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Edinburgh Hogmanay
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Your ultimate guide to Edinburgh Hogmanay 2023

From fireworks displays to the Auld Lang Syne singalong, here’s everything you need to know about Edinburgh’s 2023 Hogmanay celebrations

Chiara Wilkinson
Written by
Chiara Wilkinson

Thinking about heading to Scotland to send off 2023? Hogmanay is considered one of the best New Year’s Eve events in the world – and with good reason. With top-class music, stunning firework displays and age-old ceremonial traditions, all taking place against the historic backdrop of the Scottish capital, Hogmanay has it all.

The best part about it is that the celebrations aren’t reserved to one night: they last a total of three days. Attracting tens of thousands of revellers from all over the world, the festival includes live gigs and a street party with a fireworks display, as well as a handful of rather unusual Scottish traditions. 

So, while New Year’s Eve can often feel like just another underwhelming night out, you can bet that a trip to Edinburgh will be one you’ll actually remember in years to come (depending how much whisky you drink, of course). If you’re thinking of heading to Edinburgh to join in the Hogmanay celebrations to welcome in 2024, here’s everything you need to know. 

What is Hogmanay and how is it celebrated?

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the ‘old year’. More commonly, it is used to describe the New Year celebrations. 

The word is thought to come from the old French word ‘hoginane’, meaning ‘gala day’, and dates back to the return of Mary, Queen of Scots to Scotland from France in 1561. The Scottish Hogmanay celebrations themselves are thought to have originated in pagan and Viking times to mark the end of the harvest and winter solstice. 

The festivities are longer than a typical New Year’s Eve knees-up – they last four days with the traditions ranging from singing Auld Lang Syne as the clock strikes midnight on December 31 to running into the sea for the ‘Loony Dook’ on New Year’s Day. There’s even an extra day off in Scotland to recover from all the fun: January 2 is a public holiday. 

When is Hogmanay this year?

The Hogmanay festival takes place over four days from Friday December 29 2023 to Monday January 1 2023, with the big New Year’s Eve celebrations falling on Sunday December 31. 

What happens during Hogmanay in Edinburgh?

The traditional torchlight procession takes place on Friday December 29, starting in the Meadows and finishing in the city centre. 

The Hogmanay party begins in Princes Street Gardens on December 30, with the ‘Night Afore Disco Party’ and special guests Massaoke. 

The world-famous Edinburgh Castle fireworks take place on December 31, along with the New Year’s Eve street party, complete with live DJ sets, funfair attractions, street food and bars. At midnight, guests will join hands to sing Robert Burns’s ‘Auld Lang Syne’. There will also be a live performance by Pulp, plus a DJ set from Hot Chip, taking place on December 31 in a separate event area.

Finally, the annual Loony Dook takes place on January 1: a traditional plunge in the nearby River Forth at South Queensferry, usually in fancy dress. 

Do you need tickets for Hogmanay in Edinburgh?

Tickets for the Hogmanay Street Party are on sale for £28.50 per person via Edinburgh’s Hogmanay website. Residents with an Edinburgh postcode will receive a £5 discount. 

Tickets for the concerts in the gardens need to be booked separately, also via the Hogmanay website

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is supporting a local homeless charity partner, Social Bite, with fundraising activities taking place throughout the festival.

What time does the New Year street party start?

The gates open at 8pm and last admission is at 11pm. Make sure you wear lots of layers and wrap up warm: freezing temperatures are part of the tradition.

Can I bring in alcohol to the street party?

Alcohol is allowed to be brought into the Street Party event arena in plastic or metal containers, under 500ml. Glass is not permitted.

Where can I watch the fireworks?

The fireworks are designed to be watched from the street party in Princes Street Gardens, but there are many alternative spots around the city which also have a great view. Wrap up warm and head to Inverleith Park, Calton Hill or Bruntsfield Links to see them for free.

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