New Year's Day 2019: What's on in Edinburgh

DEPENDING on how you feel about it, January 1 is either one of two things: simply the day-after-the-night-before or a fresh new day to be embraced.
The famous Loony Dook in South Queensferry is not for the faint heartedThe famous Loony Dook in South Queensferry is not for the faint hearted
The famous Loony Dook in South Queensferry is not for the faint hearted

If you see it as the former, you may well be planning to spend the day - possibly in your pyjamas – operating at a slow pace. But for those keen to take January 1 by its celebratory horns, the city will be far from sleeping, with a timetable packed with things to do. What will you choose?

The Loony Dook, 12.30pm, South Queensferry

Following tradition, hundreds of people kick-start the new year by braving the cold waters of the Firth of Forth to raise money for charities and recover from overindulgence the night before.

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The Noise Committee drummers will lead the Dookers’ Parade along High Street before the first dookers, in the shadow of the Forth bridges, jump into the water at 12.30pm.

First Footers Family Ceilidh, 12.30pm, McEwan Hall

Start 2019 on the right foot with this family-friendly event set in this beautiful 19th-century landmark.

All ages will enjoy this knees-up to the foot-stomping live music of band Ceilidh Minogue thanks to the guidance of the dance band caller.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: New Year Gala Concert, 3pm, Usher Hall

Upbeat Viennese waltzes and polkas from the Austrian Strauss family and performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra are a great way to start the new year on a high note.

The performance will be conducted by Duncan Ward, arguably one of the most exciting emerging talents of his generation, while the programme includes The Blue Danube, Radetsky March and Tritsch-tratsch Polka.

New Year’s Day Raceday, 10.30am, Musselburgh Racecourse

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Friends and family can gather for an action-packed day of racing, live music, competitions before a DJ set by Funkwagen at the annual racing event.

The traditional Hogmaneigh Hurdle, this year valued at £30,000, is not to be missed and seasonal food and drink, including mulled cider and pork brioche rolls, will help soak up the party atmosphere.

Carlos Nuñez and Special Guests, 8pm, McEwan Hall

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As well as the legendary Galician piper’s regular band, Nuñez will be joined by guests including the diatonic accordionist Itsaso Elizagoien and Canadian fiddler and stepdancer Jon Pilatzke.

The international folk musician is no stranger to Scotland, having performed at many Glasgow-based Celtic Connections, and is sure to capture the imagination with an array magnificent folk numbers.

Wendy and Peter Pan, 2pm and 7pm, The Royal Lyceum Theatre

Adapted by Ella Hickson and directed by Eleanor Rhode, this adaptation of Scottish writer J.M. Barrie’s classic is full of magic as it follows the story of Wendy and Peter Pan, who fly to Neverland to defeat the villainous Captain Hook.

Ziggy Heath takes on the role of Peter Pan, while Wendy is portrayed by Isobel McArthur, both of whom will deliver an outstanding performance.

Turner in January, noon, Scottish National Gallery

New Year’s Day sees the opening of this exhibition packed with inspiring watercolours created by JMW Turner and bequeathed to the gallery by renowned collector Henry Vaughan.

The works span the 19th-century artist’s career, from early wash drawings right through to sketches of Europe during the 1830s and ’40s.

Grimm in Leith, 10am, The Roseleaf, Leith

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An exhibition by self-confessed design geek Emma Westwater, from Dunbar, who re-imagines the Grimms’ folk tales through papercut art and jewellery.

The family-run pub is a delightful venue serving up a selection of ‘pot-tails’ in teapots, real ales and fresh juices within a vintage setting.

The Giant Lanterns of China, 4.45pm, Edinburgh Zoo

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More than 450 bespoke lanterns celebrating both Chinese and Scottish folklore will light an enchanting trail throughout the zoo. Expect to see unicorns, a sleeping dragon, kelpies and even Nessie among other spectacular creatures.

New Year’s Day Pie Festival, 2pm, Three Sisters

A New Year’s Day pie is a much-enjoyed tradition across Scotland and so this event is expected to be a popular one.

Whether it is a classic steak pie or something a little bit different, the student-friendly Cowgate pub’s street food market will be serving up all kinds of pies.

Capercaillie, 4.30pm, McEwan Hall

The Scottish folk band will invite musicians to join them in a performance to celebrate the sounds of the European family of nations. The afternoon cultural event will be led by the band, who have been credited with making Celtic music popular across the world with their fusion of Gaelic culture and contemporary sounds.

Society of Scottish Artists 121st Annual Exhibition, 12pm, Royal Scottish Academy

This forward-thinking exhibition brings together more than 180 new and established Scottish and international artists to showcase installation, video and performance works among printmaking, painting and sculpture.

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Featured works are from an open call of artists from across the world as well as invited artists Biome Collective with Sembilan Matahari and Jörg Obergfell.

Letters from the Skies, various locations

Six international writers, including Billy Letford, Chitra Ramaswamy, Kapka Kassabova and Louise Welsh, have collaborated on this project to celebrate Scotland’s links with Europe by writing love letters.

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The letters will be projected on to iconic buildings such as Leith’s Custom House, The Scottish Monument and Tron Kirk.

Portobello Park Run, 9.30am, Figgate Park

There are few ways better to recover from the Hogmanay celebrations than by going for a run in the fresh air.

Organised by a team of volunteers, this free timed event is for all paces from beginner right through to expert and, as a 5k, is ideal for kick-starting those New Year’s resolutions.

Embroidered Stories, 12pm, National Museum of Scotland

This unique exhibition provides an insight to the lives of children in the 18th and 19th centuries who created small pieces of needlework, usually carried out as part of their education.

This exhibition runs until April and the museum, with a vast collection of items of nature, art, design, fashion and science and technology offers a fun, family-friendly afternoon out on New Year’s day.

Holyrood Palace Tour, 6pm

Designed for groups up to 25, these private tours are a rare opportunity to go behind the ropes in selected rooms and learn about the Queen’s official Scottish residents and its intriguing past.

The West Drawing Room, used by the royal family as a sitting room, it has one of the 17th-century building’s most impressive plasterwork ceilings.