Hogmanay Tours & Trips
If you want to take part in one of the world’s most happening and passionate New Year’s celebrations, then Hogmanay Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland is the place to be. The three day extravaganza brings together amazing music, incredible events, and attendees from all over the world.
Typical Hogmanay Traditions
Torchlight ProcessionThe spectacular Torchlight Procession kicks off the festival each year. You will illuminate the city with tens of thousands of fellow torch carriers while making your way from the city centre to the firework finale. Be sure to purchase a torch voucher in advance to guarantee your own torch. But hurry, they sell out quickly each year. Your voucher can be exchanged for a torch on the afternoon prior to the procession at West Parliament Square. This event is outdoors and the torches are wax-based. It is important to take care and dress appropriately.
Candlelit Concert at St. Giles’ CathedralHave a hankering for traditional Baroque music? Then start your New Year’s Eve off at the St. Giles’ Cathedral’s Candlelit Concert for a celebration of Baroque music. Enjoy the marvellous works of renowned composers like Vivaldi and Bach, with the program changing and updating every year.
Street PartyJoin the world-renowned Hogmanay Street Party, where hundreds of thousands of party goers gather on Prince Street in the city centre to ring in the New Year. The Street Party is booming with DJs, live bands and glee. The event’s four stages have something for every musical taste, from traditional to alternative music. Prepare for your breath to be taken away by the stunning Edinburgh Castle which serves as the party’s backdrop. Firework displays illuminate the skies over the castle every hour beginning at 9 pm, leading up to the finale display at the stroke of midnight. This is followed by Scotland’s most famous song—Auld Lang Syne.
Concert in the GardensConcert in the Gardens is yet another way to ring in the New Year at Hogmanay, and features incredible live music at the West Princes Street Gardens. This is also an excellent venue for watching the firework display over Edinburgh Castle. Past performers included Scotland’s very own Biffy Clyro.
Old Town CeilidhIf you want to get a little more traditional and don your favourite kilt, join the Old Town Ceilidh for traditional ceilidh dancing, music, food and drinks. This event takes place in Edinburgh’s Old Town at the corner of High Street and Parliament Square. Hogmanay isn’t complete without attending the final festival fling on January 1st, typically held between 5pm to 6:30pm in the Grand Hall of the National Museum of Scotland. Enjoy fabulous music and the calling of the dancing. Tickets are free but capacity is limited, so book early!
The Loony DookIf you’re looking to thoroughly refresh after a night of partying, participate in the annual Loony Dook where thousands take a dip in the freezing River Forth on New Year’s Day to raise tens of thousands of pounds for UK charities. To fully get into the spirit, join the Dooker Parade through High Street right before dunking in the river. After taking the plunge, warm up with some delicious eats, and get your paparazzi on at the fancy dress photo stage.
Popular Hogmanay Tours
Where is Hogmanay celebrated?
Hogmanay is celebrated in Edinburgh, Scotland, and packed with loads of events over the three day period from concerts, to parades and lively parties. The most difficult part of Hogmanay will be deciding which of all the many magnificent events you want to partake in! While there are so many to choose from, the prime event remains the Street Party bash on New Year’s Eve.
What does Hogmanay mean?
The origins of the word Hogmanay are unclear, however, the use of the word itself dates back thousands of years ago with roots in French, Gaelic and even Norse language. As for the way it is actually celebrated, it's understood that Hogmanay traditions were introduced to the country by the invading Vikings in the early 8th and 9th centuries.
What is the history of Hogmanay?
They say that the Hogmanay festivities were first brought to Scotland by the invading Vikings in the early 8th and 9th centuries. The event celebrated the passing of the shortest day of the year, otherwise known as Winter Solstice, and featured some intense partying even then. The Hogmanay Festival evolved as an informal street party which began to be formally organized in 1993.
What are the traditional foods of Hogmanay?
Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year’s Eve celebration, is one giant party that everyone should experience at some point in their lives. But, it’s the food that really makes this festival come alive, and your Scottish experience wouldn’t be complete without some heart-warming scran. The must-try foods include haggis with a side of neeps and tatties, steak pie, buttery shortbread cookies, black bun (similar to fruitcake), and some traditional whiskey to wash it all down.
- Purchase tickets early to secure your spot at the various events, especially the Street Party
- Book accommodations near the festival (ideally in the vicinity of Prince Street)
- Dress appropriately for winter as most of the fun is had outdoors
- The Street Party is a crowded, all-standing outdoor event so wear flat, closed toed shoes
- There is no entry into the Street Party or Concert in the Gardens after 11 pm, so don’t be late
- Separate tickets are required for the various events
- Learn the lyrics to Auld Land Syne so you can sing along at midnight
- This is not a one night party, instead, you can and should attend many events over the 3 day period
- Download the event’s full program and bring it with you
- Try Scotland’s national drink—whiskey!
- Extend your stay to check out some of Scotland’s other attractions like the Highlands