Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival is one of the world’s most famous New Year’s Eve celebrations, and something everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. It’s a great event to celebrate with all of your loved ones – kids will love the dazzling fireworks shows, while the adults can enjoy taking part in some fun Scottish traditions.
Take part in the Torchlight Procession
The official opening event of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is the impressive Torchlight Procession. Thousands of locals and visitors march through the cobbled streets of the city carrying burning torches to create a ‘river of fire’, which culminates in the lighting of the Bonfire and Fire Elements, followed by a sound and light show and awe-inspiring firework display. The torches cost £12 and it’s recommended for parties of up to four people to carry one torch; also perfect for families. It’s safe too, as the torchbearer is provided with safety guards to protect from dripping wax. If you don’t want to march, you can still watch the spectacle from the designated spots on the sidewalk, then get in prime position to watch the NYE fireworks.
Count down to the Midnight Moment
This year will feature four fireworks displays with a special family event at 9pm, then every hour until the clock strikes 12am. The famous Midnight Moment will then light up the sky from both Calton Hill and the iconic Edinburgh Castle. If you’ve managed to stay awake until midnight, you can also join in on the world’s largest rendition of the classic New Year song, Auld Lang Syne. It’s an incredible bonding moment as people of all ages join hands and sing together. There are many vantage points scattered throughout the city and it’s free for everyone to enter – just get in quick if you want a good spot!
Get crafty at Sprogmanay
From 30 December to 1 January, kids can take part in Sprogmanay, a series of dedicated children’s events at The National Museum of Scotland. Bring the family and spend the day taking part in arts and crafts, listening to live music and storytelling, and even meeting some real life Vikings! Pick up a special Hogmanay Map Trail that tells you fun facts about Edinburgh and Scottish traditions, then make some mini lanterns for your own indoor Torchlight Procession. All events are completely free and unticketed, and The National Museum of Scotland is fully accessible with buggy parking, baby changing rooms and lifts.
Tuck into a good meal
If you don’t think you can last all night, refuel at one of Edinburgh’s family-friendly restaurants. La Favorita is a popular Italian eatery where you can find one of the best pizzas in all of Scotland. You’re sure to find something to please – there’s everything from pizza and pasta to meat and seafood. Hemma is another failsafe option – this spacious eatery has a top-rated brunch. There is also a foosball table and play area to keep the kids occupied, should you bring the family.
Watch the crazies at Stoats Loony Donk!
The Stoats Loony Donk is without a doubt the weirdest (and most wonderful) part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. On 1 January, thousands of revellers welcome in the New Year by jumping into the freezing water of the River Forth for a refreshing dip! It’s not complete insanity though – the proceeds from tickets go to charity, so it’s all for a good cause. We don’t blame you if you don’t want to join in though, but it’s well worth coming down to South Queensferry to watch the ‘Dookers’ get dunked while you stay nice and warm!