Edinburgh’s Hogmanay puts family time at the heart of the celebrations, with earlier fireworks shows, fancy dress, family-friendly ceilidhs, and of course the stunning traditional Torchlight Procession.
Hogmanay isn’t just about that midnight moment and since taking over the event last year Underbelly has developed the celebrations to ensure that those with young children have the chance to join in as a family across the three-day festival.
Torchlight Procession – 30 December
Heralding from the north, the traditional Torchlight Procession on the night afore Hogmanay sees out the old year in a blaze of glory. Thousands of people gather in the city centre to take part in a fiery torch procession which creates a river of light down Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, round Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament before taking on a new shape in Holyrood Park.
The night is full of music and rhythm as young pipe and drum bands from across Scotland accompany the procession and local bands play the stage in Holyrood Park. And PyroCeltica are on hand to wow with their spectacular fire performances.
As the procession enters Holyrood Park the fiery torches are channeled into what will be revealed as the outline of Scotland. At its centre is a heart with 14 wicker sculptures, each conceived by young people in 14 regions of Scotland to visually represent their area. This spectacular fiery finale marks the end of 2018’s year-long celebration, Scotland’s Year of Young People.
These incredible, and complex, sculptures representing 14 areas of Scotland will be displayed on the Royal Mile from 21 to 29 December.
Children of all ages can attend or join in the Torchlight Procession but no buggies are allowed on the procession itself.
Bairns Afore – 31 December
Kids love fireworks every bit as much as adults! So, on 31 December, the celebrations kick off early for local and visiting families who have the opportunity to celebrate New Year together in West Princes Street Gardens at Bairns Afore. Massaoke, the live band and singalong sensation that is sweeping across the UK from Glastonbury Festival to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will have everyone dancing and singing their hearts out to tracks from bands including Queen, Abba and A-ha, Disney classics, and pop bangers from Little Mix and Katy Perry. It climaxes in a stunning ‘midnight’ fireworks display at 6pm that gives the young their midnight moment and sets the scene for a spectacular night.
Baby Loves Disco – 30 & 31 December
Get your tiny dancers kilted and booted for the massively popular club for all generations, Baby Loves Disco, in a special celebratory Big Hogmanay Bash. Packed full with nostalgic pop floor-fillers from the days before parenthood struck and the best of 2018 it’ll get all generations up on their feet.
The Hogmanay twist sees a short family ceilidh dance, a practice run of Auld Lang Syne with ‘toddler torches’ on the 30th and a countdown to the bells in Brisbane Australia on the 31st. And of course there will be face painting, dress-up, bubbles, balloons, dancefloor games and giveaways.
Loony Dook – 1 January
Kicking off at the sociable time of 12.30pm, The Loony Dook is still the best way to start next year. One of Scotland’s famous New Year traditions, dippers in fancy dress will brave the chilly waters of the Firth of Forth by the iconic Forth Rail Bridge to raise money for charities while shaking off the excesses of the night before and having a lot of fun.
Dippers march the length of South Queensferry High Street led by The Noise Committee drummers as part of the Dookers’ Parade, before launching themselves into the freezing Firth. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the Dookers at various points along the route or down on the beach.
A lovely trip out from the city centre, South Queensferry has a variety of pubs, cafes and restaurants, all open on New Year’s Day. And you’re doing good too, £1 from every ticket bought is donated to the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea.
First Footers Family Ceilidh – 1 January
You couldn’t get more traditional than a first footers ceilidh on New Year’s Day! Free and suitable for folk of all ages, the First Footers Family Ceilidh in the spectacular McEwan Hall is the perfect introduction for kids to classics like the Dashing White Sergeant and the Gay Gordons, a great activity to blow off the cobwebs on the first day of the new year and a fun way to tire out the kids!
Edinburgh’s Christmas is also live in the city through this time and there is the opportunity to go ice-skating, visit the Christmas markets and take a trip on some of the rides in Princes Street Gardens.
More on Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and ticket booking can be found here – https://www.edinburghshogmanay.com/