Whether you’re looking for a last-minute New Year’s getaway or booked your trip months in advance, our guide to celebrating New Years (or as we like to call it Hogmanay) in Edinburgh will help you plan the perfect night. From traditional Scottish dancing in the light of Edinburgh castle to partying on Princess Street, Edinburghers sure know how to throw one hell of a New Year’s party.
Here in Scotland, we love celebrating new beginnings. So much so, that we have our own word for New Year’s Eve -- Hogmanay. Hogmanay is a Scots (one of the local dialects) word, which has been adopted worldwide making Scotland one of the best, most traditional, places in Europe to celebrate the coming year.
Scots have many New Year’s traditions like First-Footing, which involves visiting friends and relatives and giving them a bottle of whisky and sometimes a lump of coal. Or, jumping into the freezing cold Firth of the Forth as part of the Loony Dook parade in South Queensferry.
Edinburgh, the official home of New Years, host four days of Hogmanay events, concerts and fireworks. We’ve been celebrating in style for decades and our Hogmanay celebrations are some of the largest in the world. In fact, Edinburgh broke the Guinness World Record for largest New Year’s party in 1996-1997 when over 400,000 people helped us ring in the new year. We’ve since had to reduce numbers due to safety concerns, but we still throw a great party!
While we may no longer hold the world’s biggest street party, it’s still one of the best. Dance along to some of your favourite DJs under the stars on Princess Street at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party hosted by Johnnie Walker, marvel at street performers or watch the fireworks light up the sky above Edinburgh Castle to the beats of Meute.
This year’s programme features Scottish as well as international DJs and musicians like Gerry Cinnamon and DJ Judge Jules, Meute, Visata, Elephant Sessions, Miracle Glass Company and Trendy Wendy.
Tickets include a free dram of Johnnie Walker whisky to help you get into the New Year spirit!
Listen to Scotland’s indie-rock band Franz Ferdinand, at the 2019 Concert in the Gardens. With hits like ‘Darts of Pleasure’ and ‘Take Me Out’, this will be one epic concert. Plus, you’ll also have awesome views of the Edinburgh firework display at midnight.
Tickets include access to the Street Party
Just because you have children, doesn’t mean you have to miss the New Year’s celebrations. Bairns Afore allows you to celebrate the coming year with your kids and experience the full Edinburgh party experience while making sure your kids are in bed before midnight.
Dance with your wee ones to the fun, kid-friendly music of Massaoke, an Edinburgh Fringe favourite, in West Princes St Gardens. Hits include cover songs from Queen, Abba, Disney classics and Katy Perry. When the clock strikes 6 pm, watch as the sky above Edinburgh castle fills with a spectacular firework display designed specifically for kids!
Bairns Afore is the perfect way to experience Edinburgh’s legendary Hogmanay without having to arrange a babysitter.
Experience a traditional Scottish New Year at Ceilidh under the Castle. With a history dating back for hundreds of years, ceilidhs, similar to country-dancing, have a strong role in Scottish culture. As you swing around the dance floor arm-in-arm with your partner to a live ceilidh band, it’ll be hard not to smile. We think that a ceilidh is one of the best and most fun ways to bring in the New Year.
When the clock strikes twelve, you’ll have a fantastic view of Edinburgh’s firework display and can join hands with your fellow dancers to sing ‘Old Lang Syne.’
Held on the 1st of January, the Loony Dook is one of the quirkier Hogmanay Edinburgh events and is a tradition in the historic village of South Queensferry. With the iconic Forth Bridges as the perfect background, local people, in fancy dress and funny outfits, take a dip in the freezing Firth of the Forth. While swimming in sub-zero temperatures is a good way to cure a Hogmanay hangover, dookers are headed into the waters to raise money for charity.
If you’re crazy enough, you can join the dookers and experience the thrill of freezing waters. Or, cheer them on as they parade through town led by The Noise Committee drummers.
Still need a place to stay in Edinburgh for New Years? It’s not too late for a New Year’s Eve break in one of the best places to spend New Years in Europe -- we still have a few Hogmanay apartments in Edinburgh left. Check out our remaining Edinburgh holiday lets and book today while availability lasts.
We look forward to seeing you soon and helping you start 2019 off right!
Written by Karen
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