I have spent New Years Eve in many places and cities already, but by far my most favourite place to celebrate the end of the year is Edinburgh’s Hogamany Festival! I’ve been there both past two years and even consider coming back this year again. And if you are looking for a great place to celebrate New Years, don’t look any longer, cause here are my 10 reasons why Edinburgh is the best city to spent New Years Eve!
1. It’s not only a one night event!
In Scotland people celebrate a huge festival called Hogmanay which is taking place the days around New Years. That means people not only celebrate on the actual day of New Years Eve, but almost a whole week! There are lots of activities taking place during that time in Edinburgh and you’ll sure be entertained really well! And this is, I believe, the true way of saying good bye to the past year and welcoming the new year ahead!
2. Not only one firework but many!
Because of Hogmanay and all the activities surrounding this festival, there is not only the casual fireworks happening on the actual New Years Eve, but many many more! There is one huge firework the day before New Years Eve and there are several fireworks on the actual day of New Years Eve, making it even more exciting until the actual fireworks start at midnight!
3. Greatest fireworks scenery ever!
And just imagine that: an old castle upon a hill, being enlighten in different colours and then….fireworks above it! Yes, you’ve read it correctly. The fireworks on New Years Eve are displayed above Edinburgh’s old castle! And this is the most amazing fireworks scenery I’ve ever seen so far in my life! It will blow your mind!
4. It’s more than fireworks, it’s a street party!
And New Years Eve in Edinburgh is more than just stunning fireworks above an ancient castle, it’s a whole freaking party! Several stages are set up around the city centre and popular bands, singers and DJs are invited to play! The biggest and most popular is the Concert in the Gardens where, this year, Lilly Allen was the major act. But there is also a very Scottish stage where Scottish music is played and people dance the Ceilidh (Kaylee) together, a traditional Scottish dance – and it’s so much fun!
5. Torchlight procession
On the day before News Years Eve, the 30. of December, a torchlight procession is taking place. I guess you have no idea what this is and what it looks like, but let me help you: in the evening of that day, thousands of people gather together and walk through Edinburgh’s city centre with torchlights in their hands! The crowd is lead by a marching band, followed by a crowd of Wikings (yes, Wikings!) carrying really large torchlights in their hands and screaming, well, like you probably can imagine: loud as hell and with a lot of passion in their voice!
The processions starts near the Royal Mile, crosses The Mound, then turns on Princes Street and proceeds all the way up to Carlton Hill! Up there a huge fire is lit up by the Wikings’ torches and all people gather to watch fantastic fireworks above Carlton Hill and its monuments. My absolute personal highlight throughout the whole week of Hogmanay celebrations!
6. Start your new year crazy as hell!
And if the end to the old year wasn’t crazy enough, well, why don’t you start the new year even crazier?! In Edinburgh you get the perfect chance to do so! On New Years a little town close to Edinburgh called (South) Queensferry becomes THE place to be for Scots. People meet and dress up like crazy, walk down the streets of the little sleepy town being lead by a cool marching band, and then jump into the very cold water of the River Forth! The event is called the Loony Dook, is an old tradition, and probably the most craziest thing I’ve ever taken part in! But it’s so much fun and there’s no better way to boost your start into the new year!
7. Christmas market still open after Christmas!
For those of you who love Christmas season and especially Christmas markets, they will love being in Edinburgh during Hogmanay even more! And this has one simple reason: the Christmas market in Edinburgh is still open after Christmas and you can enjoy shopping and eating there until the end of the first week of the new year. Plus: the scenery of this Christmas market is truly magical, just next to Princes Street. From there you have a fantastic view on the other site of Edinburgh and the castle.
8. One of the best coffees to wake you up!
After all these celebrations, parties and crazy happenings, you’ll sure need a good coffee to get your body functioning properly again. And there’s a cure for that: coffee from Brew Lab! Brew Lab is one of my favourite cafés around the world! It serves really great coffee, especially their flat white is awesome and will definitely wake you up, but also their cakes, brownies and sandwiches are lovely. And the best: you can relax in one of their big brown vintage leather sofas while zipping your hot coffee…
9. A volcano to escape busy city life
And if you feel like you need some fresh air, see the green and escape the city for just a bit, then you can walk up Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s extinct volcano. It’s only a 15 minutes walk from the city centre, and then another 15 minutes to walk up the hill and you will find yourself surrounded by green fields and impressive rockets. And from there you have a really stunning view on Edinburgh, it’s castle, Carlton Hill and even the sea side! How awesome is that?!
10. The lovely Scots
There is this saying that the best comes last…and here it is: the best about celebrating New Years and Hogmanay in Edinburgh are the Scots! They are such lovely people, always friendly and with great humour. Even though you’ll need some time to catch their accent and probably never understand every single word they say, they are such nice people making celebrate New Years in Edinburgh even better! There is no pushing at New Years Eve and all the events, and everyone is calm and takes care about each other. Not to mention their great pub culture and the welcoming atmosphere you’ll encounter throughout Scotland!