Edinburgh New Year's Day 2019 - What's On & Open? - Things to do & Events

If you're in Edinburgh over Hogmanay and New Year, don't worry, the party doesn't end on 31st December. The city's New Year programme has a schedule of events to keep us entertained well beyond Hogmanay itself and into the first few days of New Year 2019.

Taking a dip ('dook') could be just the thing if you're feeling a little, shall we say, dehydrated from the previous evening, and might be one way to cure a hangover.

The Loony Dook

On Monday 1st January 2019, there will be a group of brave souls taking part in the 'Loony Dook', the annual splash in the River Forth. Now firmly a staple of the New Year celebrations, the event which has been going on for 30 years, sees willing participants plunging themselves into the freezing Firth of Forth and takes place just under the shadow of the world-famous Forth Rail Bridge. Tickets are £12 (with £1 from each ticket bought donated to the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea). however be quick as they sell out fast!

Visitors can join in the grand parade led by pipers through the high street of South Queensferry, a small village just outside Edinburgh. There are always plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants open on New Year's Day and swimmers are encouraged to return to one of the local pubs after their dip for a well-earnt hot soup and toddy.

Spectators are welcome and there are plenty of vantage points to view this crazy event which raises thousands of pounds for charity.

If you don't fancy plunging into icy water on its way to the North Sea (and I'd be the last person to blame you if you don't, since, frankly it sounds like my idea of hell), you can enjoy some other city centre festivities which will be going on at different venues across the city. None of them involve immersion in sub-zero waves.

Beginning on New Year's Day and continuing throughout January until Burns night (25th January) you will be able to see Edinburgh in a whole new light with Message from the Skies. Put together by Edinburgh City of Literature and supported by Creative Scotland, Message from the Skies will see a number of buildings across Edinburgh with the words of a number of renowned writers illuminated on them throughout the month. The list of writers are Billy Letford, Chitra Ramaswamy, Kapka Kassabova, Louise Welsh, Stef Smith and William Dalrymple. The destinations of the projections will be revealed at a later date and the good news is that it's completely free.

An event for all the family is the First Footers Family Ceilidh. The first dance begins at 12.30pm and takes places in the McEwan Hall. The good news is that it is completely free of charge for all attendees.

Ceilidh on New Year's Day in Edinburgh

If you’re not ready to let go of the Christmas festivities quite yet then you could always pay a visit to Edinburgh’s Christmas which is open right up until the first week of January 2019. Open across more than one site you can visit the markets which have the very best in festive food and drink if that’s what you’re craving or there’s Ice Skating and Carnival Rides if the kids need something to do. This year there's even a silent disco!

Edinburgh at Christmas & New Year's Day

If this sounds like all too much effort, given the festivities of the night before, later in the evening there are also some musical events which will require a little less exertion. Also both at the McEwan Hall, Capercaillie and Special Guests begins at 4.30pm and Carlos Nunez and Special Guests at 8pm. The Capercaillie event will see a number of musicians from across Europe sharing their variety of sounds in a cultural experience and celebration and Carlos Nunez keeps things a little closer to home with a select number of musicians from the Scottish music scene joining him for a special evening, celebrating all that Celtic music has to offer.

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What are your favourite things to do in Edinburgh on New Years Day? Let us know @Reserveapts!