Hogmanay in Edinburgh is a pretty big deal, where thousands of revellers flood to the iconic city to take part in the merriment. Originally just one evening of events, it now stretches across a whole three days and draws crowds from far and wide. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, this is a night you won't want to miss.
You can of course book into the street party where you’ll bump shoulders and jostle with fellow partygoers, soaking up the atmosphere in a wonderfully convivial way. Here you’ll be treated to all kinds of entertainment – from funfair rides and street food stalls through to the requisite fireworks that bounce off the castle walls and light up the night sky, ringing in the New Year. There are usually high-profile acts performing too. Let’s just say one year we saw Michelle McManus singing, who facilitated a proposal live on stage. If that doesn’t scream festive magic to you then frankly, we think you’ll never be satisfied.
Now, this is SquareMeal, so obviously when we talk about things to do at Hogmanay in Edinburgh, we can’t help but lean towards a delicious dinner. A meal could kick start the celebrations, and then you might want to head on somewhere else for cocktails and a view of the pyrotechnics.
Once you’ve settled on where to celebrate, the next dilemma is where to stay. Unless you’re lucky enough to call Edinburgh home, it can be tricky to find hotels or guesthouses with rooms to spare unless you book well in advance. Make sure to beat the crowds by securing your spot early.
After all the celebrations are done and dusted and we’re into 2024, you might be in need of something to soothe that sore head (if, like us, you are partial to a dram or two). We’d be only too pleased to help you along in your recovery with our guide to the best brunches in Edinburgh.
Anyway, back to the task in hand. We've scoured the area and rounded up the very best of this year’s Hogmanay parties in Edinburgh with killer menus, stunning views and beautiful interiors.
What: Tattu is one for those who put equal weighting on their surroundings as their supper, with its pretty dining room dripping in photo opportunities. Once you’ve soaked up the sights, you’ll find yourself facing a menu packed with Chinese please-all plates. There’s an evening line-up worth taking your time over, with a fixed menu that features three courses and a glass of fizz on arrival, with options to upgrade your package to include cocktails or Champagne. The spread of starters – or Wave One, as it’s written on the menu – includes chilli sesame roasted scallops with Chinese sausage and crushed edamame as well as glazed beef bao buns with pickled cucumber and crispy shallots. Mains run from Japanese black wagyu through to green pepper lobster and duck egg and sausage fried rice. Finish off on a sweet note with the now Insta-famous candyfloss winter cherry blossom dessert.
Where: 18 West Register Street, EH2 2AA
Book now: Tattu
What: Let us be clear here, Hawksmoor – in our opinion – is always a good idea. So, when coupled with a celebratory atmosphere like the one undisputedly found on New Year, you’re onto a winner. Here you’ll be able to enjoy the usual steaks that come chalked up on the board for you to pick your preferred weight and cut, plus seafood and sides galore. Don’t skip the triple cook chips – they’re to die for – or the creamed spinach that has achieved near cult status by now. Before, during or after the meal (or all three, it is New Year after all) make sure to sample the bar’s cocktails too.
Where: 23 West Register Street, EH2 2AA
Book now: Hawksmoor
What: While being in amongst the action comes with all its plus points, there is something to be said for being a bit of a bystander sometimes. Case in point: The Lookout’s New Year’s Eve offering. Here, if you choose the late sitting, you’ll be treated to views of the street party below while not having to deal with any of the crowds. On top of that you’ll enjoy a cocktail and whisky reception on the restaurant’s terrace with stunning views of the castle, as well as a multi-course menu of seasonal specials. Think Perthshire pheasant with pumpkin and port or venison tartare with quail egg and truffle. Prefer to be in bed before the bells, or not wanting to miss out on the later celebrations? Don’t worry, there’s an earlier sitting too.
Where: 38 Calton Hill, EH7 5AA
Book now: The Lookout
Duck and Waffle
What: Known for its iconic views and late night-dining, Duck and Waffle will give you a front row seat to all the Hogmanay festivities. With its modern and eclectic decor along with a guarantee of live performances throughout the entire evening, it's the perfect place to get your party started! For £75 per person you can enjoy a Champagne toast at midnight along with a three course tasting menu of carefully curated dishes including their famous crispy duck leg served with mustard maple syrup on a waffle! It's definitely a unique meal to end the year. Other delights include lobster gnocchi, duck breast carpaccio and a biscoff cheesecake. Promising an unforgettable start to 2024, Duck and Waffle is definitely one to look into for this year's celebration.
Where: 400-402 St James Crescent, EH1 3AD
Book now: Duck and Waffle
The Gardener’s Cottage
What: The cosy surrounds of The Gardener’s Cottage feel festive whatever the time of year, but come Christmas it’s just the kind of place we want to be. Housed in, surprisingly, an old Gardener’s Cottage, it’s made up of just two small rooms that are candlelit and filled with warm wooden furniture and communal tables. This convivial setup lends itself to parties, and if you partake in the New Year’s Eve line-up you’ll be in for a treat. Book in before the bells and then spill out onto the street to enjoy the fireworks on a full stomach.
Where: 1 Royal Terrace Gardens, EH7 5DX
Book now: The Gardener’s Cottage
What: Found in Edinburgh’s coolest neighbourhood, Leith’s Heron is run by two chefs with top-class credentials. The pair’s previous experience at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie and The Lookout by The Gardener’s Cottage has informed their modern Scottish approach that has evolved into the duo’s own distinct style. For New Year this year there will be four sittings in the dining room – 6.30, 7.30, 8.30 and 9.30pm – where guests will be treated to an extended tasting menu. At £300 per person it’s not cheap, but you’ll enjoy the very best of Scottish produce along with carefully curated wine pairings and a glass of Champagne, either on arrival or as a way to bring in the New Year at midnight. From the restaurant you’ll be able to see the shore and catch glimpses of the inevitable fireworks, ideal for an evening of drinking and dining with a view.
Where: 87 - 91a Henderson Street, BH6 6ED
Book now: Heron
What: A favourite destination for many locals, The Palmerston sits proudly in the city centre and serves a menu of straightforward plates that assemble a few beautiful ingredients in both clever and classic ways. The menu changes daily, including on Hogmanay, serving up fresh and seasonal produce that is bound to be delicious. With black and white tiled floors, wide windows and dark wooden panelling it's the quintessential bakery, so you know the desserts are going to be fantastic. It's a classic and cosy option if you're looking for something more budget friendly, so be sure to book ahead to bag yourself a seat.
Where: 1 Palmerston Place, EH12 5AF
Book now: The Palmerston
What: A 17th century townhouse with spectacular views of the city, Cannonball is a great option for your 2023 Hogmanay celebrations. Creating a cosy and intimate dining experience, it’s the perfect place to spend your evening with those closest to you - whilst still being right in the party, of course. An early bird seating at 5pm is ideal for those wanting to get home early or fill their stomachs before heading to the classic street party. Whereas the six-course tasting menu, available for £150 per person, provides the traditional Hogmanay experience, starting the evening with an in-house piper. Cannonball’s menu features trout tartare, venison wellington and ends the night with their classic chocolate cannonball desert. There’s even a more relaxed option, labelled The Bites and Bells package, which is perfect for sharing and still provides you with some of the best views in the city to watch the fireworks.
Where: 356 Castlehill, EH1 2NF
Book now: Cannonball
What: For classic fine dining, you can’t beat Wedgwood. Here on Hogmanay you’ll be served a delicious tasting menu that beautifully presents the best of Scottish produce in imaginative dishes. Committed to ensuring guests get a truly unique experience, chef Paul Wedgwood forages for some of the elements of his dishes himself, to add a final special touch. The restaurant is found on the Royal Mile, so you’ll be in the heart of the action here and well placed to enjoy the surrounding celebrations either before or after your meal.
Where: 267 Canongate, EH8 8BQ
Book now: Wedgwood
What: Gleneagles Edinburgh townhouse is a beautifully furnished home-from-home that sweeps you up from the minute you walk through the door with kind staff and wonderful dining options. The Spence is the main restaurant, with double height ceilings and astonishingly detailed interiors. Chef Jonny Wright is passionate about local produce, so the menu sings with Scottish seafood and carefully sourced accompanying produce. Come New Year you’ll find an appropriately festive menu that might finish with the dining room’s signature dessert trolley. Make sure to leave room for something sweet, or plump for a cheese selection instead. If you want something a little more exclusive, there are also two private dining rooms you can hire for your own Hogmanay parties.
Where: 39 St Andrew Square, EH2 2AD
Book now: The Spence
What: If you want somewhere to watch the fireworks without having to brave the elements, SKYbar Edinburgh offers the perfect place to enjoy a few glasses of something nice in cosy surroundings. Boasting arguably the best views of Edinburgh Castle in the whole city, you can guarantee a front row seat to watch the action from. The floor-to-ceiling windows will frame the show while you enjoy fizz and Scottish stovies, all to the background notes of great music.
Where: 34 Bread Street, EH3 9AF
Book now: SKYbar Edinburgh
Chaophraya Thai Restaurant
What: The modern Thai menu at Chaophraya isn’t going to win any awards any time soon, but it’s a pretty failsafe option for a tasty meal that the whole family will enjoy. So what makes this place so special then? Like a couple of other places on this list, it’s the views that secure its spot in the line-up. Looking right across the city’s rooftop to the castle, you won't find a better spot to watch the Hogmanay buzz. Various festive set menus range from £37-68 per person and offer a taste of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, like a rich lamb massaman and chilli basil duck.
Where: 33 Castle Street, EH2 3DN
Book now: Chaophraya Thai Restaurant
The Witchery by the Castle
What: For a fully blown atmosphere there’s no better place than The Witchery. Here you’ll have the option of two candlelit dining rooms with incredible old world details like carved, panelled walls and hand-painted ceilings. The festive menu includes indulgent dishes like baked Orkney scallops with maple smoked pancetta butter, roast partridge and beetroot tartare as well as red deer and haggis wellington, roasted duck breast or even a winter mushroom lasagne.
Where: 352 Castlehill, EH1 2NF
Book now: The Witchery by the Castle
What: If you're wanting to eat away from the crowds, but somewhere close enough that you'll still have a front row seat to the fireworks, then look no further than Dine. With its iconic atrium, complete with a life size apple tree in the centre of the restaurant, Dine ensures a luxurious evening for their Hogmanay gala night. Start your evening with Champagne and canapes, followed by a four-course meal, curated by Micheln starred chef Stuart Muir. There's a whole evening lineup that will keep you entertained from start to finish, with live entertainment from Edinburgh's finest, Gavin Paul, until 1am.
Where: 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED
Book now: Dine
What: The bright and sophisticated designs of Browns will provide the perfect backdrop for your celebrations this year. Just a short stroll from Edinburgh Castle and located in the historic New Town this destination is bound to put you in that festive spirit as you dine at the heart of all the action. For only £65 per person you can enjoy a four-course meal, complete with a bellini on arrival as well as truffles and mince pies to finish. It's a cheaper option than a lot of the others. but that doesn't mean you won't be dining in style. Enjoy scallops with apple and pancetta, fresh lobster and rib-eye steaks as well as delightful options for chocolate or citrus trio desserts and, of course, a great selection of classic and signature cocktails to wash it all down.
Where: 131-133 George Street, EH2 4JS
Book now: Browns
Still not found the one? Check out these restaurants in Edinburgh with great views.