Hogmanay in Edinburgh – you might know it better as New Year’s Eve celebrations – is an incredible experience and a very good reason to visit Scotland during the winter time. Fireworks and events turn the streets of Edinburgh into a giant party zone for three days – while other Scottish cities also celebrate Hogmanay, no one does it quite like Edinburgh!
Here, Hogmanay is not just one evening, it is a three-day festival that attracts over 70,000 people every year. Fasten your seatbelt and prepare for the party of the year – here is everything you need to know to do it right at Hogmanay in Edinburgh.
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I spent my first Hogmanay in Edinburgh in 2016 – in fact, it was my first New Year’s Eve partying out on the streets in a very long time. Usually, I prefer to escape the city to a lonely glen with friends or join a gathering at someone’s house to count down to the new year away from the bustling city centre. But not this time. Hogmanay in Edinburgh would be an excellent way to celebrate the end of a fantastic year in Scotland and promised to bring some light into a typically dull Scottish winter.
In 2023, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay takes place from Friday, 29 December 2023 – Monday, 1 January 2024.
Table of Contents
Getting to Edinburgh & Where to Stay
I had arrived in Edinburgh from Glasgow by train a day before the festivities would begin – that gave me the opportunity to get settled, check out the Christmas markets and prepare for the next few days in the city. However, it doesn’t hurt to arrive even earlier, because there nothing quite like Christmas in Edinburgh!
I had booked a hotel in the city centre, near St Andrew Square in the New Town. The ibis Styles St Andrew Square was a perfect choice because it was nearby the main locations of the Hogmanay festival as well as the Christmas markets at Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square, but at the same time much quieter than hotels along the Royal Mile or other Old Town locations.
Another great option in this area is Hotel Indigo where I stayed on a previous trip. It is slightly more up-market than Ibis Styles, with more focus on a design experience.
Finally, if you want to be in the middle of it all, check out Safestay Edinburgh, a hostel in the Old Town where the party might continue all night and morning!
Edinburgh Hogmanay 2023 Festival Events
Hogmanay 2023 is made up of a series of events that take place at different venues across four festival days. This includes live music concerts, spectacular fireworks, the legendary Street Party at Princes Street Gardens and lots of family events.
Torchlight Procession: Fri, 29 December 2023
Every year, the Torchlight Procession through Edinburgh is led by the iconic Up Helly Aa Jarl’s Squad from Shetland. The islanders are dressed in Viking costumes in preparation for their own series of fire festivals held throughout January – find out more about Up Helly Aa in Lerwick here.
In 2023, the procession runs from the Meadows through the historic Old Town of Edinburgh. Over 20,000 people join the annual seel-out event and help to raise money for charity.
Tickets are available here for £20 which includes a charitable donation.
Night Afore Disco Party: Sat, 30 December 2023
This glittering pop glamour party kicks of the festvities at the festival zone inside Princes Street Gardens. The event features performances by ABBA-inspired Björn Again, Massaoke and DJ Ewen Cameron from Greatest Hits Radio.
Tickets available here from £30.
Ho-Ho-Hogmanay: Sat, 30 Demceber 2023
A night of side-splitting stand-up comedy at the Assembly Rooms with sets from some of Scotland’s best comics. The evening is hosted by and features comedy from Fred MacAulay, Larry Dean and Susie McCabe.
Tickets are available here for £25.
Night Afore Hoolie: Sat, 30 December 2023
An evening of Scottish Folk, Soul and Americana with Edinburgh’s very own Blue Rose Code, backed by Caley Soul Band and performances by special guests.
Tickest are available here for £30.
Bairns New Year Revels: Sun, 31 December 2023
This year, Edinburgh is hosting a family-friendly Hogmanay event with live music, singing and ceilidh dancing. Music will be provided by Massaoke and the Sensational Jimi Shandrix Experience
Tickets are available here for £17.50 for adults and £14.50 for children
Candlelit Concert at St Giles Cathedral: Sun, 31 December 2023
A concert at St Giles Cathedral is a spectacular experience. This year’s Candlelit Hogmanay Concert stars the St Giles’ Cathedral Choir who are joined by a stunning array of talented young soloists. The musicians will perform first three cantatas from J.S.Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
Tickest are available here for £22.50
Street Party: Sun, 31 December 2023
The Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party turns 30! Set against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, the street party transforms the historic city centre of Edinburgh into an open air festival zone.
From 9 pm until after midnight there will be street performers, pipers, and funfair attractions entertaining the crowds. There are also street food and drinks stalls throughout the arena.
The Concert in the Gardens will be broadcast on giant screens in the Pop Zone. The Tartan Zone features a stage with music from trad pionieers like Elephant Sessions and the Disco Zone invites with a silent disco adventure.
Tickets are available here for £28.50 (local discount available); the SIlent Disco is an additional £7.50
Concert In the Garden: Sun, 31 December 2023
This year’s special line-up features PULP, who will be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their first live show in Edinburgh
Tickets are available here from £72.50
Fireworks: 31 December 2023
As someone who absolutely loves fireworks I was happy to find out that there is not only the main firework at midnight, the Midnight Moment, but also smaller displays of colourful fireworks every full hour leading up to the bells starting at 9 pm. That’s not only one, but four fireworks for the countdown to the new year!
Family-friendly Events on Monday, 1 January 2023
- First Footin’: The First Footing is a Scottish tradition on New Year’s Day and refers to the “first foot” through your door – i.e. the first people to visit you in the new year. First Footin’ features a programme of free live music and performances in venues all over Edinburgh’s city centre. Find out more here.
- Sprogmanay: Sprogmanay is a free afternoon event for kids at the National Museum of Scotland featuring performances and musical activities for the whole family. Find out more here.
- Sprogmanay Family Ceilidh: Join the party at the Sprogmanay Family Ceilidh with the Fruin Ceilidh Band. Find out more here.
More 2023 Hogmanay events
These are just the official events of the Hogmanay festival in Edinburgh. Here are some alternative events to put in the calendar:
- Hogmanay with the Mad Ferret Band at Stramash (from 11 pm; £15 + booking fee)
- Boozy Does Hogmanay party at Boozy Cow (£15 + booking fee)
- New Year’s Eve Dinner at Contini George Street featuring a six-course Italian tasting menu and live music until midnight (£150 per person)
- Hogmanay Gala Night with Vegas and Rat Pack tribute act, Gavin Paul, at Dine – incl. champagne, canapes and a four-course menu (£165 per person)
- Hogmanay Dinner at The Bonham, a four-course menu to enjoy before the bells – note that the restaurant closes at 11 pm (£79 per person)
Top tips for Edinburgh Hogmanay
- Wear warm and comfortable clothes. If you attend the Street Party or the Concert in the Gardens for Hogmanay, chances are that you will spend many hours outside. Some of the events require you to turn up before a certain time to make sure the run-up to the bells doesn’t become chaotic. I like packing my hand warmers and a pair of fleece-lined or thermal tights.
- Don’t bring any alcohol in glass bottles or over 500 ml. You are not allowed to bring your own booze into the event arenas. Note, that your bags might be checked.
- Plan plenty of time to reach your destination. Even if they all appear super close on the map, there are so many people in the streets, it will take much longer to get from A to B than usually.
- Grab your best friends. I did Hogmanay in Edinburgh solo and had a great time, but to be honest, it really is the kind of festival you should experience with a whole bunch of your best friends!
Festive Things to do in Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s Christmas Market
Coming from Austria, I do love a good Christmas market and while I think nothing is as good as the ones back home in Vienna, Edinburgh’s Christmas Market at Princes Street Gardens is a fantastic experience.
There are fun activities like ice-skating and bumper cars, family-friendly rides and carousels, and also more thrilling experiences like a roller coaster or the big wheel. The food stalls range from sweet Belgian waffles to traditional German sausages, and of course all the mulled wine and cider you can drink. There are also plenty of vegan options available!
Edinburgh’s Christmas runs from Friday, 17 November 2023 to Saturday, 6 January 2024, so you’ve got plenty of time to indulge in Edinburgh’s Christmas spirit even after the holidays.
You might also like: The best Winter festivals and Christmas markets in Scotland
Edinburgh Hogmanay Travel Guide
Getting to Edinburgh | Edinburgh Airport is just a few miles away from the city centre. You can catch the Airport Bus or Tram, or get a taxi into town (around £30). If you plan to arrive by train, I recommend booking your ticket in advance and reserving a seat!
Where to Stay in Edinburgh | During Hogmanay, hotels in Edinburgh can be really expensive and hard to come by – you should book your accommodation FAR in advance! I’ve summed up my favourite hotels in Edinburgh for every budget here, but can highly recommend the ibis Styles at St Andrew Square as mentioned above.
Getting around Edinburgh | Edinburgh is a very walkable city, but you can get buses for longer distances. Taxis can be a bit expensive, but there is also Uber!
Other Things to Do in Edinburgh | If the Hogmanay festivities are not enough for you, you can add a few days of sightseeing to your itinerary! Check out my Edinburgh articles for inspiration!
Hogmanay Dinner in Edinburgh | Many restaurants are open on New Year’s Eve or offer special Hogmanay dinner events. It is common that restaurants offer a set meal during the festive period, so make sure you enquire about that when you book.
Hogmanay Parties in Edinburgh | The official Hogmanay 2023 festivities are not the only way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh. Many bars and clubs throw their own Hogmanay parties with DJs and often live music – check the local events platforms to find info and tickets!
You might also like: 2 days in Edinburgh – an itinerary for your city break
Hogmanay in Edinburgh is one of those experiences you should have at least once in your life, so put this festival on your bucket list and plan your trip to Edinburgh soon!
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