When it comes to ringing in the New Year, Edinburgh knows how to throw a good party! Last year I had the chance to celebrate Hogmanay in the Scottish capital, where I quickly learned that the festivities are not a one night affair. For those of you who may not be familiar with this celebration, Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year, and in Edinburgh that means a 3-day event filled with music, dancing, and great times.
For anyone considering Edinburgh as a contender for future New Years celebrations, here’s a little look at what to expect:
Join a torchlight procession led by Vikings
On the night of December 30th, people take to the streets in a grand procession that runs from George IV Bridge all the way out to Calton Hill. The event is led by the Up Helly Aa Vikings who look like fierce warriors. This procession is also accompanied by piping and drumming, and a general feeling of euphoria. Last year’s event had over 35,000 participants and it was a night to remember.
Dance your heart out at the Edinburgh Street Party
The Street Party takes place on December 31st along Princes Street and the great thing is that it offers revellers a myriad of musical possibilities. Stages are set up along the length of the street, where the music ranges from hip hop to electronic to indie rock. If at any point in the night you start feeling like a change of sound, you can easily walk over to one of the other nearby stages and enjoy the festivities.
Now here’s a tip, if you book a hotel along Princes Street, ask for a room that looks over the Princes Street Gardens – this way you can still enjoy the celebration from the comfort of your room if you decide you need to run indoors for a little warm up!
Ring in the New Year at the Concert in the Gardens
The Concert in the Gardens takes place on New Years Eve and it is the most popular event of the night. The show is set against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, and it features internationally renowned artists from across the globe. This is also a great location to watch the firework display over the castle when the clock strikes midnight.
Take a plunge at the Loony Dook
Lastly, after all those celebrations, the Scots like to start the New Year by plunging into the icy waters of the Firth of Forth. The Dooker Parade takes place on January 1st, and it involves people marching down High Street in South Queensferry wearing the strangest of costumes. It is truly a sight to behold. Last year a man wrapped himself in bubble wrap for his costume, only this backfired when he began to float away with the current. (Don’t worry, he was rescued.) Other memorable costumes included tiger suits, minions, a Wolverine, and well, there were those who just plunged in wearing tiny speedos.
And that’s a little glimpse at what New Years in Edinburgh looks like. I was completely knackered by the end of my week in Scotland, but I can assure you, it was a trip to remember!
Where did you celebrate your most memorable New Years?