Celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle at night on Hogmanay. There are brightly coloured fireworks in the sky.

Celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh

There is no better place to celebrate the new year than in Scotland’s capital city. Edinburgh really does show the world how to party! With unique celebrations, festivities and traditions, how will you choose to ring in the Bells for 2024?

Edinburgh Street Party

The legendary and world-renowned street party celebrates its 30th anniversary this year in the heart of Edinburgh. Against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, Pulp will be headlining the concert this year. Don’t miss one of the best new year’s firework displays which light up the skies and the year ahead from the ancient castle ramparts. Buy tickets for the Edinburgh Street Party here

The Torchlight Procession

On 29th December, the new year festivities kick off with the Torchlight Procession and it is a true spectacle. Thousands of people carry a blazing torch and travel throughout the city creating a 'river of fire'. This is followed by the burning of a Viking long ship. This year, the event starts at the Meadows, where fire performers, pipers and drummers will entertain, and the procession ends in the city’s historic and picturesque Old Town. The event will also shine a light on homelessness with money from tickets raised going towards homelessness projects in Edinburgh. Buy tickets for the Torchlight Procession here

Sing Auld Lang Syne

Now adopted as the song for new year, the words of poet Robert Burns are sung at midnight to the tune of a traditional Scottish folk song. Bidding farewell to the year past at the stroke of midnight, tradition says that revellers should not link arms until the final verse! Do you know all five verses?

The Loony Dook 

On New Year’s Day, only the brave will venture to the icy waters of South Queensferry to partake in the Loony Dook swim in the Firth of Forth and often in fancy dress. The event began as a jokey suggestion for a hangover cure and has grown in popularity over the years into a charity fundraiser. 


Other Scottish customs include first footing, welcoming the first visitor of the new year to your home, who should ideally be a tall, dark stranger. They should bear gifts including a coin for prosperity, a lump of coal for warmth and whisky for a wee dram. The origins of this superstition date back to the Viking invasions of Scotland where it was thought that a fair-haired stranger was believed to bring trouble.

See in the new year at The Royal Yacht Britannia and Fingal 

Choose to welcome 2024 in spectacular style aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia. On Hogmanay, tour the State Apartments with our expert guides while sipping Champagne. Indulge in a four-course dinner in the State Dining Room, serenaded by a string duo amidst historic surroundings and later dance the night away to a live band on the Royal Deck before ringing in the new year as a piper plays 'Auld Lang Syne'. For an extended two-day celebration, stay on our sister ship, Fingal, the day before. Enjoy a decadent Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Art Deco-inspired Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar and a jazz band in Fingal's Ballroom during a four-course dinner. 

Photo credits:

VisitScotland / Kenny Lam
The Royal Yacht Britannia: Marc Millar