Wow, I am way behind on blogging.  Since Dec. 17th we have traveled around England, Wales, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Scotland.  I will probably blog a bit out of order to get caught up so bare with me.  Today’s post will be about New Years in Edinburgh, Scotland!

We debated about what and where to go for New Years.  We normally don’t celebrate much and usually can’t stay up to midnight anyway.  We had heard about Edinburgh’s big New Years Festival called, “Hogmanay.” so we decided to give it a go while living in England.

We purchased tickets ahead of time for the Torchlight Procession and the Ceilidh Festival (prounounced “kay lee”).  Tickets to the Concerts were already sold out, but no biggie for us as we aren’t huge concert goers.

The Torchlight Procession took place on Friday, Dec. 30th.  There were 30,000+ participants in the Torchlight Procession. It was a very cool experience to walk through the city holding lit torches.  We finished the procession on top of hill, where there was a huge bonfire, Vikings, fireworks, and a light show.  We had been up on the hill for at least an hour after we were in the procession but we could still see many torchlight walkers down on the streets still in the procession.

torchlight

The girls are ready for the Torchlight Procession

viking

The little Viking wearing the Chief Vikings helmet

On New Years Eve we all decided to hike up Arthur’s Seat during the day. The hike was going well but as we got higher up and turned the corner the winds really picked up. When we reached the top the winds were gusting at 50+mph. It was insane.  We were laughing so hard as it was hard to stand up at times.  I should also note, we had a 12 year old and 11 year old girls with us. They loved how windy it was and got a real kick out of jumping up in the air and having the wind push them backwards.  I think it took 15 minutes to brush all of the tangles out of my hair from how windy it was. HA!

Trying not to blow off of Arthur’s Seat/The path

After Arthur’s Seat we explored the city a bit more and took in the sights.  We ended up walking 21,000 steps on New Years Eve and climbed 101 floors.  What a way to end the year.  We all took a short rest in the hotel before we headed out for the NY’s Eve festivities.

Edinburgh Castle–we didn’t have time to tour this but had just recently toured Warwick Castle and Cardiff Castle (England and Wales–will blog about those soon)

We went to the Ceilidh Festival around 9pm.  Again, all of this is with the kids in tow as well. We were 3 adults and 2 kids (we had friends over visiting from the states).  This festival was very family friendly and had a ton of Scottish dancing.  It was a lot of fun to learn the Scottish dances out on the cobble stone streets. We all had a wonderful time dancing and laughing.  Fireworks would also shoot off every hour starting at 9pm, but the midnight fireworks were what we were most excited about.

Cemeteries–I could explore and photograph these all day.

We made our way over to the Street Party to watch the midnight fireworks.  We were a tad hesitant about taking the girls over there as it can be more rowdy with people drinking, acting crazy, etc but everything felt very safe.  There were probably 80,000 people at the street party but everyone was very accommodating when trying to maneuver through the crowds and especially that we had the girls with us too.  Seriously, I think Scotland has the nicest people I have ever met. The girls loved the crowds and had no issues and were actually HITS for most of the people.  Both of the girls were wearing light up shoes that changed colors.  They received so many compliments from people on their shoes and BONUS, they were easy to spot in the crowds with those shoes on.  Parenting Score!

Good job lighting up Scotland girls!

lightupshoes

Aren’t these the coolest shoes ever? Girls loved them and so does everyone that sees them wearing them. We found these shoes at a Pop Up store in Birmingham, England but they are Red London brand so you should be able to buy them at Red London

The midnight fireworks lasted about 6 minutes but they were awesome.  It was pretty much a 6 minute finale show as they went BIG the entire 6 minutes and were even shooting off fireworks low and high on the hill over the castle.

holyroodpalace

Holyrood Palace–the Queen’s palace when she is in Edinburgh.  You could tour this as the queen was not in Edinburgh but alas we didn’t have time. Next time!

All in all we had a wonderful time in Edinburgh and do plan on going back again to explore more of the city.  We aren’t huge fans of crowds and packed cities but surprisingly we never felt crowded in Edinburgh and this was at one of the busiest times of year for them as around 150,000 people come from all around to go to Hogmanay.  The city did a wonderful job with event staff, security and trash control as well.  Bravo Scottish!

On New Years Day we decided to do a fun Edinburgh Dungeon Tour.  80 minutes underground learning about Edinburgh’s dark history.  The actors are great and we loved being hanged!  Check it out at Edinburgh’s Dungeon