Hogmanay, Edinburgh

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Hogmanay

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the old year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner. It is normally followed by further celebration on the morning of New Year’s Day (1 January) or in some cases, 2 January—a Scottish bank holiday.

Highlighted as one of the ‘Top 100 things to do before you die’ and recently the only festival to appear in the ‘Discovery Channel – Top 25 World Travel Experiences’, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party is one of the world’s greatest New Year celebrations.

There are many customs, both national and local, associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread national custom is the practice of first-footing, which starts immediately after midnight.

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As in much of the world, the largest Scottish cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – hold all-night celebrations, as do Stirling and Inverness. The Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations are among the largest in the world.

Edinburgh in the winter festive season is also huge with various concerts and other activities taking place starting a couple of weeks before Christmas and running up to a week into January. Princes Street Gardens (map) play host to a Big Wheel, outdoor ice rink and various festive markets. As in most of the rest of Scotland, Hogmanay, the New Year celebrations, are the main focus of the festive season rather than Christmas.

One night before on December 30, a torchlight procession takes place with Calton Hill (map) as final destination where fireworks will be on display. On the night itself whole sections of central Edinburgh are roped off and accessible only by ticket for the Hogmanay street party, which takes place across several stages and is easily the largest in Scotland.

Hogmany and Edinburgh fit together like hand and glove. On day one of the new year, you can watch or if you are brave enough take part in the Loony Dook in South Queensferry (people taking a dip in the ice-cold River Forth).

Public transport

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TRAVELINE — Provides online travel planner services for all public transportation across Great Britain.

+ Getting Around Edinburgh (edinburgh.org) • GETTING AROUND SCOTLAND (visitscotland.com) • Getting around Britain (visitbritain.com).

 BUS >   Lothian BusesFirst Group – buses around the city and suburbs. National Express | UK Stop finder – the largest intercity bus operator in the UK.

 RAIL >   National Rail – information about all trains, routes and stations. Train – Planning trip – train travel planner for all UK operators >> (*Rail travel in Great Britain)

 AIRPORTS >   Edinburgh Airport – from / to the airport > Airlink100. Information about all airports in the country – airportguides.co.uk. The most important airports are London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester Airport.

 WATERWAYS >   (*Ferry routes to Great Britain)

Bicycles may be taken on car ferries and on Eurotunnel shuttle trains. Eurostar allows folding bikes on all its trains, and offers a more restricted service for other bikes, but has quite strict and specific rules that are worth reading up on before you travel.

::: Source: Shaun

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