Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh

Oddly as someone who travels quite a fair bit, out of all of my years on earth I have always spent New Years Eve at home with my friends and family in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I had always dreamed of one day celebrating NYE in the craziness that is Times Square in New York or being one of the first to ring in the new year while watching the extravagant fireworks display off of the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. However I just hadn’t managed to knock any of these bucket list items or other NYE celebrations off of my list until this year.

downtown Edinburgh, Scotland and the Balmoral Hotel - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

A typical rainy day in lovely downtown Edinburgh, Scotland

I was invited on a trip known as #Blogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland to ring in the New Year at the amazing Hogmanay celebrations. Hogmanay is Scottish for New Years Eve and #Blogmanay is a trip that they have held the past couple of years inviting bloggers to the city to celebrate and promote the event. Bloggers + Hogmanay = #Blogmanay.

Shetland Vikings Carry torches during the torchlight procession - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

Shetland Vikings get ready to start the Torchlight Procession

Hogmanay is officially December 31st however the celebrations in the city begin the night before with the Torchlight Procession. This year over 10,000 people carrying burning torches led by the Shetland Vikings marched through the streets of Edinburgh through record breaking crowds of 40,000 people from the Royal Mile all the way to the top of Calton Hill.


As we walked the crowd was lead by a Scottish marching band, bagpipes and all. There was also music blasting through speakers all throughout the city, funnily enough most were fire themed songs, I can remember specifically hearing “Burn” by Ellie Goulding. The evening ended with one of many fireworks shows over the city.

cailin and vicky flipflop at the Edinburgh Christmas market - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

Vicky and I enjoying a ride on the ferris wheel at the Christmas Market

We had most of the 31st to sleep in and enjoy the city before the big party that night. A great thing about being in the city this time of year is that the Christmas Market lining Princes Street is still open as well with things to buy, rides to go on and all kinds of delicious Christmas Market food. I definitely took the opportunity to take the ferris wheel and enjoy some market eats during the daytime while celebrating Hogmanay.

Edinburgh's Hogomanay World Famous Street Party Guilty Pleasures stage - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Guilty Pleasures street party stage on NYE

At 9pm for us after an early dinner we hit the streets for the craziness that is Hogmanay. On the night of Hogmanay there are a few different ticketed events taking place across the city. For the more tamer crowd there is the Candlelit Concert at St. Giles Cathedral, then for the partiers there is the World Famous Street Party featuring four different stages across the city with various bands and DJs performing. By far our favourite stage of the evening was the Mound Stage with the theme of Guilty Pleasures where all night long we danced to songs from the 80’s and 90’s from the likes of the Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi and more.

Edinburgh's Hogomanay Old Town Ceilidh World record attempt strip the willow dance - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

A traditional Scottish band performs at the Ceilidh

Up off of High Street in Parliament Square is where this years traditional Ceilidh known as the Old Town Ceilidh was held full of Ceilidh dancing, food and drink. This year they attempted (and succeeded) to do a world record attempt for the world’s largest Strip the Willow dance. It was fun dancing around in circles with friends to traditional music.

Honeyblood perform in Princes Garden at the Garden concert in front of Edinburgh, Castle - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

The main stage and Garden Party concert take place in front of Edinburgh, Castle

The main event of the evening was the concert in the Princes Street Gardens, known of course as the Garden Party, which also happens to sell out the quickest each year (FYI). The headlining band was Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro, with special guests Scottish bands Idlewild and Honeyblood. They put on a huge show leading up to and after the big count down at midnight.

Hogmanay New Years Eve fireworks in front of Edinburgh Castle - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

An amazing fireworks display over the Edinburgh Castle

This was by far the perfect setting to celebrate Hogmanay and ring in 2016. Not only was it beautiful taking place under the stunning Edinburgh Castle but the weather was also great and it was quite literally my favourite NYE celebration of my life. I got to celebrate it at this amazing event, in a city I love with some great new friends and cheap wine possibly hidden in my purse. What’s not to love?

Idlewild singer Roddy Woomble sings at the Scot-Lands music festival - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

Idlewild lead singer Roddy Woomble (left) performs an acoustic set at Scot:Lands

I woke up late in the morning the next day, January 1st, possibly hungover and running late to get to the last exciting event of the Hogmanay celebrations, the music festival known as Scot:Lands. Hands down Scot:Lands was the COOLEST music festival that I have ever attended and I wish it had been longer than just an afternoon.

Scot-Lands music festival venue destination spin wheel - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

Spin for your next destination at Scot:Lands

Let me explain why it is so special. Everyone who has tickets for Scot:Lands arrives at a specified destination at one of two ticket times. Once they arrive they wait in line to spin a wheel that tells them what concert / music event / venue they are going to. They are then sent somewhere around the Old Town in the city to see various musicians and artists perform. Once they are done with that venue, they exit and spin another wheel for their next destination. With a total of 12 different destinations, and never knowing where you might be headed next it makes for a fun afternoon and very unique experience. You might even be surprised at some of the artists you get to see. One venue you in particular had the lead singer from Idlewild doing an acoustic gig that many people were excited about.

cailin and vicky flipflop at the torchlight procession - Hogmanay New Years Eve Celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland

I had an amazing time in Edinburgh celebrating Hogmanay. I would definitely do it again and highly recommend that others ring in the new year in this amazing city with this great celebration. Just make sure you book your tickets to the events and accommodations as far ahead of time as possible and don’t forget your rain jacket!

To learn more about Hogmanay watch my video highlights!

#Blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by ETAG, EventScotland, VisitScotland, Year of Food and Drink, Edinburgh Festivals, the Scottish Government, Marketing Edinburgh, Rabbies Tours, Arnold Clarke Van and Car Hire and co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced by Unique Events. As always, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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  • Reply
    Noah de la croix
    November 9, 2018 at 11:15 am

    This year I am going to Hogmanay with Stoke Travel. I never visited Scotland before, so I am looking forward to it!

    • Reply
      December 9, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      Awesome! You will have a great time!

  • Reply
    February 23, 2016 at 5:12 am

    Wow, looks great! I stay in Scotland and have never been through to Edinburgh for new year!!!

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