When it comes to New Year’s Eve, there’s only one place on the planet you need to be - and that’s Edinburgh. The party starts early in the Scottish capital with a torchlight procession through the streets on Wednesday 30 December. The sight of 30,000 flame-bearing revellers snaking through the ancient streets of Edinburgh is unmissable and kicks off the annual Hogmanay festival in fine style.
For New Year’s Eve, the city centre is transformed into a sprawling party venue from 7pm, with live music, DJs and entertainment from 9pm until the wee hours. The event was named in the Discovery Channel’s Top 25 World Travel Experiences - and for good reason. This year Maximo Park and Craig Charles are among the performers.
Become a record-breaker at the world’s largest outdoor ceilidh and don’t worry if you don’t know the moves - some nice men in kilts are on hand to help you out. If you prefer Baroque to rock ’n’ roll you can always head to St Giles Cathedral at 6pm for another moving moment by firelight. This year’s Candelit Concert features the voices of the renowned St. Giles Cathedral Choir, serving up spine-tingling moments as standard.
This being the land of bravehearts, the fun doesn’t end once 2016 rears its head either. On New Year’s Day you can blow away the cobwebs in spectacular fashion with the Stoats Loony Dook. Billed as an “annual dip in the freezing River Forth”, this fundraiser sees hearty souls wade into the icy waters at South Queensferry. Luckily you’ll be offered plenty of free porridge to bring you back up to room temperature.
Yes there will be fireworks wherever you go - and yes there will be good cheer. And even Jools on the telly. But sometimes you need something a little different from your annual New Year’s Eve celebrations. May we suggest a Great Gatsby-themed night with all the Roaring Twenties trappings of excess, glamour and class?
This vintage extravaganza will be hosted at The Fitzgerald in Manchester’s hip Northern Quarter, a drinking den that pays homage to the Prohibition era and has quickly gained a reputation as an atmospheric, boho cocktail bar with period decor and more than a touch of glamour.
There’s something secretive and enigmatic about The Fitzgerald with its back-street entrance and speakeasy ambiance, so it should come as little surprise that its New Year offering is similarly inspired.
Entry costs just £10 and includes a glass of prosecco on arrival - everything else is included in the entrance fee. DJs will play a mix of jazz and electro-swing, plus live music from 20s-era bands. Those cocktails? Sipped out of cut-glassware to be placed on tables made for dancing on. There are 30 cocktails to choose from if you’re a connoisseur, with dependable old fashionsed to sacred negronis with a sweet Campari sorbet, plus a wide range of champagnes and wines.
Marking the culmination of the Winter Festival, a programme of seasonal events around the city and beyond, the Winter Carnival brings together artists, performers and revellers. And it’s just one of the many activities planned for Newcastle as Geordies and visitors alike prepare to see in 2016 in style.
On the night, the restaurants, bars and hotels that line the Tyne on either side of the water are transformed into cosy grottoes hosting a number of big bashes. From black-tie balls to indoor funfairs, there are plenty of ways to have fun here. And people flock to the city in their thousands to sample the famously friendly atmosphere.
The Carnival itself kicks off the festivities with an early evening parade from Grey’s Monument. Taking its cues from European myths, where huge creatures emerge on the last day of the year to ward off evil spirits, the theme of the event is Wild Beasts and Dark Streets. The parade reaches its climax with a fireworks display at 6pm at the Civic Centre, which is handy for the city’s nightlife and huge range of eateries.
Wend your way back down to the Quayside and you’ll find the city filling up with revellers as midnight approaches. Newcastle’s party hotspots - including the Bigg Market and Graingertown - get into full swing and don’t stop until the small hours. And when the clock strikes midnight the city’s iconic Tyne Bridge is framed by a spectacular fireworks display.