Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh's Hogmanay to include six-hour party

Street party Image copyright Chris Watt

A six-hour street party carnival is at the heart of a "revamped" programme for Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations.

The 2018 programme is the first to be directed by Underbelly, which is well known for organising events at the capital's annual Fringe festival.

Organisers promised the celebrations would be "refreshed, re-energized and better than ever before".

The 60,000-capacity street party will begin at 19:00 and last until 01:00 on New Year's Day.

Bands and DJs on stages, street performers, dancers, acrobats, flash mobs and fire eaters will combine to bring a carnival spirit to Princes Street.

Actor and presenter Sanjeev Kohli, best-known for playing shopkeeper Navid in the BBC comedy Still Game, will host the street party.

An extended fireworks display from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle will see in the New Year when the midnight hour strikes.

The three-day festival opens on 30 December with the traditional Torchlight Procession.

It will blaze a new path through the historic heart of the city this year, around Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament towards Holyrood Park.

The event will also mark the beginning of 2018 as Scotland's Year of Young People, organisers said.

The following day, families will have the chance to celebrate New Year together in West Princes Street Gardens at a new event entitled Bairns Afore.

Image copyright Chris Watt

The family-friendly celebration includes an hour of entertainment and ends with its very own "midnight" fireworks moment at 18:00, allowing families to take their children home before the late night fun gets under way.

On New Year's Day, people will get the chance to take part in the annual dive into the chilly Firth of Forth for the Loony Dook, raising money for a range of charities in the process.

At dusk, the Unesco city of literature will celebrate its literary heritage with projections across buildings and landmarks.

Underbelly directors Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam said: "We are humbled and thrilled to be delivering a new programme for Edinburgh's Hogmanay in 2018.

"Edinburgh can claim to be the home of New Year festivals and we will work hard to ensure the programme delivers something fresh and exciting every year to keep residents, UK visitors and international tourists flocking to this world famous festival city through the winter months."

Winter Festivals Minister Alasdair Allan said: "Hogmanay hugely contributes to promoting Scotland as a fantastic visitor destination, a host of the world's major events and a dynamic country rich in culture and creativity.

"Most importantly, it enhances Scotland's reputation as a place where everyone is assured a warm welcome, whether they are visiting the country, are here for business or to study, or have chosen to live and work here."

The City of Edinburgh Council awarded the three-year contract for the Christmas and Hogmanay festivities to Underbelly earlier this year.

Unique Events had organised the city's official Hogmanay celebrations since they were established in 1993.

Tickets for a number of the events are on sale from Tuesday.

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