Who needs one night of celebrating the New Year when you can have three? A traditional Scottish celebratory extravaganza, party people can expect three days of music, street parties, world-class fireworks displays and historical events that have been taking place for decades. If that’s not enough, you can take part in the world’s biggest rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Whether you’re visiting Edinburgh around this time or jumping on the party train specifically to this event, you’ll experience the warmest of welcomes and no doubt make a bunch of new friends.
There are various myths about how Hogmanay came about and what it means, from the Scandinavian meaning of ‘last day of the year’ and the Flemish word meaning ‘great love day’ to French and Anglo-saxon definitions. Whichever you choose to believe, they all mean a good old celebration and party that sees in the new year. Hogmanay has a mountain of superstitions associated with it too including clearing your debts and cleaning the house before midnight on the 31st December.
The torch and bonfire ceremonies have been setting the sky beautifully alight since the Scottish pagan parties centuries ago and the 2nd January is national Scottish holiday - that’s one extra day to recover from the festivities!
Due to its outstanding popularity, it’s best to get all your travel booked in advance of Hogmanay. Whether this is the official bus that picks you up after the big celebration or your train up from somewhere else in the UK, book your tickets quicker than you can say ‘Happy New Year!’
As many of the events begin in the city centre, driving and parking is not advisable and may get congested at busy times.
Once you’ve finished partying on the streets, Citylink buses will depart from Edinburgh bus station to a number of stops across Scotland. Pre-booking is required.
Linking London, UK cities and other places in Europe to Edinburgh Waverley station, there are regular trains into the city in time for the partying.
From the street party to the famous New Year's Day dip in the River Forth, there’s something going on during Hogmanay from 30th December through to New Year’s Day. It’s worth noting that the events are ticketed so these will need to be bought in advance.
Friday 30 December
Kicking off proceedings is this traditional family event. Thousands of torch carriers make their way through the city centre up through to Calton Hill creating a ‘river of fire’ before watching a stunning sound and light show finale.
Down on Princes Street, the city comes alive with live music, DJ’s, outdoor bars and entertainment across four stages and eight huge screens. See in 2017 with fireworks on the hour from 9pm as they light up the sky with a spectacular backdrop of the famous Edinburgh Castle.
The Loony Dook
Sunday 1 January
If you need a little waking up after the weekend extravaganza, you could always take a dunk in the River Forth. And yes, it will be freezing. An age old tradition, dunkers take the plunge in fancy dress all while raising lots of cash for lots of charities. Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be open on this day too for both dunkers and spectators to warm up in!
1. Tickets are required for all of these events so book in advance!
2. Dress for the weather as you could be out all day and all night.
3. Check your tickets to see what allows you where.
4. Under 12s are not permitted at the Street Party but can enjoy the Concert in the Garden and the Old Town Ceilidh.
5. You must have a wristband (and a torch within your group of four) to take part in the Torchlight Procession.
Whether it's the city centre, next to Edinburgh Castle, or Princes Street, or on the outskirts of town, we have the right hotel for you. Flying in for a business trip and we've hotels next to Edinburgh Airport. And if you're looking for a family-friendly hotel for a weekend break we have those aswell.