Have a Scottish Hogmanay on Islay

Hogmanay is the Scots word for New Year’s Eve and it’s a huge celebration in Scotland. Here on Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, we observe many new year customs and traditions. So, let’s take a look at what you can expect from a Scottish Hogmanay on Islay…

Islay Hogmanay celebrations

Our Peatzeria Restaurant is open until 9 pm on 31st December, so why not come and enjoy a feast with us this Hogmanay? We’ll provide a warm welcome and some delicious handmade pizza, topped with fresh, local ingredients. We advise booking in advance, to avoid disappointment.

Then as the bells of the Round Church in Bowmore strike midnight, islanders and visitors will gather by Bowmore Pier to welcome in the new year. There will be fireworks to mark the occasion and a great festive atmosphere!

A couple watching the fireworks on New Year's Eve

Scottish Hogmanay Traditions

There are many old Scottish customs, that some islanders still observe to this day. For example, cleaning or “redding” the house from top to bottom on the last few days of December, to ensure a fresh start for the new year. And first footing, where households welcome visitors after the stroke of midnight on new year, with whisky and treats such as shortbread and tablet. A tall, dark, male visitor is traditionally the luckiest, if you can find one!

Toasting the bells with an Islay whisky

In Scotland, we like to raise a glass at midnight on Hogmanay. We call this a “toast to the bells”, and here on Islay, there is no better way to welcome a new year than with a dram of warming Islay whisky. Whisky is our national drink, and the unique smoky, peaty whisky from Islay is a well-loved new year’s tipple.

A glass of whisky and plate of shortbread on a tartan tablecloth

We hope to welcome you to our restaurant in Bowmore, this festive season. Please see our seasonal opening times and book your table today!