Date: 28th December 2016 – 1st January 2017
This has always been on the bucket list and we finally made it! We were so excited. So we bought this as a present for my little sister Hannah and my Mum. We had booked an apartment just outside Edinburgh in October for the few days. Yes it was expensive but far cheaper than staying in the city.
With four weeks to go our apartment contacted us to say they have had to cancel our booking. GUTTED! PANIC! We now had to find a place in four weeks for the most expensive and busiest time of year. We spent hours trailing the internet for a place to stay that didn’t cost thousands. In the end we came across an apartment located just off the Royal Mile for £800, we quickly booked it! We highly recommend staying with St Giles Apartments Edinburgh. Back to excitement!
Our apartment was amazing and we arrived really late so they left the key in the lock box. We were so lucky to get this apartment as it was so close to the castle and main sights. It also meant we didn’t have to tackle public transport on New Years Eve which was such a bonus. The apartment had two bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and living room. We will definitely be staying here again.
Events and Attractions
- Christmas Markets were so cute. Probably one of the best Christmas Markets I have been to. There were lots of little stalls selling unique and cool things. My Mum picked up some handmade plates and things. Fun to pack in hand luggage only! We found a stall that did Trudelniks… but nothing like the one in Prague. We enjoyed eating the German Sausages and drinking mulled wine. It was lovely to walk through all of the market including the fairground that they had. Worth the visit if you are in the city at the right time of year.
- Torchlight Procession This was our first Hogmanay experience along with 17,000 other torchbearers. TOP TIP! Pick your torch up early to avoid the queues. The line outside the Hogmanay office to pick up tickets was ridiculous and later on in the evening it was the same to pick up the torches. We went to the starting point and joined the others. It is a very well organised event with lots of security. There was someone on a microphone giving instructions and entertainment as we waited to start our walk. They light the torches in what I can only describe as a cautious Mexican wave! They light the first row and then people behind them light of their torches. This continues until all are lit. At the start it felt a little claustrophobic especially when the torches were lit. I felt like people were standing very close to each other. Once the walk started people spread out and there was far more room. So we walked down to Princes Street and up Calton Hill. The views were amazing of all the torches especially down Princes Street and up the winding paths to Calton Hill. All along the route there are buckets to put your torches in if you are finished and we always felt safe. At Calton Hill there was entertainment and fireworks which were amazing. Loved every minute of it. TOP TIP! You are in Scotland in winter so dress up warm with plenty of layers as it will be cold. We were lucky and the weather was dry for our whole time in Edinburgh.
- Street Party We read in the small booklet that you can take food and drink in but no glass bottles. WINNER! We were straight down to Tesco to buy snacks and soft drinks to take in with us. We knew the price would be really high once inside the street party. So the street party is like no other, you are on Princes Street with around 75,000 others. There is security before you go in where your bags are searched and all glass is taken off you. There was also plenty of security on the inside including armed Police on the roofs of buildings. Everyone was having fun and enjoying the night, it was a great atmosphere. There are three different stages with different music. We walked around for the first hour and bought a few beers and things to eat. We then claimed a spot looking at the castle. The reason we think Edinburgh has the best New Years Fireworks is that they have warm up fireworks at 9PM, 10PM and 11PM. One of these is dedicated to a charity and most the fireworks will be in the Charity colour. Then you get your countdown projected onto the castle and cannon fires and the main fireworks start. They last well over 10 minutes and were brilliant. Just when you thought that was the ‘Big Button’ (the last ones) more would go off. It was perfect. TOP TIP! Make sure you have been to the toilet well before midnight as the queues for the toilets were huge all night. I nearly missed the fireworks. When it is kick out time just go with the crowd. You have thousands of people trying to leave so just go with it and work out where you are once out of the arena and have more room. It was a fantastic night and we could go back every year. They have so much on in the three days to suit any needs, budgets and families.
- Edinburgh Castle One night we decided to go to the castle as it was getting lit up in colours ready for new years. We went inside the castle a few years ago and recommend it to a first time visitor. You also get great views of the city from up there. It was rather late and had the place to ourselves so we took a few photos and could even walk over the bridge to the door.