Edinburgh's Hogmanay: Torchlight Procession

Submitted by edg on Thu, 4 Oct '18 8.40pm
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As in previous years, the 2018 Torchlight Procession opens the annual Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations with around 8,000 torchbearers creating a "river of fire" down the Royal Mile. The previous year saw around 30,000 people come out for the event.

The torchlight procession follows a new route introduced by Hogmanay organisers Underbelly in 2017, starting from three points in Edinburgh's Old Town - North Bridge, South Bridge, as well as outside St Giles Cathedral - and streams down to Holyrood Park. In previous years, the Procession climaxed with a Son et Lumière on Calton Hill.

On arriving at the park, torch-bearers will form a map of Scotland. To mark the end of Scotland’s Year of Young People, 14 wicker sculptures will come together inside the map to form a heart-shape, representing a collective national youth voice.

Holyrood Park offers good vantage points to watch the torches blazing down the street. 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. The torches themselves are wax-based, like a big candle.


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 (plus £1 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 (TBC) on 30th December at the chosen Procession starting point.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay donates 50 pence from every ticket sold for the Torchlight Procession to One City Trust, the Torchlight Procession Charity Partner for 2018. One City Trust is dedicated to fighting inequality and exclusion in Edinburgh.