Happy Hogmanay!

If you’re in the UK during New Year’s Eve, make your way to Edinburgh. It’s the place to be in UK. In fact, the Scots have their own word for New Year’s Eve/Day – Hogmanay (pronounced “hug-meh-nay”). Many Scots also have an extra day off during the New Years (2nd January) as it’s a Scottish Bank Holiday so there’s plenty to celebrate.

Not much is known about the word’s origins but there are three theories suggesting its Gaelic, Norse or French roots. Considering Gaelic is a Celtic language, the Vikings invaded Scotland and, at one point, the Scottish had an alliance with France to protect themselves against the English, all theories are quite plausible.

Christmas at the Dome on George Street. Serves drinks, afternoon tea, dinner. Smells like cinnamon when you enter and they receive special permission to have a Christmas tree on top of their bar.
Christmas at the Dome on George Street. Serves drinks, afternoon tea, dinner. Smells like cinnamon when you enter and they receive special permission to have a Christmas tree on top of their bar.

 

Regardless of where the word comes from, Hogmanay in Edinburgh is an amazing event. On the 30th January there a processional to Calton Hill in Edinburgh’s city centre. There’s also plenty to do around the city centre as Edinburgh’s Christmas markets are open serving mulled wine, meats, cheeses and much more. There’s ice skating in Princes Street Gardens and for the brave the 60m (120 foot) high Star Flyer that provides an amazing 360 degree view of the city and the Firth of Forth to the north.

the Star Flyer at Edinburgh's St Andrew's Square
the Star Flyer at Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Square

Never one to say “no” to a ride, I joined B and his sister Katie on the Star Flyer. Since my hands were glued to the cable wire, I don’t have any photos. However, Katie was far braver than me and took a few photos of us looking terrified circling over the city in the cold winds. Despite the looks of concern we’re making, it was a great ride and I highly recommend it – especially if you’re visiting the city.

katie and I on the star flyer

On New Year’s Eve, Princes Street becomes a huge street party, with bands performing throughout the night. You must buy tickets to join the street party. Book as early as possible as they go fast. Roughly 80,000 people are packed onto Princes Street as they celebrate and wait for the midnight fireworks over Edinburgh Castle. It’s an amazing experience. I suggest bringing mulled wine in a thermos to keep you warm and merry. It can be either cold, windy and dry or cold, windy and rainy so make sure you dress for the weather to make the most out of the night. Afterwards, make your way to the clubs as they have special DJs and bands playing until the wee hours. Again, book club tickets ahead to ensure you have your whole Hogmanay night planned.

This year I spent New Years at a flat party with B and a few friends. The flat has a roof terrace near city centre and we were able to see both sets of fireworks while toasting with prosecco. Here’s a brief view of Edinburgh’s fireworks from a far. Wishing you all a Happy Hogmanay wherever you are x2013 NYE from rooftop terrace

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