Yes, I know it's early to be thinking about your New Years Eve celebrations, but if your anything like me, then you have always found New Years Eve to be a little bit rubbish.
If you venture near pubs and clubs then you often have to pay inflated amounts to get in and then you spend hours queuing at the bar. You find that there is so much emphasis on enjoying yourself on this special night - that you really don't enjoy yourself at all!
However, Hogmanay in Edinburgh changed all that for me.
To put it plainly, the Scots know how to enjoy New Years Eve - not just on the big night itself but in the days running up to it as well. Hogmanay in Edinburgh offers entertainment and fun for people of all ages.
Two nights before New Years Eve, there is the annual, early evening torchlight procession through the streets of Edinburgh. Young and old gather on the Royal Mile and purchase large flame lit torches (approx £5 - with proceeds to charity). Then, led by traditional pipers and drummers, the procession of over 25,000 people walks through the centre of Edinburgh up to Calton Hill. Described as a 'river of fire' the sight of thousands and thousands of torches, lighting up the roads infront and behind you is really something to be seen!
Once the procession had all reached the top of Calton Hill, there was a huge firework display to mark the beginning of Hogmanay celebrations in the city.
The day before New Years Eve there are also various events taking place all over the city. We opted to attend a free dance event at the Grassmarket. This event basically celebrated different styles of dance with various performances and demonstrations on a large stage. From Bollywood to Line Dancing - it certainly got people moving. Also as it was located in the Grassmarket - there were plenty of pubs nearby to pop into for a drink and a break from the cold.
Nearby, the area under the castle also becomes a 'winter wonderland' - there is a Christmas market selling sweets and wines, a fun fair, an ice rink, and lots of other great family activities.
For New Years Eve there are again plenty of different events to choose from and lots to suit everyone's tastes. The Princes Street Party costs £10 for an armband to enter and there were various live acts to keep the crowds entertained.
Other events include a Classical Candlelit Concert, a 70's themed Boogie Wonderland Concert, a traditional Ceilidh and a Live Concert. Tickets for these events vary from between £30 - £45.
We opted for the Live Concert in the gardens with performances from Groove Armada and Paulo Nutini. A tremendous set from Groove Armada with a fantastic laser show, under the towering Edinburgh Castle is an unforgettable experience! As midnight came and went, there was a hugely impressive firework display which seemed to go on forever. The events all finished at 1am - however the partying doesn't stop - with bars and clubs staying open until 3.
To top that I didn't see any trouble at all! Though there was a police presence - there was no trouble, no one seemed too drunk or aggressive and it was just a really good atmosphere.
One word of warning is to keep a firm hand on your drinks should certain songs be played. The Scots are incredibly proud of both the Fratellis and the Proclaimers and I lost two drunks as the crowd surged and bounced when 'Chelsea Dagger' and 'Five Thousand Miles' were played.
Our hotel (Premier Travel Inn) also enhanced the stay. They were completely geared towards the celebrations. They sent you out with a complimentary cup of hot mulled wine on New Years Eve, then served hot soup in the bar until 4am for revellers coming in from the cold. Breakfast was also on till 1 o'clock the next day giving those that had been up late, plenty of time to come down and eat. It was also in a great location - near enough to walk to all the action!
Its also worth comparing hotel prices for the days that you plan to be there. We actually left on New Years Day, as when we booked, we discovered that staying until the 2nd meant that hotel rooms took a massive jump in price.
Edinburgh is cold at this time of year - so plan for this. Gloves, coats, hats and a big coat are a must! As most events are outside you do need to dress warmly.
The only negative was that you did have to queue for the bars and the toilets - but then again you would have to do that wherever you went on New Year Eve.
I first celebrated Hogmanay (New Year) in Edinburgh in 2002/2003. A group of us travelled over from Ireland and I actually moved to Edinburgh that day as well (young and stupid to move on New Years Eve!!)
We booked apartments around the September time and it was quite reasonable.
We also purchased our Street Party tickets in plenty of time. At the moment the 2008/2009 passes are £10, although there was a £5 promotion for a while.
The Street Party has an amazing atmosphere and there is lots of entertainment and music to keep everyone occupied. We brought our own alcohol and nipped off to a loo that was close by when we needed to go. Midnight itself is quite spectacular an so exciting (especially with the prospect that this wonderful, lively city was going to be my home!!!). The fireworks are spectacular and eveyone is kissing everyone.
The Street Party goes on from 9pm - 1am and I would recommend getting there very early, as it gets packed. It is also freezing cold so wrap up warm and wear plenty of layers as you can get really cold. For the Street Party, don't worry about style. Comfort wins over every time. Also, the party ends at 1am so if you are a party animal like me then buy tickets for another event as you will probably head to a club around 12.30.
Apart from the cold!!!! We also attempted to go the Street Party in 2003/2004. We had a flat at this time and my parents came over, as well as friends from Liverpool. We had a party in the flat and then headed to the Street Party. It was cancelled due to poor weather. The whole cancellation was handled really badly and they refused to refund me any of ticket money (£90). Instead they said I could go free the following year. I thought this was really bad form and celebrated Hogmanay up North instead. As it happened, we had tickets for a club so we could go somewhere but there were people from Australia and Brazil, who had come to Edinburgh especially for this and were really disappointed. The Street Party was cancelled a few year back again (can't remember which year) but it is something to bear in mind when booking.
Overall though, it is a fab experience. I think a one-off though as the cold is hard to cope with!
Its that time of year now when you need to decide what you are doing for New Year if you don't want to stop local. New Year tends to be just another day if you haven't got any plans but if you decide to do something it can make it a whole lot spectaluar.
Last year, around about this time we decided to visited Edinburgh for Hogmanay, something I have always wanted to do. After looking through the net I realised that it wasn't going to be too expensive either.
Edinburgh breaks New Year into 4 days with street paries prior to the new year event and also after parties to celebrate that the new year has arrived.
Tickets for the street party can be obtained for as less as £5.00 entry per person, however you can ourchase the full pack of around £30 which includes novelties and various promotional material. I managed get my street passes for £5.00, however forgot them and had to buy more when we arrived in Edinburgh which cost about £38.00. These are easily available from various hotels within the city.
Accommodation costs are quite expensive during this time. I paid £420 for three nights for two of us in the Herald House Hotel which is a short taxi drive from tha train station and Princes Street itself. So it wasn't too bad value but was a very basic hotel.
New Years Eve, every one gets into the spirit of things, throughout the day preparation are being made to Princes street, however they do this with a little disruption as possible to the shopping area, which i think is fantastic. The good thing is you don't get rowdy youths drunk on the streets during the day, everything is very civilised.
The street gets closed off around 6:30pm and barrriers are all around so no one can get in without tickets. There are four main entrances to the street each with police checking what you have before you enter. You can access at around 7:30pm where all the various stages with acts on start their sets. The main acts are in the Gardens where you do have to pay extra for these tickets.. the likes of Texas were on when i was there.. Scissor Sisters the year before.
If you want a drink whilst you are there, there are no accessible bars in the street itself, you need to come out and go around the back street where pubs are open, however the gates to the street close at 11:30 and they won't let anyone back in after that.
The only way of going to the toilet is by the vast number of porta-loo's that they have in one of the streets, however the queue's are very long so if you can try and nip to a nearby pub that is even better but make sure you are back by 11:30.
People from all over the world come to Edinburgh for HogmanaY and there are 100's of thousand of people all in one street.. its does get very cramped and not easy to move.
Food is readily available with van's catering to most people tastets more or less everywhere.. burgers, hot dogs, baked potatoes, soup, sandwiches are an example.
Midnight comes and the fireworks are fantastic all over the castle and Edinburgh town and last for around 15 minutes before they seem to die off.
If you have a family and want to go as soon as the fireworks are done you need to do so as taxi's are available and easy to get if you are ready to make that dash but once they are all gone it takes a while for them to come back.
The day after i was astonished when we went shopping to see the street. The council must have been up all night as apart from barriers being stacked up waiting for them to be taken away, the is no real eveidence that a party on that scale took place just a couple of hours ago... the street was so clean.. it was unbelievable.
My three days is Edinburgh are something that i am never going to forget although I do travel round at new year to different place to see how it is celebrated... I plan to go back to Edinburgh on my birthday.. Burns Night as again this is something that they celebrate and i want to be there.
Edinburgh Hogmanay what a pile of crap. Spend varst amounts of money on central hotel etc. The whole run up to New years eve was a huge let down. Ice rink in the winter gardens absolute crap was like skating around your local swimming pool as it seemed to be lacking in ice. The torch procession great, if you want 90% burns from torch wax, spent the following days removing wax from my scalp, nice. Lots to do at Edinburgh castle if you enjoy waiting to buy tickets in the car park for an hour. What a joke the scottish crown jewels look plastic. Failed to meet many scottish people only cool guy in edinburgh does a guided bus tour he is an absolute comic genius although im not sure the chinese tourists got all his jokes. Restaurants pretty poor spend most meals at the Dome (pretty good). Adam Llyal murder tours probably the best thing to do in edinburgh, amazing what a bit of white face paints can achieve, would have gone stark raving mad if we hadnt gone on the tour. MUST GO ON THIS TOUR! Shopping ok harvey nicholls/ jennas slightly random not as good as the hype. Finally New Years Eve arrived, and jesus i was bracing myself for it to be bad but jesus! I was lucky enough or not as the case was to have a ticket to get in. Really bad spent the night fenced into princes street with some shit dj every one looking at each other waiting for something good to happen which didnt. Try standing in your local tesco car park, with a bit of imaginationyou can get the jist. Midnight hit i was waiting for an onslaught of snogging and hugging but it just seemed to turn in to some bloody brawl. I cant really convey how bad it was, anyone thinking to head to edinburgh for hogmanay, stay at home. Absolute crap, save your money.
Edinburgh is the heart of Hogmany celebrations. Tourists come from all over the world just to be in with the fun. The crowds are so loud and the atmosphere is excellent. You have to go with someone though. The crowds are huge and it's excellent. I wouldn't recommend anyone bringing people younger than 12 with them. It would be a hassled and they could get hurt. What usually happens is that famous bands are playing and some people get VIP tickets to watch but some don't. In the catsle hall usually Carol Smilie or someone will have a show inside a hall where dancing and guests sing. It's a big event for Edinburgh and fun when it happens.
For New Year this year, I decided to go and party in style to see 2001 in and I was not disappointed! Edinburgh's hogmanay celebrations this year, were slightly toned down from other years but it was still as great as ever. There were a number of events going on including many street entertainments and many live concerts. At the castle Moby was playing and I managed to see the Scottish group Capercaille for free in the live street party. At midnight, there were fantastic fireworks set off from which I watched on Edinburgh bridge with many other people. The atmosphere was fantastic and although freezing cold, I wouldn't hesitate going again next year.
I’ve been doing the Edinburgh Hogmanay thing for the past five years and every January 2nd I get this feeling of anxiety as I count down the days to the next one. Hogmanay can be a very over whelming experience if you have never been or have no one to show you around. The good thing is that just about no matter where you are in the city there is something going on that will interest you. One tip I can give you is that in the few minutes leading up to midnight either be up the mound(near the castle), on the Royal Mile(the road that runs from the castle to Hollyrood Palace) or on Princess Street overlooking Princess Street Gardens. The atmosphere in these areas seems to change every year I go but I can guarantee you will not be disappointed in any of them. Pubs/Clubs tend to stay open longer on Hogmanay but be wary that some do not allow you in after midnight as they are already packed, so try and have some kind of plan already set up. Some pubs give out tickets so my advice is to try out the pub on the nights leading up to Hogmanay and then try and decide which one you would prefer to be in. Those are just some tips I can give you, but no matter what be ready to have a great time and always keep something warm on or at the ready as standing around at 3am can get a wee bit chilly!
I have been going up to Edinburgh for Hogmonay for about 4 years. I am very lucky because my brother and his wife live within staggering distance of the Royal mile where the annual festivities are held. Edinburgh is a beautiful city and for somebody English it feels very much like a foreign country. Something I'm sure most Scots are proud of! If you want to spend Hogmonay in Edinburgh then you need to start planning very early. As it is a ticket only event, with huge barriers blocking the streets leading to the main event areas, the scramble for tickets is the highest priority. The ticket sale is normaly advertised in the Edinburgh newspapers in August. Each household is permitted 4 tickets and they have to be applied for. If you know someone in Edinburgh get them to tell you when they are advertised so you can apply. They are not advertised nationally until much later and then most tickets have usually gone. Don't dispair if you can't get tickets as there are a few ways to get around this problem. The first one is to spend a fortune on the barriers, buying tickets from the touts. The second one is much craftier but you will need warm clothes. It involves being in town when the shops shut and staying there. Don't leave at any costs. Sit in a pub, eat out but don't leave the city centre. The barriers will be erected around you and you will find that you are in!! You will have to get there about 4pm though!! Having got the tickets, you will need to sort out accomodation. Dossing on somebody's floor or in a spare room is the best option but failing that, it is advisable to book a hotel/ B&B well in advance. The cheap ones sell out very quickly - leaving the very expensive or the very far away as the only option. Having got tickets and a room, you have to consider the night itself. There are no kiosks in the exclusion zone that sell alcohol so you will have to take it in with you. You are however fo
r obvious reasons not allowed to take glass into the area. So it is advisable to stock up on plastic bottles beforehand. You can then fill them with the beverage of your choice. When choosing what to wear remember that you will be outside for a lot of the time and it is very cold so dress appropriately. Last year many people were treated for the first signs of hypothermia a sure fire way to ruin any celebrations. Another word on attire - all men with as much as an ounce of Scottish blood tend to opt for the kilt - with or without underwear. I hope these tips are helpful. Hogmonay in Edinburgh is one of the biggest and the best New Year's celebrations in the world. The setting is amazing. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, with people from all over the world thronging through the streets, stopping for a chat and the odd kiss. The whole thing is crowned with live music and the fantastic firework display. Get the tickets and go - it is well worth it!
Hogmany is the New Year celebration in Edinburgh. It is one of the greatest New Year celebrations event in Europe, if not in the world. I did go to the Hogmany last year for the millenium countdown and celebration. It was great! Hogmany celebration was held in the city centre, down below Edinburgh Castle and along Princess Street, parallel with some other shopping streets. The whole area was cordoned off and guarded by police personnel after 4pm. Only ticket holders were allowed into the area. We drove there by car from Manchester at 12 noon and reached there about 6pm. With fully excited mood, we headed towards the celebration ground. However, we were not allowed in as we did not have the valid ticket. The tickets were given out free by the authority weeks before the celebration. Frustrated! There were scores of people running here and there, trying to sell the ticket, for as illogical as 100 pound. To our mighty relieve, an old couples saw us and did give the tickets to us. God blessed! God -sent tickets, I guess. The streets were thronged with people. It was estimated that there were about 100,000 people turning up at the celebration. It was great and we were soaked in the joyful atmosphere. The streets were full of stalls. Each stall had its own programme and performance, ranging from singing, dancing, rapping to games. Games stall were numerous and always a must for this kind of event. There were stage performances as well. However, we could not get to the Texas' concert in Edinburgh Castle. Then it was the countdown, culminated with the firework display. Subsequently, there were hugs, kisses and greets. In fact, I was told before that if you get into the area or stay in one of the shops in the area before they cordon off the area, you get to stay in throughout the whole celebration. Therefore, if you want to enter the area without tickets, just be in the area earlier. After all the issuance of tickets is meant to
control the crowd as to prevent untoward incidents. Hogmany celebration is done every year. If you miss this year, you still have plenty of chances. Just remember to wear enough clothing. I wore four layers of clothing and still trembled amidst the celebration. Thanks to the crowd, it kept me warmer nevertheless.