to choose whether the guest of honour is a real festival-goer or is yet to attend her first one - you could surprise her with her own mini backyard festival celebration.

You will need: bunting, glitter, face paint, flower crowns, fairy lights, tepees, and vibrant patterns, wristbands, landyards

The perfect venue: The Holiday Barn | Needham Market, Suffolk | Sleeps 22 - set in a rural location with plenty of outdoor space to host a mini festival!

A Hawaiian luau theme

Hawaiian luau

A traditional Hawaiian party, a luau, is all about celebrating a significant life event, so throw on a lei, sip cocktails from coconuts, turn up the tunes and dance the night away. Take a look at our large coastal cottages for an authentic beach house venue!

You will need: grass skirts, beach balls, Hawaiian leis, paper umbrellas, fruity cocktails, pineapples, and coconut cups!

The perfect venue: Shallows End | Bath, Somerset | Sleeps 24 - there’s the perfect outdoor space for entertaining, complete with hot tub and sauna!

1920s Great Gatsby theme party 

Great Gatsby party theme

A fancy 1920s Gatsby theme is perfect for New Year’s Eve parties and anniversary celebrations. It's an opportunity for you and your guests to dress up to the nines and frequent a lavish venue to bring this intriguing speakeasy to life. Traditionally a speakeasy party would be hosted in a secret location with cabaret, jazz bands and cocktails. It was quite the event! While you may have to share the location for logistical reasons, you can keep everything else a secret!

You will need: a grand venue, 1920s feather centrepiece, fabulous costumes, Art Deco banners, and gold, silver and black party decorations.

The perfect venue: The Secret Escape | Sherwood Forest, Nottingham | Sleeps 26 - the ultimate party house complete with its own nightclub, games room and hot tubs!

A Mamma Mia theme party

Perfect for a hen party, any milestone birthday or a reunion. Spend the night singing your heart out to the best Abba tunes of all time. Style your party on the award-winning Mamma Mia! movie, set up the big screen and embrace your inner Donna! If you need pointers on the food, why not choose Greek cuisine? The Mamma Mia! movie was set on a beautiful Greek Island and we bet your guests will jump at the chance of re-creating the laid-back vibe. 

You will need: karaoke machine, a big screen, outrageous outfits, fishbowl cocktails and beautiful flowers!

The perfect venue: Southwood Chase | Chesterfield, Peak District | Sleeps 10 - there’s a fantastic outside bar with a pool table and jukebox to play your favourite Abba tunes!

James Bond casino theme party

James Bond casino theme

A James Bond-themed party is the perfect choice for a 60th or 70th birthday celebration - especially if the guest of honour fancies themselves as 007! Be sure to serve martinis on arrival, and why not hire someone to host a car parking valet service? Very James Bond don't you think? 

You will need: casino tables, cocktail dresses and tuxedos, martinis, and fast cars.

The perfect venue: Port an Eilean | Pitlochry, Perth and Kinross | Sleeps 25 - what could be more James Bond than a property with a private jetty and a bar?  

A tasty Mexican theme party

Mexican party theme

It’s all about the food at a Mexican-themed party! Cook up a storm or hire caterers to take the pressure off and taste the delights of this delectable cuisine. Within Mexican culture, mealtimes are an important sign of togetherness, bringing families close to enjoy fun and delicious food so a Mexican Fiesta is the perfect theme for a big family celebration. Throw in music, games and fabulous Mexican outfits and you'll have yourself a fabulous party! 

You will need: a sizzling hot Mexican menu, sombreros, margaritas, pinatas, guitars, maracas, and paper flags.

The perfect venue: Redford Farm Barns | Ludlow, Shropshire | Sleeps 12 - take the party outdoors and make use of the incredible outdoor kitchen!

A disco theme party

Disco party theme

Hire a DJ and hang the glitter ball; a disco-themed party is a fun way to celebrate a 16th or 18th birthday party for youngsters who love to dance! Whether you play the Disco classics or the latest tunes, disco is a great way to have some fun and enjoy a good boogie - however old you are. I's also a great way to bring multiple ages together!

You will need: disco ball, strobe lights, smoke machine, glow sticks.

The perfect venue: Kaleidoscope House | Snettisham, Norfolk | Sleeps 20 - there’s a sound-proofed disco room, as well as a hot tub for ultimate relaxation.

Ibiza theme party

Ibiza party theme

Did someone say pool party? The perfect party theme for a summer celebration – spend the day in and out of the pool and bring the Ibiza party vibes to you. We think this would be a great idea for a 21st birthday or 30th birthday celebration. As well as good cocktails, delicious food and cool tunes, there should be plenty of time to kick back and relax on inflatables and sunloungers too! 

You will need: a live musician, inflatables, jugs of sangria, tapas and paella, disco balls, and fairy lights.

The perfect venue: Castle by The Water | Saltash, Cornwall | Sleeps 22 - not only is there a fabulous outdoor pool, but you can arrange to do a variety of activities direct from the property including boat trips, wine tasting and stand-up paddleboarding!

Glitz and glamour party theme

Glitz and glamour party theme

If you’re looking to amaze your guests with an extravagant celebration, a glitz and glam party worthy of a Hollywood red carpet will not be forgotten in a hurry – this could make a fabulous engagement party theme. Go all out with this one and don't hold back on the fabulous decorations, treats for your guests and tasty canapes too! 

You will need: glitter balloons, feather boas, treat-filled goody bags, canapes, a red carpet, movie-themed decorations.

The perfect venue: Pitcalzean House | Tain, The Highlands | Sleeps 37 - there is an outside barn which can be decorated and used as a venue for events (additional costs apply).

Friends themed party

Friends party theme

The one with the party! If you know, you know. Fans of the US sitcom show ‘Friends’ will be blown away by a Friends-themed party – especially those who are celebrating a 40th birthday and remember the show fondly. The great thing about this theme is it can be pretty laidback and you can enjoy it with your own 'friends'. For an extra dose of fun, why not give everyone a character to channel for the weekend and see who does it best? 

You will need: Friends quotes, an iconic Friends door, photo booth, Foosball, New York memorabilia, Friends Trivia game.

The perfect venue: The Rusty Barn | Huntley, Gloucestershire | Sleeps 10 - spacious open-plan living just like in the show and there's even an orange sofa and a 'foosball table'.

60s theme party

Mods vs rockers' 60s theme party is a fantastic way to remember two rival cultures of the 1960s! For anyone who grew up during this time, or perhaps married in the 60s and celebrating an anniversary, it’s a nostalgic way to celebrate an era that may have meant a lot to the guests of honour. Don your parka coats or leather jackets, grab your scooter or hop on your motorcycle and we’ll see you there! 

You will need: suits, parka coats, scooters, motorbikes, jeans, leather jackets, a mix of 1950s rock and roll such as Elvis and Eddie Cochran, and 60s bands like The Beatles and The Kinks. 

The perfect venue: Old Coach Manor | Chepstow, Gloucestershire | Sleeps 26 – a grand and impressive venue with plenty of indoor and outdoor space for entertaining. 

70s theme party

One of the most colourful decades, a 70s theme disco is a sure-fire way to celebrate someone who grew up in the seventies surrounded by peace signs and tie-dye! Is anyone approaching a 60th birthday?

You will need: peace signs, wildflowers, groovy photo booth props, tie-dye, VW campervan décor. 

The perfect venue: New Lodge | Strathcarron, The Highlands | Sleeps 18 - a separate Ceilidh barn is perfect for family parties (max 18 guests) and catering is available at an extra charge.

80s theme party

80s party theme

At a time when video games were becoming more popular, the 80s lays claim to some of the classics! Reminisce with your favourites and enjoy a real taste of the 80s.  

You will need: Rubik’s cube, leg warmers, retro video games, retro photo booth, a retro candy bar, 80s classic tunes, neon paint and accessories.

The perfect venue: Willow Mill | Penrith, Lake District | Sleeps 10 - there’s a gaming table with 60 retro games, pool table, darts, and computer games with Ferrari-driving steering wheel!

90s theme party

90s party theme

Throw it back to your younger years and embrace all the cool trends you went through with fabulous 90s theme party outfits, games, accessories, and activities!

You will need: retro games, flares, halter-neck tops, Now That‘s What I Call the 90s soundtracks, 90s sweets and a big screen with popular 90s shows!

The perfect venue: West Farleigh Farmhouse | Cadeleigh, Devon | Sleeps 12 - a spacious cinema room adjoining a bar/games room is the perfect place to host!

A roar-some dinosaur-themed party

Dinosaur party theme

If the little person in your life loves dinosaurs, they’ll be thrilled with a whole party themed around them – especially if you can visit a dinosaur park! If you're going to really blow their socks off, make sure everything you possibly can is dinosaur themed from the cake and snacks to decorations and wrapping paper.

You will need: blow-up dinosaurs, dinosaur-themed napkins, plates and cups, dinosaur fossils, dinosaur pinata, and a visit to dinosaur land!

The perfect venue: South Patchole Barn | Combe Martin, Devon | Sleeps 8 - just 2 miles from Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park!

Jungle/safari-themed party

Jungle/safari party theme

A great one for young children who love animals. Throw a mini party with family and a few friends, and top off the celebrations with a visit to a zoo or wildlife park! Be sure to set up a fantastic display of themed decorations to make them feel like they've just walked into the jungle! Hide lots of animal decorations around the venue for them to find later on. 

You will need: DIY balloon garland, helium animal balloons, zebra stripes and leopard spots, animal party bags, animal-shaped snacks, a wild day out!

The perfect venue: Solway | Chester, Cheshire | Sleeps 10 - just 1 mile from a really wild day out at Chester Zoo!

A Harry Potter theme party

Harry Potter theme

This much-loved character could be the chosen theme for children and adults alike. Harry Potter fans can have great fun inventing all kinds of magical delights for the guests at this themed party. 

You will need: Sorting Hat, wands, Harry Potter movies, Harry Potter books, quidditch, house accessories, house games, potion bottles, butterbeer cupcakes, and Bertie Bott’s.

The perfect venue: Airlie Castle | Airlie, Angus | Sleeps 14 - a beautiful and mysterious castle just like Hogwarts!

Need some more kids' party theme ideas? We've written a whole guide on some super-fun children's party ideas, and matched them with our party houses! 

Start planning your big celebration

Which theme will you choose for your big celebration? Hopefully, we have given you some food for thought with these exciting party theme ideas, but if you need more inspiration, our complete guide to party planning covers milestone birthdays, anniversaries, engagement parties, hen and stag dos, and reunions!



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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