What to expect at Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Hogmanay is one of those bucket list festivals, that everyone should go to at least once in their lives.

If you’re heading along, this blog is all about what to expect at Hogmanay in Edinburgh.


So let me quickly recap:

For the end of year holidays, I travelled to London for a Kiwi Expat Christmas, and then flew up to Edinburgh (wahoo, first time in Scotland) for their amazing Hogmanay, New Year Celebrations!

It was pretty incredible, and so I thought I’d share a bit of a ‘Hogmanay 101’ , so you know how it all goes down…


What is Hogmanay?

‘Hogmanay’ is the name for New Years in Scotland (note: all of Scotland, not just Edinburgh)

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party is one of the world’s greatest New Year celebrations in the world, and is the only festival to appear in the ‘Discovery Channel – Top 25 World Travel Experiences’.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is made up of 3 days of events, with various attractions, food stalls, musicians entertaining crowds from all over the globe.




Torchlight Procession

This is possibly my favourite part of the whole Hogmanay festival!

On the first night of Hogmanay, the streets are filled with thousands of torch carriers, marching through the night, lighting the main streets of Edinburgh with their fire. They are led by a crew of Vikings, and march to the sounds of traditional Scottish music.

It looks and sounds SO cool.



New Years Eve

Like most places, the biggest party of Hogmanay is on New Years Eve night – and as such, it’s this part of the festival that you need tickets for.

But they’re not super expensive and the streets are BYO alcohol (brilliant) which makes the night very cost-effective (although alcohol in the UK is hardly very cost-effective in general).

The street party is a lot of fun, with pop up fair rides, food stalls, music stages and partiers all around.




Midnight Traditions

While tradition in Spain is to eat 12 grapes as the bell strikes midnight, in Scotland as the bells strikes midnight, friends join hands and sing a traditional Scottish song, Auld Lang Syne.

I don’t think most people really know what they’re singing, I for one was just saying ‘Old Land Zine’ and then mumbling through the rest, but it’s good fun and everyone gets into it.

And then of course, fireworks. Love fireworks.





Because of the HUGE number of Kiwi’s & Aussie’s already living in the UK, it’s only natural that there are thousands of us at Hogmanay.

For this reason, and because Kiwis & Aussies are notorious drunks drinkers… many bars also countdown the New Year at the exact same time as our home countdowns. So due to time zones, we were able to  the dawn of 2015 three times… (could have even been more if we did all the Aussie Timezones)


So that was Hogmanay!

It was a great time and I highly recommend it – not just because its SO much fun but also because, holy macaroni, Edinburgh is freaking beautiful!!! 

But more on this in a later post…


What were your New Years plans? Have you ever been to Hogmanay or Edinburgh before?

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