Edinburgh Hogmanay

What is the New Year street party in Princes Street like?

The Hogmanay street party in Edinburgh is why visitors come from all over the world to spend New Year's in Scotland's capital. Over the last few years, this centrepiece of Edinburgh Hogmanay has become a huge ticketed extravaganza with all tickets given out well before the night itself.

The Hogmanay party takes place in Edinburgh City Centre with nearly 100,000 people taking to the streets. Music and dancing takes place along the entire length of Princes Street but also on the Mound, Waverley Bridge and in Princes Street Gardens.

Year after year Edinburgh's Hogmanay street party brings something new to the crowds: more stages, more popular artists and better fun. It is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland which is why it's also called the Royal Bank Street Party.

The number of people attending the Hogmanay street party have been reduced from previous years by as much as 50% to prevent overcrowding. The area of Edinburgh City Centre where the party now takes place is entirely cordoned off by police to ensure everyone's safety. Access is only possible via gates located at entry points to Princes Street.

Highlights of Princes Street's Hogmanay Party

Princes Street is equipped with everything needed for a brilliant Hogmanay night. There are vans selling hot food, beer, balloons and most importantly really silly Edinburgh Hogmanay hats coming in different shapes and sizes. The Street Party simply would not be the same without them and it's no wonder that people start chanting "Hogmany" in the streets of Edinburgh.

The most memorable aspect of a Hogmanay Party in Edinburgh's Princes Street are the few moments after the stroke of midnight when people start hugging and kissing each other, regardless of whether they know each other or not. The crowd then bursts into singing Auld Lang Syne, the traditional New Year song originating in the lyrics of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay concerts

The musical centrepiece of Hogmanay celebrations is the concert in Princes Street Gardens, underneath the Castle Rock where Edinburgh Castle proudly sits. But Hogmanay gigs also take place on other stages put up in Princes Street and the Mound Precinct.

The full list of music stages for the Hogmanay party is:

  • Princes Mall Stage - The Party Stage
  • Top of the Mound Stage - The Hoolie
  • Mound Square - Urban Dance
  • Bottom of Waverley Bridge - Waverley Stage

Hogmanay music and events take place even at the Castle. A few years ago, the Scottish band Texas headlined the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh giving an amazing performance in Edinburgh Castle's esplanade.

Texas are again one of the headlining acts at the 2005 Hogmanay party concert in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens and given how good they are live on stage and the fact that they have a new album out, it promises to be quite a treat.

Ceilidh in the Gardens

At 2009's Hogmanay, the Winter Wonderland ice rink in Princes Street Gardens will also be used for the first time for a 5000-capacity, giant open air Ceilidh. Guests to the arena will have access to bars, giant video screens, live entertainment, toilets etc.

Unlike previous Hogmanays, The Edinburgh Wheel and other fairground rides will be open to couples wishing to ride into the New Year in a magnificent and romantic setting.

Start and finish of a Hogmanay night in Edinburgh

The Hogmanay Street Party usually lasts only a few hours, with people gathering from 8-9pm, events kicking off at 10pm and finishing off with fireworks from Edinburgh Castle.

Even the most extravagant Hogmanay celebrations in Europe don't escape trouble. A few years ago, Edinburgh's Hogmanay party finished well before it even started.

Strong winds forced the authorities to cancel events in Princes Street Gardens as well as the fireworks themselves. Fortunately, precautions are now taken to ensure the Hogmanay in Edinburgh is not adversely affected by the weather.

Hogmanay fireworks from Edinburgh's seven hills

Up until recently, New Year fireworks were launched only from Edinburgh Castle. In the last few years, six more locations around Scotland's Capital City have been added to the light show. Edinburgh has a total of seven hills and, at midnight on Hogmanay night, all 7 light up, with fireworks from the Castle being the centrepiece.

  • Arthur's Seat
  • Blackford Hill
  • Braid Hill
  • Calton Hill
  • Castle Hill
  • Castle Rock
  • Corstorphine Hill
  • Craigmillar Hill

One of the best places to watch the Hogmanay fireworks in Edinburgh is Calton Hill. It gives you a view of fireworks from 5 of the seven hills: Castle Rock, Arthur's Seat, Blackford Hill, Corstorphine and Calton Hill itself.

Being at the Street Party in Princes Street at midnight, the time of the Hogmanay fireworks, gives you a chance to experience the warm and welcoming atmosphere of a Scottish New Year celebration.

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Also see:

  • Edinburgh Military Tattoo Information on Edinburgh's most popular summer event, part of the Capital's International festival taking place each August.
  • Christmas in Edinburgh Information on Edinburgh's Christmas celebrations, part of the Capital's winter festival.
  • Accommodation in Edinburgh Tourist information on quality accommodation schemes, hotels and how to choose accommodation in Edinburgh.
  • Hotels in Edinburgh Visitor information on choosing hotel accommodation in Edinburgh.

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