72 Hours at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
Edinburgh's Hogmanay is one of the world's greatest New Year celebrations featuring three days of spectacular events. Hogmanay’s origins go all the way back to the Vikings, who celebrated the shortest day of the year with wild parties. Take a look at our guide for an incredible 72 hours at this winter festival.
Day One: 30 December
The celebrations begin on 30 December with a torchlight procession. Blaze through the city accompanied by pipers and drummers, fire and fanfare and forge a river of light through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. The procession usually lasts about 2 hours, beginning at dark around 7pm.
After the Torchlight Procession head down to the historic McEwan Hall and dance to some of the most famous Ibiza club anthems from the last 30 years. Symphonic Ibiza fuses the thrilling live Orchestra with high tempo beats from renowned club DJ Andy Joyce and musical genius Steve Etherington, whose credentials include residencies at Ibiza super-clubs Pacha, Amnesia, Eden and Café Mambo, this party is like no other, creating an entirely new club experience.
Day Two: 31 December
Start the celebrations in the early evening and spend a couple of hours dancing under the castle or enjoying an orchestral concert inside St Giles' Cathedral:
Ceilidh under the Castle
For a particularly traditional Scottish new year, it's hard to beat the always packed Ceilidh under the Castle. With eightsome reels aplenty and a lot of stripping the willow you'll have a fantastic time, even if it's your first taste of traditional Scottish dancing.
Plus, there's the added bonus of enjoying the great live music and joyous jigging in a stunning setting right in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.
While a huge amount of the Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations are loud, energetic and a bit crazy, there's an oasis of calm to be enjoyed too, in the beautiful surroundings of St Giles' Cathedral.
A live orchestral performance will provide an altogether gentler end to the preceding twelve months in a truly atmospheric space in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town.
Next head over to the famous Hogmanay Street Party or dance the night away at the Concert in the Gardens. Be sure to plan in advance which events you would like to attend on this day. Many of the ticketed events do not allow you to leave and re-enter again. Therefore, if you want to go to both the Ceilidh Under the Castle and the Street Party for example, you may want to go to the Ceilidh when it first opens for two or three hours, and then head to the Street Party for the rest of the evening.
One of the most iconic parts of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, the Street Party sees tens of thousands of partygoers fill central Edinburgh in a huge open-air celebration.
There's live music across multiple stages, DJs and street entertainers, and of course a fantastic view of the midnight fireworks, followed by a massive rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
Concert in the Gardens
At the very heart of Edinburgh's Hogmanay on the final night of the year, the Concert in the Gardens delivers great live music to lucky ticket holders, in the surrounds of the famous Princes Street Gardens.
And at midnight, with Edinburgh Castle soaring above the revellers, the sky ignites with light, sound and colour as a magnificent firework display marks the beginning of the new year.
While most of the Edinburgh's Hogmanay events on 31 December are late at night, that doesn't mean that the kids have to miss out, thanks to the Bairns Afore show.
This special family-friendly event takes place much earlier in the evening and includes live music and entertainment, plus a special fireworks finale to allow younger partygoers to enjoy the fun of New Year's Eve without missing bedtime!
Day Three: 1 January
The Loony Dook continues its New Year’s Day tradition at South Queensferry. In the shadow of the Forth Bridges, the dippers in fancy dress, scantily clad or even fully clothed from the night before will brave the chill to raise money for charities while shaking off their Hogmanay hangover.
Dookers will march the length of South Queensferry High Street as part of the Dookers’ Parade before launching themselves into the freezing Firth of Forth.
Spectators are welcome to cheer on the Dookers at various vantage points along the route or down on the beach.
First Footers Family Ceilidh
If you are travelling with young children then head over to the First Footers Family Ceilidh. Reel, jig, two-step and waltz those Hogmanay cobwebs away at this family-friendly, completely free event.
Edinburgh's Hogmanay is a three day festival running from 30 December to 1 January - for more information and to book, visit the Edinburgh's Hogmanay website.