Hogmanay is one of Edinburgh’s biggest celebrations of the year. For three straight days Scotland’s capital turns into one giant stage with raucous street parties, music, cultural festivities, not to mention a couple quirky traditions thrown in for good measure.
Having attended this year, take a look at the following tips and recommendations to help you make the most of your Hogmanay trip.
Sign up for ticket sales notification – Tickets for the Hogmanay street party are released in the summer, so to ensure you don’t miss out sign up for the notification emails at the Hogmanay main website. This will ensure you also don’t miss out on the opportunity to purchase tickets for other events during the Hogmanay period.
Do your research – In addition to the street party, Edinburgh has a wide range of events taking place throughout the city during the New Year weekend. Most events, even the free ones, are ticketed, so make sure you read up on the different events available and book your tickets as soon as they go on sale.
Get a head start on your accommodation – This busy season means hotels and other holiday accommodation will take advantage and set their prices through the roof. If you are going with a group, it is best to book as early as possible to ensure you have somewhere to stay that won’t empty your wallet. On the other hand, you can take a chance and wait till the last minute if you are travelling alone or with someone else – some properties might add last-minute cancellations back online for a cheaper price.
Collect your tickets early – In order to enter any of the events at Hogmanay, you must present your ticket or wristband, which can be collected at the ticket desk if you choose not to have it posted to you. While the queue moves quickly, you might find yourself queuing with hundreds of other people if you leave it too late. Try to arrive at the office first thing in the morning, or just before it closes, to avoid the queues.
Arrive early – With the festive season being the busiest time of the year, undoubtedly delays or cancelled flights can happen and make you miss out on the fun. Try to book your travel a day earlier than the events you booked to ensure any disruptions to your travel plans don’t ruin your entire Hogmanay experience. Worst comes to worst, you have an extra day to explore Edinburgh!
Beware the wax – The torchlight procession is one of the highlights of Hogmanay, with thousands of people flooding Edinburgh’s streets to the sound of fireworks and music, not to mention the calls of Vikings (!!). Thousands of candles being waved around in the air only results in one thing though (besides an obvious fire hazard) – a downpour of scalding, melted wax. Forget the fancy coat and clothes at home, and instead take some outerwear you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
Bundle up – While you might want to ring the new year in with a fancy new frock, the Hogmanay street party is not the place do it. Spending hours outside in the middle of scottish winter with only a thin layer on means you will only ring the new year in with hypothermia. Pack a warm coat and winter accessories, and just focus on having fun rather than worrying about what you look like.
Book a table for dinner – Want to try traditional scottish fare? Then make sure you book a table in advance on New Year’s day. Restaurants fill up fast, particularly on the Royal Mile and Old Town, and if your schedule is packed with events and activities, then booking a table is all the more important.
Shut up Shop – Despite Hogmanay being one of Edinburgh’s busiest times, many of its smaller museums and tourist attractions shut over the Christmas period. Check in advance whether a particular attraction is open to avoid disappointment.
Have you got any tips or experiences to share about Hogmanay? Post them below!