Honestly, I wish I had read more about it online than just looking at the official site!
Electric, festive (with Christmas lights and the European Christmas markets still on) and with so many thousands of people from all over the world? Just a blur of fun. One of my favourite moments was when we made friends-for-a-night with a bunch of locals who found it "amazing" that we had come all this way from Australia just for Hogmanay. Local things often don't feel as exciting to locals of course.
I also loved how casual the night was. Being a festival in winter after all, high heels and small dresses weren't the look.
Basically Edinburgh is built for a good time. The old buildings make the city, lights and music have a rustic charm. The fireworks over the castle every hour just increases that tenfold.
The Torchlight Procession (December 30)
I ultimately decided against marching in the procession. Watching the march in the beginning, I was in two minds about whether I should have done it. On one side, I would have got candle wax all over my clothes. (Kudos to the people who wore plastic ponchos!) On the other, people in the first part of the queue (directly behind the vikings and the Scottish marching band with bagpipes) looked like they were having a great time.
But after the first hour, both viewers and marchers looked tired and somewhat bored. I even saw one girl struggle furiously as she tried to put her torch out! After a few more minutes of failing to give her mangled torch off to anyone she saw, she left it in the street and ran away from the evidence.
I'm not sure how long I would want to be holding a hot flame and walk around Edinburgh for, despite it being a spectacular photo opportunity. Eventually the procession gets up to Calton Hill with some fireworks and music. But I'm not sure how many people in the back of the queue could see all of that action.
The Street Party/New Year's Eve Party (December 31)
With a world renowned party comes a whole lot of people. The walkways, crammed full, meant that once you found yourself up a street to watch a stage you were stuck there unless you wanted to brave the crush. Fortunately for us, the 'Guilty Pleasures' DJs were on all night at our new home for several hours, so we made a good choice and could still escape the mosh to watch the hourly fireworks. The street party was the best new year's party's I've had, and one of the best festivals I've been too. I would go back again in a heartbeat,
If I could do it again, I probably wouldn't have done it any differently, meaning I would have chosen the same stage playing that music first, knowing all well I would be stuck there. Of course, that meant that we couldn't end up catching any other music, which I would have liked to do to break up the evening. There was also a few people we knew who couldn't get back into the official area due to overcrowding. I also hoped that people who had paid extra for the Concert in the Gardens managed to get there...
Have a plan before you get lost in the city and can't get anywhere else. The same street as a toilet is a good idea! Also plan your drinking ahead if you want to have a few. Supermarkets don't sell you alcohol past 10pm and 500ml cans or plastic is all the alcohol you're allowed to carry in... Unless you're creative of course. There are bars and food vendors there, but I didn't see or reach one past 9pm.
The Town - Edinburgh
Divided into Old Town and New Town, most of the action is in New Town, in terms of the Torchlight procession and the Street Party, with all of Edinburgh's main attractions in Old Town. During Hogmanay, there is a few fences up and at other sights (such as Edinburgh Castle), it's pretty packed. But with the town buzzing during festivals, I think it's one of the best times to go.