Party like it's Hogmanay
Hogmanay is one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. It is said to date back to pagan times where the middle of winter was celebrated with light and fire. Today, the streets of Scotland’s larger cities come alive with open-air concerts, street parties and fireworks. In more regional areas, there are still public and house parties aplenty, with some traditional ‘first footers’ keeping alive the old-school, house-to-house visits to wish their neighbours a happy New Year. But, for those looking to get amongst the action, Edinburgh is the ultimate Hogmanay destination of choice.
Edinburgh’s street party, Concert in the Gardens, is so big and so popular, you need a ticket to get in to revel with about 80,000 other people who are there to welcome in the New Year overlooked by Edinburgh Castle. Yes, this is one party it pays to book well in advance. Plus, it’s well worth the effort given the sheer size of the event, which includes live music, DJs, VJs, outdoor bars and the castle fireworks. Celebrations aren’t reserved for December 31 alone, with a Torchlight Procession lighting up the streets on December 30 and a dip in the chilly Forth River on New Year’s Day alongside daring others as part of something known as Loony Dook.
When is it?
Tips and tricks
Hogmanay is hugely popular, so make sure you book accommodation and street party tickets (especially for Concert in the Gardens in Edinburgh) well in advance or do a tour where your accommodation, street party tickets and some meals are included.
Make reservations to eat – on Hogmanay and in the days leading up to the event, the restaurants and pubs of Edinburgh can get very busy.
Plan your shopping and siteseeing – many restaurants, pubs, shops and tourist attractions are closed on New Year’s Day and often the day after.
Try getting to an indoor or outdoor Ceildh where you can learn Scottish folk dances and get traditional with your celebrations.
If possible, arrive early and plan a meeting point with your friends as well as a good position for the fireworks (held at the castle ramparts) as things are going to get busy, fast.
Wear warm clothes and comfy shoes - it’s the middle of winter and you will be covering a lot of ground.