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New Route for Historic Torchlight Procession Revealed

Edinburgh's Hogmanay’s world-renowned Torchlight Procession is set to make a return for this year’s 30th anniversary celebrations for the first time since 2019.

New Route for Historic Torchlight Procession Revealed

Article Source: Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Last Updated: 7 December 2023 12:53

Edinburgh's Hogmanay’s world-renowned Torchlight Procession is set to make a return for this year’s 30th anniversary celebrations for the first time since 2019, blazing a trail on a brand-new route through the city’s Old Town, before a fiery final location beneath the majestic gaze of Edinburgh Castle. The event marks the start of New Year celebrations around the world as organisers join forces with presenting partner EventScotland and local charity Social Bite partner, shining a light on homelessness, to kick-off four days of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festivities with this iconic event. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is produced by Unique Assembly, presented on behalf of Principal Funding Partners City of Edinburgh Council.

The spectacular event will see up to 20,000 participants carry a torch on a brand-new route, creating a stunning river of fire throughout Scotland’s capital. The procession will begin at the Meadows for the first time ever, where guests will enjoy a host of entertainment while collecting their torches, with live street theatre, fire performers, pipe bands and drummers to start the Hogmanay celebrations early. The family friendly event will bring a carnival atmosphere to the Meadows before the ceremonial Torchlight Procession embarks on its new route.

Thousands of torch carriers will set off on the new route up Middle Meadow Walk, crossing George IV Bridge and making their way along Johnston Terrace before reaching a picturesque finishing point on Castle Terrace beneath Edinburgh Castle. The new route will see the procession pass some of the capital’s most famous landmarks including the National Museum of Scotland, Greyfriars Kirkyard, the Tolbooth Kirk, the National Library of Scotland and much more. Leading the procession through Edinburgh’s historic Old Town will be Shetland’s South Mainland Up Helly Aa’ Jarl Squad, who previously made history when they appointed their first ever female Jarl.

For the first time at the family-friendly event, performers from Edinburgh’s Beltane Society and more will delight crowds in the Meadows at the start of the event with entertainment from 6pm. The Torchlight Procession will then move off on its journey through the capital at 7.30pm, ending underneath Edinburgh Castle on Castle Terrace at 8.30pm - 9pm.

Marking the start of New Year celebrations around the world, the Torchlight Procession has become one of Edinburgh Hogmanay's most iconic events, joining forces with acclaimed homelessness charity Social Bite to raise vital funds to help those most in need this winter. With an anticipated sell-out event ahead, organisers aim to raise over £50,000 throughout the festival to fund Social Bite projects tackling homelessness, with £2 from each Torch sold and £1.50 from Procession tickets donated directly to the charity.

The atmospheric event starts four days of celebrations for the 30th anniversary of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, as revellers enjoy the incredible hospitality of Edinburgh and mark the closing of another year. On 29 December Edinburgh’s iconic New Town venue Assembly Rooms welcomes an all-star comedy line-up with Ho Ho Hogmanay featuring Susie McCabe & Fred MacAulay; Edinburgh’s Blue Rose Code and special guests present an evening of Scottish Folk, Soul and Americana at the Night Afore Hoolie in the Assembly Rooms on 30 December; and the internationally acclaimed ABBA sensations Björn Again headline the Night Afore Disco Party with Greatest Hits Radio in Princes Street Gardens. On 31 December celebrations begin early with Bairns New Year Revels at Assembly Rooms. The tranquil Candlelit Concert at St. Giles’ Cathedral is already sold-out, kicking off the evening’s proceedings; Edinburgh’s original indoor Hogmanay party; the New Year Revels returns to Assembly Rooms with a night of live music and ceilidh dancing; and 50,000 party-goers ring in the bells at Edinburgh’s world-famous Street Party and Concert in the Gardens headlined by cultural icons Pulp, and with limited tickets remaining, organisers are encouraging revellers to book now to avoid disappointment. Finally, on 01 January Edinburgh’s Hogmanay hosts a day of free entertainment across the city with its First Footin’ Culture Trail, Sprogmanay, and Family Ceilidh events.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the return of the Torchlight Procession, kicking off four days of fantastic Hogmanay revelries across the city as part of this year’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

“Events play an important role in our communities, enabling us all to connect and share memorable experiences. The Torchlight Procession along with the wider Hogmanay programme offers a uniquely authentic cultural experience for both visitors and locals to come and enjoy, and I look forward joining everyone on 29 December as we blaze a trail on the brand-new route.”


City of Edinburgh Council Culture and Communities Convener, Councillor Val Walker said: “We’re absolutely delighted to see the return of the Torchlight Procession and the new route to this year’s Hogmanay celebrations. This element of the programme was always extremely popular with residents and visitors alike and I’m sure it will be again this year for the 30th anniversary celebrations.

“I’m also really pleased to see the partnership work between the organisers and Social Bite, to raise vital funds and awareness for their excellent work supporting vulnerable people in Edinburgh and more widely across the country.
“Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and our wider Winter Festivals are cornerstones of our globally acclaimed cultural calendar and I’m sure that this year’s special anniversary edition will once again be a success.”


Al Thomson, Co-Director UniqueAssembly, who produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay said: “Hogmanay is a time for celebration and reflection, heralding in new beginnings and opportunities for the coming year, with many making New Year resolutions to help make things better for others. Working in partnership with our friends at Social Bite, we want to help their fight to end homelessness across Scotland, giving those who have fallen on hard times the chance of new beginnings and opportunities in 2024. We’re delighted to be able to bring back the Torchlight Procession for our 30th anniversary celebrations with support from EventScotland, and would encourage everyone to join us, carrying a torch for charity and shining a light on homelessness in Scotland".

Further information and tickets for Edinburgh's Hogmanay 30th anniversary celebrations are available www.edinburghshogmanay.com

Image: The Noise Committee's Judyta Tulodzieck, EventScotland’s Rebecca Edser, UniqueAssembly’s Penny Dougherty, Social Bite’s Josh Littlejohn MBE and Circus Alba's James Armandy.

Image credit: Duncan McGlynn

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