Edinburgh's Hogmanay 2022
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It's that time of year again … parties, concerts, and outdoor and indoor activities. If you have the chance to get to Edinburgh, go for one of the best New Year's Eve parties in the world!
is a 3-day festival where the world comes to party, to celebrate the New Year. My great-great-grandfather was born in Edinburgh, so it was especially moving for my family to walk the paths he did as a lad. Edinburgh is a great place to start your exploration of Scotland's holiday celebrations. While our favourite experience, the torch bearers ceremony, is not available this year, here's what's up this year:
Rugby – 1872 Cup
The 150th anniversary ** 1872 Cup
pits rivals the Edinburgh Rugby vs. the Glasgow Warriors for epic bragging rights. Called the "World's Oldest Intercity Derby," it's held at Murrayfield Stadium Dec 30th, go early to enjoy the 7:35 p.m. kick-off for your rugby-loving family members. If you haven't witnessed rugby before, this is a great opportunity to get involved and root for your favourite team.
Pro Tip: Book early for the best seats.
New Year's Day Triathlon January 1, 2023
Get your year off to a dashing start with this 26th triathlon with a pool swim (400m), 12-mile bike (3 laps of Holyrood Park), and running one lap. It's bound to give adults and children alike a great adrenaline boost to the day.https://www.facebook.com/NYDtri
Edinburgh ice rink on George Street, between Charlotte Square and Castle Street, allows you and your little ones time to skate off some energy and enjoy family time in the middle of the city with all the festive lights and snow-scented air tingling your nose.
Castle of Light
: A Kingdom of Colours
Edinburgh Castle presents a beautiful illumination ceremony with its family-friendly trail expanding to include new light installations. As you're guided through this medieval fortress, learn the story of the castle, and the way Scotland became part of the United Kingdom.
Pro Tip: Don't forget to snap the perfect shot in the tunnel of light!
December 30th 2pm & 7pm performances – Saturday 31 December: 2pm
Church Hill Theatre presents (for those 7 ) 75 minutes with the origins of Hogmanay as told by music, storytelling, comedy, and magic. You'll learn the provenance of "tall dark stranger" and pick up 500 years of Hogmanay traditions.
Music and Dance**
The Roxy Theatre December 30 8 p.m. -11:30p.m.
The Alan Crookston Ceilidh Band presents "Countdown to Hogmanay" and the Festival of Cilidhs
with music that'll keep your feet stomping with boisterous and relentless fun. Dances are called, starting at 8 p.m. with those under 18 years welcome until 11 p.m.
Night Afore Disco Party December 30th
If Disco is your game, has Edinburgh got the party for you! Located in the West Princes Street Gardens, you'll have the chance to kick start your Hogmanay celebrations with new and classic sounds with Forth 1. Bonus points for those who pack a disco outfit to wear under your parka, or attach a disco ball to your toque.
New Year's Eve December 31st **
The big night has finally arrived, and the Concert in the West Princes Street Gardens will find pop legends, the Pet Shop Boys headlining Edinburgh's Hogmanay.
While you needn't purchase the concert tickets if you just want to attend the Street Party, we recommend the concert and Street Party combination for the full experience. This year, Street Party revellers' LED wristbands are expected to act as part of the show at the Midnight Moment lighting up Princes Street.
"Final Fling" January 1st
Scottish group Tide Lines headlines this showcase of the finest Scotland musicians to close out the Hogmanay celebration in West Princes Street Gardens.
Orchestra / Symphony
30 December 7:30 p.m.
Usher Hall hosts the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra
for this traditional send-off to 2022. Known for their diversity from reels and jigs to poignant songs and pipe music, you'll recognize a sprinkle of well-known tunes across the evening.
Candlelit Concert, St. Giles' Cathedral December 31st**
For a festive, but more discrete, celebration, make your way to the architectural marvel of St. Giles' Cathedral for a memorable choir concert to start the last evening of your year.
Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Viennese New Year Concert
1 January 2023: 3pm (Doors open at 2pm)
For the first performance of the New Year, Conductor Joseph Swensen celebrates 2023 with music from Strauss' Vienna with the graceful Blue Danube or majestic Radetzky March. Premiere violinist Kolja Blacher will enchant audiences with the French CHAUSSON Poème and Ravel's fiery Tzigane. Donations assist Alzheimer Scotland.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Festival Theatre
30 Dec 2pm & 7pm performances – Saturday 31 December: 5pm
Unfamiliar with Panto prior to our time in Ireland, the humour and spectacle of it returns to the newly renovated theatre with this production straight from the London Palladium. If you don't have a chance to get there, come see it in Edinburgh! The power of the magic, music, and laughter of the King's Panto should not be underestimated.
Pro Tip: Many consider this Edinburgh's most spectacular festive show. Book early.
A Christmas Carol
Royal Lyceum Theatre
Friday 30th December: 2pm & 7pm performances Saturday 31 December: 2pm
Charles Dickens is forever tied to Edinburgh folklore with his stroll through a graveyard, coming upon the tombstone of "Ebenezer Scroogie" inspiring "A Christmas Carol." Adapted since then, this version by Tony Cownie, expects a visit from the legendary GreyFriars Bobby. This sweet little Skye Terrier reportedly guarded his police officer owner's grave for 14 years until his own death in 1872.
My Fair Lady
December 30 2:30 p.m.
This George Bernard Shaw classic production from Lerner & Loewe's world-famous musical packs lavish costumes, stunning sets, and stellar performances to finish 2022 with a bang.
**Other Not To Be Missed Experiences:
We'd heard of Balmoral Castle, of course, but never realized the Queen had a Palace directly across from Scotland's Parliament in Downtown Edinburgh. The chilling historic events described during the tour provided a better understanding of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the influence of Elizabeth I across the lands, as well as the confusing succession that led to King James VI/I.
Visit The Scottish National Gallery
Located at The Mound, right on Princes Street, the Scottish National Gallery remains one of the top free attractions in Edinburgh where you can see fine art from the Renaissance to (nearly) modern day. With three gallery sites served by shuttle bus (voluntary donation of just £1), you can create a scavenger hunt for your party to find a Van Gogh, Botticelli, or Rembrandt amongst the collection.
Visit The National Museum of Scotland for Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder Dec 30 – Jan 1
Having never seen an episode of Doctor Who, I can only share what I've learned about Time Vortex Corridors and the TARDIS Tech Room. But the eight zones of immersive, hands-on experiences, will keep fans and scientists (like me) entertained – especially when you find out what you'd sound like as a Dalek.
Visit The Johnnie Walker Experience
The Johnnie Walker Experience
from December 30th to January 1st offers the quintessential whisky adventure with a flavour tour, single malts, and whiskies straight from the cask.
Free Events To Enjoy Around Your Hogmanay Celebrations In Edinburgh:
More Music All Around The Town
First Footin' January 1st 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
New this year, various city centre pubs and venues across both Old and New Edinburgh host free live music performances.
Museums and Galleries**
Many of Edinburgh's
cultural centres offer free entry and even free daily tours. Some may ask for a volunteer donation. A little research will help you round out your trip for a taste of all that Edinburgh has to offer.
Edinburgh's Christmas Markets
East Princes Street Gardens / The Mound
Free Entry to Market (Paid Attractions – like the carousel)
We enjoyed our visit to the Christmas Market as part of our Torchbearers Ceremony and Hogmanay Street Party. Outlawed until 1958, Christmas Markets only opened in Edinburgh in 1999. Now, it's one of the United Kingdom's most popular Christmas Markets.
Climb Arthur Seat
If you hike or walk or climb, you'll want to pack plenty of water and head to Holyrood Park to climb Arthur Seat. A dormant volcano for the past 350 million years, it's 823 feet (251 meters) high and offers startling 360-degree views from its summit. Leave time to wander the ancient hillfort, estimated 2,000 years old, and view the flora and fauna available even this time of year.
Pro Tip: If you walk from town, as I did from the end of the Royal Mile, mind your bearings on the return or you'll find yourself circling half of it to get back where you want to be.
Climb Calton Hill
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Calton Hill
has the other best views of Edinburgh and sunrises that make it worth it to get up a little early. You can drive via Regent Road and Royal Terrace and tour the City Observatory, the Dugald Steward Monument, National Monument, Nelson's Monument, the Old Royal High School, Political Martyrs' Monument, and the Robert Burns Monument.
Take a "Loony Dook" on New Year's Day
While Polar Bear challenges have become fairly well known, taking a dip in Scotland's freezing waters on New Year's Day seems even kookier, or loony, than usual. The festive, convivial atmosphere somehow allows the participants to keep warm as spectators cheer.
Many of these "Dooks" are free to attend but donations to charities are most welcome. Check your hotel or AirBnB for "Dooks & Dips" locations near you. The most popular ones we found include:
The Portobello "Dook" aka "The Loony Dook"
Meeting at the foot of Bath Street, participants and spectators sprawl across Portobello's sandy beach just east of the city. Braving the frigid waters of the Firth of Forth, it's the wacky outfits that really pique the interest to witness who can outdress the others.
Begun in 1986 when three locals wanted to cure a hangover, this dunk takes place beneath the Forth Bridges and is a hugely popular charity event. Check out the pubs and cafes to warm up before and after.
East of Edinburgh, this seaside town offers amazing views over the Firth of Forth and Bass Rock.
Portobello's Loony Dook is now an established community event with participants gathering on New Year's Day to brave the cold waters of the Firth of Forth.
Visit The Royal Botanic Gardens
Just a mile from city center, The Royal Botanic Gardens
72-acres established in 1670, provides respite to those weary after a busy city day. Local favourites include the Scottish Native Plants Collection, the Rock Garden, and the Chinese Hillside Garden.
Closed New Year's Day
Visit St. Giles' Cathedral**
Free (donations welcome) except during the New Year's Eve Candlelight Concert, take the time to enter St. Giles' Cathedral
and marvel at the stunning architecture and gold-leaf ceiling. If you make the time, you'll learn of its rich history, founded in 1120s and remaining a consistently working church.
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