If you share the popular opinion that New Year's Eve is the most overrated night of the year thanks to massive crowds and sky-high prices, Edinburgh's three-day festival has the potential to change your mind. From fireworks to live music, Scotland's capital is the ideal destination to ring in 2019.
Hogmanay (Scottish for NYE)
First and foremost New Year's Eve doesn't even have the same name in Scotland, which may be a good start if you're trying to revolutionize your attitude towards this dreaded time of year! Scots call it Hogmanay and they celebrate it in a style that is completely different to our own. Forget the unavoidable pressure you feel to have the best night of year life come December 31st. Celebrations in Scotland continue for 3 days, meaning you have plenty of time to ring in 2019 the right way.
What's it all about?
Hogmanay is a Scottish festival that dates all the way back to the 17th century, and many of the original traditions are still practiced today! Maybe we Brits see New Year's Eve as an evening of heavy drinking before the detox month that is January, but Scots use this holiday to set the tone for the year to come.
A popular custom is first-footing based around the age-old belief that the first person to enter your home in the New Year will dictate the fate of the house for the coming year. To ensure good fortune, Scots deem the most desirable first visitors tall and dark men bearing gifts. And the best gift of all is thought to be whisky, of course. Not much to ask for at all!
So, if the Scottish take on New Year's Eve is something that interests you, where else to take part other than the capital of Scotland itself? And if Edinburgh is not already at the top of your UK travel list, it will be once you discover what's on offer this New Year's.
Make the most of your trip and arrive here before December 30th when the whole city kickstarts its Hogmanay celebrations with a torchlight procession. Find a nearby bar and sit back and watch the streets of the city's Old Town transform into a sea of light or if you prefer delve in the midst of it all and purchase a ticket to be a torchbearer yourself. Whatever way you choose to see the procession, Edinburgh's medieval buildings and impressive skyline glowing amber is a sight not to be missed.
Celebrating the main event
Despite its three-day duration, the biggest night of this festival is still December 31st like elsewhere around the world. And when it comes to choosing how to spend this night, Edinburgh has an option for everyone. If live music is your thing, grab tickets and dance your way into 2019 at the Hogmanay concert held at the Gardens, headlined by Franz Ferdinand. And not only will you enjoy hits including "Take me out" by Scotland's most famous indie rock band, but celebrate the holiday like a real Scot with the gig's strong Scottish musical line-up.
Fireworks over Edinburgh Castle
If the fireworks show is the best part of every New Year's Eve for you, Edinburgh will not disappoint! A minute before midnight a countdown begins and when the clock strikes 12 fireworks are set off from Edinburgh castle. Maybe you've watched the New Years' fireworks on television before, but nothing quite compares to the sound and display of color in real life.
And don't worry about fighting crowds or paying silly amounts just to get a glimpse of the show. You can see the fireworks from most areas in the city. But whether it be from your hotel balcony, Calton Hill or at the Gardens concert, don't forget to brush up on your "Auld Lang Syne," which can be heard throughout the city when the fireworks are over!