With earlier fireworks shows and family-friendly ceilidhs, there's plenty of ways to ring in the New Year and still get the kids to bed at a reasonable hour
Think Hogmanay is the child-free person's game? Think again. As Edinburgh's Hogmanay programme gets bigger and more exciting each year, it's also more inclusive than ever before, with plenty of events aimed specifically at sharing the Hogmanay excitement with the entire family. So instead of staying at home or foisting the kids on the grandparents, check out the family-friendly Hogmanay experiences taking place this year and don't miss a moment of the New Year magic.
Bid adieu to the old year in a blaze of glory at the annual Torchlight Procession (Sun 30 Dec). This spectacular event, which formally kicks off the Hogmanay celebrations, creates a river of light running through the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town as torchbearers, pipes and drummers stream towards Holyrood Park. Upon arrival, the torchbearers will form an outline of Scotland's borders, and at its heart will be 14 wicker sculptures, each created by a young person from a different Scottish region. The sculptures will then be set ablaze, marking an end to 2018's Year of Young People. Though children of all ages can attend the procession, buggies are not allowed on the processional route.
Have that magical midnight moment with your bairns – at 6pm. The popular family event Bairns Afore (31 Dec) returns to Hogmanay this year, which allows families to enjoy the full Hogmanay experience together and still be home for the wee ones' bedtime. This year, Fringe favourites Massaoke will be taking over the main stage in West Princes Street Gardens and bringing the audience to their feet in a sing-along party, before the skies above Edinburgh Castle are lit up by an extended fireworks specifically designed for the bairns.
Baby Loves Disco
Get the little ones kilted and booted for Baby Loves Disco's Big Hogmanay Bash (Sun 30 & Mon 31 Dec), the massively popular dayclubbing event for all generations. Boogie along to the pop anthems of yore, as well as the beats that filled the dance floor this year. There will also be a host of children's activities taking place in the Spiegeltent as well, from facepainting and dress-up to bubbles and balloons. Sunday's event will also host a short ceilidh and an Auld Lang Syne practice run with 'toddler torches', for those who can't make it to the full-blown Torchlight Procession, and Monday will celebrate 'the bells' with a countdown to midnight… in Queensland, Australia!
First Footers Family Ceilidh
Start the new year on the right foot at the First Footers Family Ceilidh (Tue 1 Jan), a free all-ages ceilidh taking place in the beautiful McEwan Hall. Not only will it be the perfect introduction to the Dashing White Sergeant and the Gay Gordons for the kids, you can also be assured that some of the more infamously physical dances (see: Strip the Willow) won't get too out of hand.
Take part in the age-old tradition of the Loony Dook (Tue 1 Jan), wherein brave souls take the plunge into the bone-chilling waters of the Forth to throw off the Hogmanay hangover and raise money for charity. This year £1 from every ticket will be donated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which saves lives at sea across the country. Luckily, whether you'll be making the leap or cheering on the Dookers from the beach, there'll be plenty of restaurants, cafés and pubs in South Queensferry open on New Year's Day for the family to warm up in and say cheers to the year ahead.
Edinburgh's Hogmanay, Various Venues, Sun 30 Dec–Tue 1 Jan, edinburghshogmanay.com