Well, the festivities are over for another year and thankfully all the stresses that come with it. I trust you’ve all had a very Merry Christmas and would like to wish a Happy Hogmanay to you all! I say Hogmanay not because I’m Scottish (I’m not), but because I have spent the last eleven years celebrating the New Year in Edinburgh. Funnily enough I’m not one for revisiting holiday destinations but I can think of no better place than Scotland to bring in the New Year. After a disastrous Millennium Eve at home, I swore I’d never spend another New Year here and so every year around the 29th, I head north to Edinburgh in time for the Hogmanay celebrations beginning.

It all kicks off with a torchlight procession from Parliament Square which snakes down The Mound onto Prince’s Street to the top of Calton Hill where they set fire to a huge Viking ship while the fireworks go off to the sounds of pipes and drums. It’s a spectacular sight to see over 20,000 torches being carried through this beautiful historic city. There are several other things going on over the three day festival including a candlelit concert in St Giles’ Cathedral, Ceilidh in the Mound Precinct and The Loony Dook at South Queensferry, the annual splash in the River Forth (yeah, I gave that one a miss).

I have to admit that there didn’t seem to be as much going on this year as in previous years but if you’ve never been and want to try something new for next year, it’s definitely worth a visit. I spent New Year’s Eve at the Concert in The Gardens watching Bombay Bicycle Club and Primal Scream followed by the World’s biggest Auld Lang Syne. Although this was a ticketed event, there are plenty of other bands on the other stages throughout the street which are free with your street pass (acquired in advance) which this year included Friendly Fires, Mark Ronson and The Vaccines. There really is something for everyone. There are also fairground rides and a large outdoor ice rink surrounded by a traditional German Christmas market throughout the festival period (which are also there from late November).

If it’s somewhere you’d ever fancy for New Year, plan well ahead as accommodation gets fully booked fairly early and street passes go on sale in October. Oh, and take plenty of warm clothing. It was freezing this year! You can keep your heels and sparkly dresses at home. It’s hats, scarves and gloves all the way. Unless of course you want hypothermia.