Street Party full crowd credit Chris Watt


Top 5 things to do at Hogmanay

Published December 31st, 2014

Every year, over 130,000 revellers head for Hogmanay in Edinburgh. It’s one of the top places to see in the New Year around the world – think fireworks, a torchlight procession, massive street party and ceilidh and the big wheel in the historic city centre. Add a three-day celebration with the celeb-studded Concert in the Gardens (Lily Allen, Soul II Soul and Bjorn Again are headliners), Hogmanay Street Party and guys in kilts, and it’s no wonder Edinburgh is the only place to be on December 31. Here’s our pick of the top things to do at Hogmanay.



1. Drink whisky

When in Scotland, drink whisky. Hit up the high street for more whisky shops than you can shake an empty tumbler at, or settle in for some tastings on a The Scotch Whisky Experience tour along the Royal Mile - there’s over 300 malts in the shop alone!


Hogmanay Street Party in Edinburgh.
Photo: Chris Watt


2. Join the street party

Everybody knows the Scots know how to party. Take to the streets on December 31 for the Hogmanay Street Party to see how the Celts really throw down at one of the world’s biggest outdoor celebrations. Live bands and DJs take to the stages against the backdrop of the stunning Edinburgh Castle plus there’s the world’s biggest Hot Dub Time Machine event with over 75,000 people showing off their best moves to party faves from Mashed Potato to the Macarena.


Don't be this guy - bring your winter warmies!


3. Drink whisky

Seriously, it’s bitterly cold in Edinburgh in winter (you’ll need a coat, gloves and scarf), so grab yourself a warming single malt.


Best not to ask what's in a big breakfast, Scotland-style.


4. Eat the local cuisine

If it can be battered and fried, chances are it is in Edinburgh. You’ve probably heard about the exotic delicacy that is deep-fried Mars Bars but how about macaroni pies or a haggis burrito washed down with Irn Bru soft drink? Don’t forget a big Scottish fry-up with black pudding and Lorne sausage for the morning after.


Frolic in the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth.


5. Sign up for the Loony Dook

Feeling fortified from the whisky? Good. Time to do your best belly flop into the freezing Firth of Forth waters under the Forth Rail Bridge at South Queensferry for the traditional Loony Dook on January 1. Don your best fancy dress (Scottish flag makeup essential) and your shoes (it’s a stony beach!) and join the foolhardy and still drunk Dookers for the annual dip in the Forth River. It’s for charity, so man or woman up!


Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.