Expert's Guide to Hogmanay '13
We've seen it all and done it all- and we're here to give you guidance on the way to get the absolute best out of your Hogmanay experience! Here are our top tips and things you ought to know about Edinburgh's New Year celebrations:
What are the best loved events of Edinburgh's Hogmanay?
Edinburgh's Hogmanay kicks off on 30 December with the Torchlight Procession, an atmospheric walk for everyone to join in. This year, it's starting outside the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street and finishes, as always, on top of Calton Hill around a bonfire with a celebratory blast of fireworks. The next day, there's the equally atmospheric Candlelit Concert in St Giles Cathedral, as well as the world famous Street Party with top bands playing you up to the midnight bells and the big firework display. On 1 January, the favourite tradition of the people in South Queensferry is to take to the waters of the Firth of Forth for the annual Loony Dook before a parade through the town.
What bands are playing?
As ever, there's a fabulous and varied line-up on 31 December. In Princes Street Gardens, Simple Minds headline the Concert in the Gardens with support from the View and Bwani Junction. Meanwhile in the neighbouring city-centre Street Party, bands including the Maccabees and Scottish favourites Admiral Fallow, Lau and Shooglenifty will keep the excitement building up to the midnight bells. Crowds will also be entertained by Spin the Rew1nd3r, a 60-year music and video mash-up shown live on eight giant screens.
What's new this year?
To prove the number 13 is lucky for some, Edinburgh's Hogmanay is rebranding 1 January as Your Lucky Day. Starting at the National Museum of Scotland, where there's an installation called Lady Luck: The Cult of Fortuna, audiences will find their own route to 13 venues in the Old Town according to the numbers they throw on their dice. You may stumble into a literary cabaret, a conversation about the nature of chance or an offbeat Scottish afternoon tea. Afterwards, audiences will gather for the UK premiere of Big Bang, a street theatre spectacular by France's Plasticiens Volants about the birth of the universe.
What about the kids?
Many of the events in Edinburgh's Hogmanay are designed with families in mind, and the children will really enjoy the Torchlight Procession, Your Lucky Day and the Big Bang. They will also want to catch Edinburgh's Dogmanay in Holyrood Park on 1 January, when teams of sled dogs will compete in novelty shows and knockout racing. At the same time, you'll be able to see the competitors in the New Year's Day Triatholon running and cycling round Arthur's Seat – and children may like to sign up for the Duathlon for 8 to 15 year olds that starts at 11.30am. There are plenty of other great activities for families in the city, ranging from Edinburgh Zoo to the ice rink in Princes Street Gardens. Please note the Street Party is for over 16s only.
What else should I do in Edinburgh?
Start by orientating yourself on one of the hop-on, hop-off tour buses departing from Waverley Bridge. The commentary will give you plenty of ideas of places you'd like to explore further. Visitor hot-spots include the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the skyline, the Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith, where you can imagine what it was like to sail with the Queen, and the world-class displays in the various National Galleries of Scotland. It's also a lovely city to explore for yourself, whether it's the ancient streets of the Old Town or the Georgian elegance of the New Town.
What should I wear?
Edinburgh is a compact city with lots to do on foot, so make sure you bring sturdy waterproof shoes. Temperatures should be above freezing but only by a couple of degrees, so wrap up warm, especially if you are joining in evening activities such as the Torchlight Procession and the Street Party. And be ready for rain, remembering if it's windy, you may struggle with an umbrella.
Where's good to eat?
Whether you're after fast food favourites, vegetarian pioneers, Scottish specialists or Michelin-starred treats, Edinburgh has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants in the country. You'll be spoilt for choice. You can see our recommended places to eat here.
Where's good to drink?
Much of Edinburgh's population lives in the city centre, helping sustain an abundance of traditional bars. On main roads and back alleys all over the city, you'll stumble across friendly watering holes that are full of atmosphere.
Where should I stay?
Edinburgh is fully geared up to welcoming visitors and, whether you're after a bunk in a backpackers' hostel or a suite in a high-end hotel, there'll be somewhere for you. Start your search at www.edinburgh.org/accommodation/
Where do I buy tickets?
Call 0844 573 8455, go online at www.edinburghshogmanay.com or visit the box office in person in the Fringe Office, 185 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1QS.
When is the box office open?
Until 23 December: 10am–6pm daily. 24 December: 10am–4pm. 25 & 26 December: closed. 27–30 December: 10am–10pm. 31 December: 10am–9pm.
Edinburgh's Hogmanay, 30 December–1 January