New Years Eve in Edinburgh

We know you like to party and New Year’s Eve is the time to party in style. “Hogmanay”, as the celebrations on 31st December are known in Scotland, don’t come any bigger or better than in the capital, Edinburgh. So much so that the hard-partying Scots get the 2nd January off work as an extra bank holiday - just to recover.

Back in the day, as the bells rang out at midnight, it was predominantly locals cramming on to the world-famous Royal Mile and having a wee jig to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. However, now properly organised and funded, the event has grown into a three-day festival jam-packed with unique things to do and attended by tens of thousands. Making Edinburgh’s Hogmanay one of the biggest, and arguably the best, New Year festival in the world.

What to do in Edinburgh for New Years Eve

Torchlight Procession

The spectacular Torchlight Procession on 30th December - a family event with over 25,000 torch carriers accompanied by massed pipes and drums and led by Shetland’s Up Helly Aa’ Vikings. The route starts in the Old Town and takes them from George IV Bridge to the fireworks finale on Calton Hill (there is also a viewing place at Waterloo Place).

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party

The highlight of Edinburgh’s festivities is on 31st December. The Hogmanay Street Party on Princes Street is where 80,000 revellers party and countdown to midnight. As the clock strikes 12 there is the world’s largest rendition of Auld Lang Syne along with a spectacular fireworks display from Edinburgh Castle. With DJs, ceilidh dancing and live music, this is the big event.

Loony Dook

Sort out your New Year’s Day hangover and celebrate the start of 2023 by taking part in the truly crazy and breathtaking Loony Dook. This is a mass plunge into the chilly, nay refreshing, waters of the River Forth under the shadow of the world famous Forth Rail Bridge. Are you brave enough?

Our top 5 Edinburgh hotels for New Year stays

You’ll need to sleep at some point, and whether you want to be stumbling distance from your bed or far enough away to get some silent shut-eye, choosing the right place to stay is core to your Edinburgh experience. Like any world class city, when there is an epic event on, accommodation is at a premium. But Edinburgh, and its surrounding suburbs, have a vast and varied selection of hotels you can choose from. Here are a few of our favourites.

1. Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian

Sits at the West End of Princes Street in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. ‘The Caley’, as it is known among Edinburgh locals, is smack bang in the centre of all the New Year action. It embodies the very best in Scottish hospitality.

2. Macdonald Houstoun House

12 miles west of Edinburgh in West Lothian, this is a perfect choice for those not looking to party the night away. It’s still close enough to Edinburgh to enjoy some of the many side events to the Hogmanay celebrations. Built in the 1600s to host Mary Queen of Scots, this is a hotel steeped in Scottish history.

3. Kimpton Charlotte Square

You're right in the centre of the action here in this refurbished Georgian hotel. It overlooks Charlotte Square (Edinburgh's Downing Street) but more importantly it's right next to George Street which has loads of cool bars and restaurants to get into the New Year's spirit. If you've got tickets for the Hogmanay parties, you've only got a five minute walk to Princes Street - no taxis needed here.

4. Fountain Court - Stewart Apartments

This hotel offers boutique chic styling in practical serviced apartments. Located in the heart of the New Town and parallel to George Street you could not be more central to the festivities. With all the ‘mod cons’ including a dishwasher, HD TV, blu-ray player, iPod dock, free Wifi plus Sky sports and movie channels, you will feel right at home.

5. InterContinental Edinburgh - The George

This is on one of Edinburgh's most stylish streets, George Street; so this is the ideal location if you fancy shopping for the perfect party outfit, before bar hopping for Hogmanay. Want more? It also has one of the finest dining rooms in Europe.

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