Hogmanay – How will Scottish Commercial Propertied Benefit?

Posted on 31 December, 2011 by Kirsten Kennedy

Hogmanay – no, not a spelling error, farm animal or tropical disease, but the biggest night of the year for Scotland. Commercial properties all over the country take the opportunity to celebrate the coming of the New Year, with everywhere from town halls to castles looming over cities opening their doors to events designed to make the night memorable.

Festivities that frequently draw crowds of several thousand include fireworks displays and concerts at Edinburgh and Stirling Castles, a huge street party in the centre of Glasgow, and of course the more traditional fireball swinging in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.

Hogmanay is a huge night for these areas, as the tourism brought to them can bring in huge profits for a range of commercial properties. As people flood the area, hotels become fully booked, commercial retail properties selling Scottish memorabilia see a massive turnover in custom and local pubs and bars can often find that there are more customers than their commercial property can hold.

This year, Edinburgh has pulled out all the stops in order to see in 2012 in style. The castle fireworks, which have become a staple of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, are promised to be bigger and better than ever, while in Princes Street Gardens, stages are being erected in preparation for world-renowned artists Primal Scream to perform before the bells. In previous years the event has been totally sold out due to the enormous popularity of the city – as a bonus, after a day of recovery on New Years Day the many shopping centres, a few examples being the St James Mall, Princes Street Mall and of course Princes Street itself, open their doors to commence the January sales.

On the other side of the country, Edinburgh’s rival city Glasgow is determined not to be outdone in celebrations. Rather than throwing their traditional Hogmanay Street Party, this year George Square is being transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with ice rink, as a family friendly alternative to the drunken revelries taking place in the majority of other cities in the country. However, this return to a more “traditional” New Year has not gone down well with many people. Despite Councillor Gordon Matheson claiming that due to the financial situation this year “it is imperative that we get the best bang for every Glasgow buck”, locals have hit back with the argument that the millions of pounds in tourist spending brought to the city by the street party is more important than cost cutting on the event itself.

One local says “Many people come to Scotland to experience the traditional Hogmanay celebrations and Glasgow’s George Square Party, whilst not on the same scale as Edinburgh’s, nevertheless has gained a universal reputation.”

“People want to visit other countries and I can just envisage the loss to hotels, pubs, shops, taxis et al at the cancellation of this event.”

It will remain to be seen whether the cancellation of the street party will be a success, or a complete loss of revenue for local commercial properties on what is usually one of their most profitable nights of the year.


Meanwhile, Stirling are taking traditional to a new level, with headlining act the Red Hot Chilli Pipers expected to be playing right up to the bells. This modern pipe band is bound to attract visitors keen to experience a traditional Scottish New Year, complete with Ceilidh dancing and a spectacular fireworks display in the forecourt of Stirling Castle. Event organisers are praying for a clear night, as in previous years last minute cancellations due to adverse weather conditions have been known to put a “damper” on the celebrations!

Wherever you are for Hogmanay, it is almost certain that an element of the Scottish tradition will work its way into your plans, whether you have a “wee dram” of whisky at midnight, or sing Auld Lang Syne with friends and relatives after Big Ben has chimed. So welcome your first footers, toast your loved ones and have a very happy new year.




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