Weather outlook good for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

ORGANISERS of the Capital’s Hogmanay bash expect it to be among the best in years, with ticket sales ahead of last year and weather forecasters predicting a balmy night.

The night will feature the longest firework display in the history of the event, and visitors are expected from more than 50 countries around the world.

Several key events of the three-day festival have already sold out, including briefs for headliners Primal Scream in the Concert in the Gardens.

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The Met Office predicts mild weather for the anticipated 80,000 revellers.

Traffic disruption will hit the city’s road network as preparations gets under way.

Several roads will be closed in the run-up to, and during, the three-day celebration, with parking restrictions also coming into force.

Hogmanay spokeswoman Frances Sutton said: “We’ve sold out for the Concert in the Gardens, street party tickets are ahead of this time last year.

“It’s going to be fantastic. We’ve got a world-class line-up across all the stages. The fireworks are the longest we’ve ever had.

“We’ve got people coming from over 50 different countries as far apart as Qatar, Peru, Taiwan and Trinidad and Tobago.”

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festivities start on Friday with the Torchlight Procession leaving Parliament Square at 6.30pm, and creating a river of fire from the Royal Mile to the Son et Lumiére and fireworks finale on Calton Hill.

People who have pre-booked torches are asked to pick them up as early as possible from the City Chambers, where they will be available from 2pm.

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The Mound, George IV Bridge, North Bridge, Leith Street and Waverley Bridge will close at 5.30pm, re-opening at around 9pm.

For the Hogmanay Street Party in Princes Street, much of the city centre will be locked down from 1am on December 31.

The High Street, St Giles’ Street and George IV Bridge (northbound) will close at 4pm on New Year’s Eve, with all roads within the city centre not already shut off closing to traffic until Sunday morning.

George Street will be closed at 9pm, with Leith Street, Waterloo Place and North and South Bridge closing to cars from 10pm on Saturday until 10am on New Year’s Day.

Parking restrictions will come into force three hours before roads are closed.

To allow the running of the New Year Games on Sunday, Grassmarket and West Port will be closed between 1pm and 7pm. King Stables Road will be shut between 5pm and 7pm.

A council spokesperson said: “In the run-up to the events the council asks both residents and visitors to look out for advance warning signs.”

Lothian Buses has announced that night buses will remain free from midnight to 4am on New Year’s morning, but the service will not run at all on January 2 or 3.

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Security firm G4S will deploy more than 400 staff to ensure the safety of party-goers.