Travel Edinburgh During Hogmanay

13/05/2016 Off By Emma Gray

Hogmanay Celebrations

I’ve celebrated Hogmanay (the Scottish word for new years) in Edinburgh before, but never made it to the world famous street party. Hogmanay in Edinburgh is actually a festival which takes place over three days, beginning on the 30th with the torchlight procession, and ending on the 1st January with a whole host of events throughout the city.The three days of celebrations are surely a testament to the fact us Scots simply love a party, and nobody else does it quite as well as we do! If you are planning to travel Edinburgh, this time of the year is certainly the time to do it!

There are three different parts to the Hogmanay festivities on new years eve itself – the Keilidh, the Concert in the Gardens and the street party. We had a pretty spectacular aerial view of the street party from the Press Centre so we didn’t spend too much time outside in this part. What we saw from above though was a great atmosphere, people in high spirits and exciting entertainment. Certainly, if you choose to travel Edinburgh at this time of year, there’s certainly some sort of festivity to cater for all manner of tastes.

The Keilidh

Being with a big group of bloggers from around the world, they were understandably keen to experience some of the Keilidh. Ceilidh’s involve traditional Scottish dancing, in couples or in groups, live Scottish music and a lot of men in kilts! I learned ceilidh dancing at school (it was part of our PE classes!) so it comes easily to me, but I loved seeing the confused faces of first timers from around the world trying to keep up with these fast paced, lively dances! The best part about a ceilidh is that whether you’re good or bad at it, you can’t help but smile as everyone gives it a darn good try! If you choose to travel Edinburgh you have to immerse yourself in this traditional Scottish dance!

The Concert in the Gardensou

This was a part of Hogmanay that I was really looking forward to when I chose to travel Edinburgh. With great bands such as Bwani Junction, The View and Simple Minds performing in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, perched atop an extinct volcano. The bands were great and it wasn’t too busy, so it was easy to get up close to the stage and get a great view…

The Fireworks

The fireworks were one of my favourite parts of the Hogmanay celebrations. After seeing the fireworks the previous night during the spectacular torchlight procession I was definitely looking forward to them.

And I wasn’t disappointed!

When the canon is fired to signify that it’s midnight and the start of a new year (!!) the fireworks begin to shimmer before your eyes. They were so beautiful we all waited until they were finished to wish each other happy new year! They were by far the best fireworks I’ve ever seen! Indeed many who have chosen to travel Edinburgh at New Year have commended the dramatic and truly unforgettable firework displays.

My favourite part of the whole evening was still to come though…

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and auld lang syne!”

Auld Lang Syne is the song us Scots traditionally sing after midnight to welcome in the new year. It was written by Robert Burns and literally means ‘for the sake of old times’. Seeing thousands of people link arms and sing (or attempt to!) at the top of their voices was both a humbling and exciting experience.

For me, it summed up the Scottish new year experience. Everyone is friendly, it’s something Scottish people are known for, and we have a great passion for life, and to see that infectious energy being shared amongst thousands of Scottish people and visitors from around the world was something pretty special.

It really was the perfect way to welcome in the new year and it was definitely the best hogmanay experience I’ve ever had. If you’re considering to travel Edinburgh for Hogmanay next year then DO IT! It might be cold, it might be wet, but that’s Scotland. Embrace it and enjoy it!

Choose to travel Edinburgh at Hogmanay and immerse yourself in an array of Scottish tradition, culture and celebration!

Emma shares all of her travel adventures, tips and advice on her two websites Emma’s Travel Tales and Emma On Board, as well as writing for a number of other online publications. She has also partnered with many large companies and tourism boards around the world. She’s busy making memories around the world…