The Ultimate Guide to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
February 18, 2021 11:33am
Edinburgh is one of the best cities in the world to ring in the New Year, with its traditional Hogmanay celebrations attracting over 70,000 people annually. Street parties, cèilidhs, concerts, fireworks, fancy dress and more — it’s all going on in Edinburgh during Hogmanay.
With so much happening, if you’re travelling to Edinburgh for New Year, deciding what to do can be a daunting prospect. But rest assured, Staycity’s here to help. With two aparthotels in the city, our Edinburgh teams know a thing or two about how best to celebrate Hogmanay. So, having picked their brains, we compiled this your ultimate guide to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. Slàinte!
What exactly is Hogmanay? Does it have something to do with hogs?!
No! Hogmanay has nothing to do with hogs, silly! It’s the traditional celebration of New Year’s in Scotland. Though in saying that, pigs are highly intelligent creatures. So who knows? Perhaps they have their own New Year’s Eve rituals…
Whatever you say! And tell me, what happens in Edinburgh for Hogmanay? I heard it’s quite the spectacular…
You heard right! Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is a fun-filled, three-day festival involving all kinds of events in venues large and small, indoors and out, across this gorgeous city.
Sounds great! Are the events free? Do I need tickets?
While there are some free and unticketed events, the majority of official events are not free and require tickets.
OK. Where do I get tickets and how far in advance should I book?
You can get tickets here on the official Edinburgh’s Hogmanay website. Many events sell out, so book as far in advance as possible.
What are the highlight events this year?
There are four major highlights of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2019 (all of which require tickets). These are…
1. Mark Ronson’s Hogmanay in the Gardens: This takes place on December 31st at 9pm and will see the Grammy Award-winning musician perform to thousands at a venue with spectacular views of the fireworks over Edinburgh Castle.
2. Torchlight Procession: This family-friendly event takes place on December 30th at 7pm, wherein a procession of pipers, drummers and firelight will flow through Edinburgh’s old town. Beautifully atmospheric, this is a joyful experience for young and old.
3. Cèilidh under the Castle: This is exactly what it says on the tin — a cèilidh under Edinburgh Castle! Always rollicking good fun, this year it kicks off at 8.30pm on New Year’s Eve. And for those who don’t know what a ‘cèilidh’ is, it’s a traditional Gaelic gathering of music and dance.
4. Street Party: This massive shindig begins at 7.30pm on New Year’s Eve. Happening mostly along Princes Street, this is an outdoors event, so ensure you dress appropriately (gentlemen — wear kilts at your peril during an Edinburgh winter!). It’s nice to note that 50p from every ticket for this event goes to the Brain Tumour Charity.
What about family-friendly events — anything I can bring the kiddies to?
Lots! Children are welcome at the aforementioned Torchlight Procession, and there are other events that are specifically arranged for families — for example, Bairns Afore on New Year’s Eve. Then there’s the likes of Loony Dook, a New Year’s Day institution where people dress up, march through the streets of South Queensferry and throw themselves in to the frosty Firth of Forth. While most kids won’t want to take the plunge, they’ll certainly enjoy the spectacle. Further to these big events, many restaurants, pubs, tourist attractions and cultural spaces host family-friendly events of their own too.
Isn’t there a big midnight firework display too?
Indeed there is. Using around six tonnes of fireworks, this goes off over Edinburgh Castle and is extremely impressive. It’s worth mentioning that Bairns Afore puts on a kid’s fireworks display earlier in the day too.
Where can I get the best views of the midnight fireworks?
The fireworks are shot from Edinburgh Castle, and designed primarily to be viewed from Princes Street Gardens where the Mark Ronson concert and cèilidh take place. However, you don’t have to be in the Gardens to enjoy decent views. Anywhere with a good view of the castle will suffice. Popular spots include North Bridge, the corner of Castle Street and George Street, and Calton Hill. Just make sure you get to your chosen viewing point early to secure the best spot!
Of course, there’s also our brand-new Wilde aparthotel in Grassmarket, whose prime position at the foot of the Castle affords incredible views of the fireworks. If you fancied, you could even ring in the New Year from the comfort of your own home from home and still feel like you’re in the thick of the Hogmanay celebrations! What’s not to love?!
OK, before I book my trip, do you have any other top Hogmanay tips to offer?
Sure! Stay tuned to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay official website for updates on this jam-packed schedule. All events are busy, so arrive early to avoid queues and get the best spots. Check the fine print for each event — many have rules around the likes of age admittance and what you’re allowed bring in (or not!), etc. But most of all, stay safe and have fun!
Planning a trip to Edinburgh for Hogmanay? Then stay with us! We have two gorgeous aparthotels at prime spots in the city to help you celebrate New Year in the utmost style and convenience. Firstly, there’s Staycity Aparthotels at West End. With its spacious studio, one and two-bedroom apartments, as well as four-bedroom townhouses, this aparthotel is particularly suitable if there’s a gang of you travelling. And then we have the aforementioned Wilde Aparthotels by Staycity in Grassmarket, whose incredible location at the foot of Edinburgh Castle affords those amazing views of the midnight fireworks display.