New Year/Christmas kids activities in Scotland 2013

The Irn Bru Carnival at the SECC, Glasgow. Picture: Robert Perry
The Irn Bru Carnival at the SECC, Glasgow. Picture: Robert Perry
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HOGMANAY is a time to ring in the bells with a nip and a blether at some street party or other, but for those with children, staying up well into 2014 won’t be the ideal way to bring in the New Year.

With the parents of Scotland in mind, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best family Hogmanay events from across Scotland - featuring everything from a baby-friendly disco to a New Year’s Day duathlon.


• The Canongate Cadjers Ceilidh Band will be kicking off the celebrations nice and early this year when they play the Hogmanay Family Ceilidh at the National Museum of Scotland (Tuesday 31 December, 2pm). This event encourages enthusiasm rather than experience, so even the beginners in the family can partake in a little end of the year whirling and birling.

• If you prefer a less traditional form of dance, the Baby Loves Hogmanay Disco at Electric Circus (Sunday 29 December 12pm-3pm) is a day-club with DJs, allowing parents, babies and children alike to bust their best moves to a retro pop soundtrack.

A range of crafts, face painting and a chillout room are also on offer, and there’s even a licensed bar for parents.

• If all that dancing hasn’t tired you out, there’s plenty of energetic activities on offer for New Year’s Day. Holyrood Park will play host to a New Year’s duathlon for children (11.30am starting from The Royal Commonwealth Pool). Kids can choose to partake in the running and cycling event, or simply watch the adult’s triathlon (12.30pm starting from The Royal Commonwealth Pool).

• Alternatively, you can leave the athleticism to our canine friends, and watch Edinburgh’s Dogmanay, where teams of Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed and Siberian Huskies pull three-wheeled rigs around a course.


• Roll up, roll up for the Irn Bru Carnival at the SECC (20 December - 12 January). Complete with rides and stalls, Europe’s largest indoor funfair will be running over Hogmanay to keep the whole family entertained. Rides include a Helter Skelter, Bungee Trampolines and a Fun House, while classic carnival games such as Knock off Cans, Hook a Duck and Skittles are available at the event’s stalls.

• If your culinary expectations amount to more than just carnival snacks, then head to the Crowne Plaza Glasgow for the Hogmanay Family Disco (31 December, 7:30pm). This evening offers the classic combination of dinner and dancing, with a three course meal followed by a set from the resident DJ. The disco is on until late, and a children’s entertainer will be on hand to keep the little ones occupied.


• Scotland offers some of the best outdoor ski resorts in the UK, and New Year is one of the best times of year to experience the slopes. Hogmanay packages in Aviemore (starting 30 December) feature 3 day skis/snowboard hire and boots, a full entertainment programme including a gala dinner, and fireworks at midnight to see in 2014.

• Alternatively, Strathpeffer’s Hogmanay Hooley offers up a traditional stovie supper in addition to live music from Fiona Dalgetty’s Highland Ceilidh Band. A dram or a glass of fizz will be on hand at midnight, as this family friendly event rings in the bells.


• A three-course dinner, complete with childrens section, pipers, Broadbay ceilidh, band and DJ is on offer at the Mercure, where the Hogmanay Ceilidh (31 December, 7:15pm) is designed to be a celebration for all the family.

• But if dressing up for a night of dancing doesn’t appeal, you could always watch the ball unfold from the comfort of the stalls - as Cinderella continues its run at His Majesty’s Theatre. Complete with a dame, a baddy and even Elaine C Smith as the Fairy Godmother - this classic tale will be running at the theatre throughout Hogmanay (times vary).


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