Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba

Help shape the future of business support on visitscotland.org. Giving feedback through our short survey only takes a few minutes.

Article published 07/12/2023

About the torchlight procession

The torchlight procession is set to make a return for this year’s 30th anniversary celebrations. This will be the first torchlight procession since 2019.

Kicking off four days of Hogmanay celebrations on 29 December 2023, it will blaze a trail on a brand-new route through the city’s Old Town. The fiery final location is set 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. The procession will kick-off four days of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festivities with this iconic event.

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.

Go to edinburghshogmanay.com for tickets and more information

Three people posing with flaming torches

EventScotland’s Rebecca Edser, UniqueAssembly’s Penny Dougherty, and Social Bite’s Josh Littlejohn MBE (credit: Duncan McGlynn)

About the 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. This includes the National Museum of Scotland, Greyfriars Kirkyard, the Tolbooth Kirk, the National Library of Scotland, and many more.

Shetland’s South Mainland Up Helly Aa’s Jarl Squad will lead the procession through Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. The Jarl Squad previously made history when they appointed their first ever female jarl.

Edinburgh's Beltane Society

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 to 9pm.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is produced by Unique Assembly and presented on behalf of the principal funding partner, the City of Edinburgh Council.

Fire performers posing with torches in front of a castle

Beltane Society’s Judyta Tulodzieck and James Armandy (credit: Duncan McGlynn)

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.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events

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.

Councillor Val Walker, City of Edinburgh Council Culture and Communities Convener

Hogmanay is a time for coming together in reflection and celebration, and what better way to do that then by carrying a torch – for heralding new beginnings, for welcoming new friends, for those lost, and for the fight to end homelessness.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay isn’t the same without the torchlight procession.

We’re delighted to be able to bring it back for our 30th anniversary celebration thanks to support from EventScotland.

Al Thomson, Co-Director UniqueAssembly

Related links