There is nowhere quite like Edinburgh when it comes to throwing an end-of-year party. Hogmanay 2018 promises to be the loudest and liveliest celebration yet, with amazing, eclectic events lined up to bid farewell to 2017 and see in the new year.
For the uninitiated, let’s briefly rewind and explain what Hogmanay is! It is the Scottish word for the last day on the calendar, and is inextricably linked to the parties that welcome the next year.
And you know that song, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, that you probably sing every time December 31st comes around? Well, that started out as a Hogmanay custom! The poem penned by the revered Robert Burns has evolved into one of the most instantly-recognisable sing-alongs, delivered by groups of people with their arms linked in the seconds leading up to midnight.
Of course, the Scots insist that arms should only be linked for the final verse, to fit in with the lyrics of the song, but when that much Prosecco has been consumed nobody is going to protest too much, are they?
Edinburgh revellers are in for a treat this year, with a memorable mix of fun, fireworks, concerts and dancing on the agenda. Read on for our guide to what’s on in Edinburgh for Hogmanay 2018.
Torchlight Procession at North Bridge, South Bridge, and St Giles Street
December 30, 2017, from 7pm
Edinburgh’s New Year celebrations get started on December 30, and what better way to set the tone than with a captivating torchlight procession, which you can either join or simply observe. From its three starting points, it will head down the Royal Mile towards Holyrood Park before the eagerly-anticipated fireworks climax.
To tee up the launch of Scotland’s Year of Young People in 2018, the procession will end with the torches displaying ‘#ScotWord’. You can volunteer to be part of the word, be a torch bearer, or just find a comfortable spot and watch the beautiful lights.
Bairns Afore at West Princes Street Gardens
December 31, 2017, from 5pm
A brand-new addition to Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Bairns Afore is for the whole family! It is a chance to celebrate with the kids ‘afore’ they go to bed, when they are sure to dream about the mind-blowing fireworks and entertainment they have just witnessed!
An hour of performances on the main stage in West Princes Street Gardens by a series of leading entertainers will be followed by the fizzing fireworks over Edinburgh Castle. Not to be missed!
Street Party at Edinburgh Castle
December 31, 2017, from 7pm
Let the good times roll. When the doors swing open at 7pm, joyous party lovers will make their way to the three stages at the castle – as well as the stages on Princes Street – for a night of fire eaters, acrobats, dancers, street performers, bands and DJs, hosted by Still Game star Sanjeev Kohli.
Midnight fireworks at this breath-taking venue will provide the ultimate crescendo to get 2018 underway in true Edinburgh style.
Concert in Princes Street Gardens
December 31, 2017, from 9pm
It is perhaps fitting that Rag’n’Bone Man, one of the breakout international artists of 2017, will see the year out in style by headlining the Hogmanay concert in Princes Street Gardens. A festival ticket will secure a place for both the gig and the fireworks at midnight.
You can watch it all unfold from either side of the main enclosure on the grassy banks. Tickets include access to bars at the side of the stage, toilet facilities, and food stalls. Double-Brit Award winner Rag’n’Bone Man will be ably supported by Declan McKenna and Edinburgh’s very own Nina Nesbitt.
Loony Dook in the River Forth
January 1, 2018, from 11am
It has been said that they do things a bit differently in Edinburgh, and there is perhaps no finer example of that than the Loony Dook tradition, which sees brave (if brave is the right word!) souls get the New Year started with a dive into the River Forth! Often done in fancy dress, the whacky pastime is a way of raising vital funds for good causes.
Participants embark on a walk of the High Street in the Dooker Parade before throwing themselves into the water. There are loads of spots nearby and on the beach for people who want to show their support, while the pubs and eateries of South Queensferry are open all day.
For Edinburgh Hogmanay ticket information, visit: https://www.edinburghshogmanay.com/