Hogmanay, Edinburgh Travel Guide

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Hogmanay, Edinburgh Travel Guide

Hogmanay is a three-day annual event held at the end of each year in Edinburgh and is one of Scotland’s most celebrated traditions. Hogmanay derives from the Viking era when Norse invaders indulged in wild parties in late December to celebrate the winter solstice. The celebrations begin with a torch-lit parade on the 29th December and the festivities are marked with elaborate firework displays, events and music performances that continue until New Year’s Day. Scotland can be reached by ferry via our Amsterdam to Newcastle route, avoiding the drive up through England from the Channel port at Dover.

Header image credit: Alasdair

The Hogmanay

Getting there

The Hogmanay celebrations take place in the heart of Edinburgh and there are plenty of transport options available. From DFDS’ port in Newcastle, you can reach Edinburgh in around 2 and a half hours by car via the A1, making it the closest UK port to Edinburgh. Newcastle can be reached via the ferry from Amsterdam, a relaxing overnight journey of approximately 16 hours.

How to get to Hogmanay

How to get to Hogmanay

The main celebrations take place in the city centre which can be reached easily by car and public transport. Edinburgh operates an excellent bus service that can help you make your way around the city, there are also as well as tram links and taxi services.

Image credit: Michael Curi

Fireworks in Hogmanay

Where to Stay

Hogmanay takes place in what is known as peak season for Edinburgh’s hospitality industry and for this reason it is wise to pre-book accommodation well before making a trip. The main Hogmanay celebrations take place in the city centre at locations such as West Princes Street Gardens and Carlton Hill. If you want to be in the thick of the action, look for hotels nearby some of Edinburgh’s main attractions such as the castle. The Royal Mile and Grassmarket have some beautiful and luxurious accommodation options. If you are looking for more affordable lodgings, a self-catering apartment on the outskirts of the city centre may be a more suitable option.

Hogmanay in Edinburgh

The Hogmanay celebrations begin with the Torchlight Procession that runs from Princes Street to Carlton Hill. A spectacular firework display marks the start of the New Year’s Eve festivities followed by an elaborate street party that attracts thousands of visitors.

As part of the festivities, The Loony Dook involves a dip in the icy cold water and takes place at Firth of Forth at South Queensferry, just outside of the city, on New Year’s Day. The event attracts 80,000 people each year and highlights include the Candlelit Concert at St Giles Cathedral and the Concert in the Gardens.

Also, don’t miss out on the tongue-in-cheek events happening around the city on New Year’s Day such as Dogmanay, which sees dog sleds racing across Holyrood Park. There is also a triathlon for those who are feeling fresh and want to start the year on a healthy note.

So where does the tradition come from? For the Scots, it has long been a tradition to fill the streets with people and celebrate the year’s end and they have always put more importance on New Year’s Eve than they have on Christmas Day. Today, Hogmanay is one of the most popular winter festivals around.

Image credit: This is Edinburgh