City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh's Hogmanay: Torchlight Procession


By edg - Posted on 21 September 2016

Edinburgh's Hogmanay Torchlight Procession
Event details
Time: 
Friday, December 30, 2016 - 7:00pm - 8:45pm
Venue: 
Calton Hill
Telephone (box office): 
0844 573 8455

The 2016 Torchlight Procession opens the annual Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations with around 8,000 torchbearers creating a "river of fire" through city streets. The previous year saw around 30,000 people come out for the event.

The torches are wax-based, like a big candle. The Torchlight Procession starts at 7pm in Edinburgh's Old Town and culminates with a "Son et Lumiere & Firework Finale" at around 8.30pm on Calton Hill. The event is free to watch, but only those carrying a £12 torch or those in a torchbearer's group, who are wearing a £3 wristband, can take part in the procession.

A bunch of noisy, hairy vikings from Shetland will lead the procession through the city centre and up to the ancient Edinburgh meeting ground of Calton Hill. Access to Calton Hill for the Bonfire and Fire Elements and the Son Et Lumiere fireworks - is exclusively for torchbearers and wristband wearers. In previous years, the event was free and unticketed.

Stalwarts of the Torchlight Procession are the Up Helly Aa vikings who have lead the torch carriers for many years, accompanied by the pipes and drums of both traditional and contemporary outfits.

In the past, the pipes and drums component has included the Dhol Drummers, the Erskine, Stewart's Melville and Coalburn Pipe Bands, the Sativa Drummers, She-Boom, the Coalburn Silver Band, the Impact Drumming Group, the Gutty Slippers and Commotion.

How to get your torches

Vouchers for the wax-based torches cost £12 (including box office booking fee) and wristbands cost £3 in advance. One person from each group must buy a torch and the rest must wear wrist bands to take part in the torchlight procession.

The event is not recommended for under-5s and buggies are not allowed.

Vouchers are available from the Hogmanay Box Office and other Hogmanay ticket outlets. Torch vouchers can be exchanged for torches from 2pm on 30th December at West Parliament Square.

Money raised by the sale of torches goes to charity.