For many people, Edinburgh is synonymous with New Year's Eve, and the Hogmanay street party can certainly rival more flashy alternatives in Sydney and New York's Times Square for sheer global celebrity value. It's one of those places everyone should go at least once in their lifetime, a genuine "I've been there" type of experience.
The cannon on Edinburgh Castle, fired by the locally famous Tam the Gun on the stroke of midnight, provides a highlight of the evening, and is immediately followed by a large fireworks display, for which the castle itself, perched majestically at the peak of the city, and viewable for miles around, provides a wonderful central point. The picture on this page is actually one of our own, although I have to confess the fireworks in it were those at the Edinburgh Tattoo rather than on new year's eve, but I figured a photo of fireworks over the castle was close enough!
Along the length of Princes Street and the adjacent eponymous Gardens the city comes alive with festivities - around 100,000 revellers will gather to bring in 2015 in style. One of the world's biggest outdoor parties means that the local council has no choice other than to limit the number of people who can get in, meaning you must have a street party pass to enter the Princes St Edinburgh New Years Eve party - you can now buy your Street Party Pass online via www.edinburghshogmanay.com
Music at the Hogmanay party this year will be courtesy of Australian DJ Tom Loud, who has chosen Edinburgh ahead of Sydney this year and will be heading the imaginatively titled Hot Dub Time Machine, a "time-travelling dance party" that will be streamed to the streets via dozens of large screens.
The Concert in the Gardens, held in the gorgeous Princes Street Gardens is always one of the highlights of the evening's entertainment - the headline act for this year has now been confirmed as Lily Allen, who is joined on the bill by Twin Atlantic and Eddie Reader.
This year also sees the return of The Keilidh, a massive outdoor dancefloor ceilidh, open to all-comers and bringing this traditional Gaelic dance to a wider audience, and also ideally positioned to enjoy a front row view of the midnight fireworks.
The Hogmanay offerings are being continually expanded these days - also this year we have:
-Torchlight Procession on 30th December, led this year by Shetland's Up Helly Aa' Vikings.
-Candelight Concert at St Giles' Cathedral on the Royal Mile
-Loony Dook - for the brave of perhaps foolhardly only, this is a parade down the High Street, followed by a New Year's Day dip in the Forth River at South Queensferry.
Away from the main, official celebrations, the bars and restaurants of the city's Grassmarket will be packed and buzzing, with Molly Malone's, the Bee Hive Inn, Biddy Mulligan's, The Last Drop Tavern and The White Hart Inn among the perennial favourites. Many of Edinburgh's bars do tend to be ticket only on NYE though, so make sure you check in advance and give yourself plenty of time to make the appropriate arrangements.
There are plenty of top notch restaurant choices for your new year dining experience in Edinburgh - personal favourites in my carnivorous days were the Witchery at the Castle and The Tower Restaurant, although these days I prefer the vegetarian and vegan fayre on offer at Hendersons. Whatever you preference you would be wise to reserve a table in plenty of time - see the full range of eating options here.
Places to watch live online, including live views from Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street:
If you're planning on visiting Edinburgh over the New Year period, then early reservation is very strongly recommended. You can search, check availability and book local hotels here.
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