Prices to be cut at Edinburgh Christmas festival

The Star Flyer. Picture: Jon Savage
The Star Flyer. Picture: Jon Savage
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ORGANISERS of the Capital’s Christmas and Hogmanay festival today promised to bring down prices for this year’s attractions.

Last year’s celebrations were dogged by criticisms of the costs of the entertainment, rides and refreshments, with claims that some were more expensive than London.

Visitors to the Capital’s markets told the Evening News they were shocked by the prices charged for a burger, chips and a beer.

And disgruntled parents complained the Santa Train was more expensive per mile than travelling on the Orient Express.

But now event company Underbelly, which took over organisation of the festival for the first time last year, says it has learned lessons.

A spokesman said: “We will be looking to introduce more low and lower-cost events to help make a visit to Edinburgh’s Christmas more affordable for families.”

A report to councillors says last year Edinburgh’s Christmas sold a total of 397,000 tickets for its various attractions and performances.

The ice rink attracted 33,000 visitors, the Santa Train 45,000, the Big Wheel 120,000 and the Star Flyer 62,000. Footfall in Princes Street next to the events increased by 16.8 per cent on the same period last year.

Despite the success, the report acknowledged concerns about “the affordability of some of the activities for families in the city”.

And it added: “This feedback has directly influenced the planning for the 2014 event.

“While the extent and quality of family entertainment in 2013-14 was greater than in previous years the contractor has committed to offering a more affordable programme of attractions for 2014-15.”

Prices last year included burgers for £6 and for £3 at a van parked at St Andrew Square and a pint of beer for £6.

The council’s festival and events champion Steve Cardownie said last year’s Edinburgh’s Christmas had been a great success, as the figures showed.

“The event had been very similar for a number of years and people wanted something different. That’s what we do – keep reinventing ourselves.

“They have taken on board what was said about certain prices and they will rectify that.”

Underbelly plans to launch this year’s programme on September 29.

A spokesman for the company said: “We are delighted the report makes plain the great success of Edinburgh’s Christmas.

“This year we are planning to build on that success. Part of the programme will also look to ensure we learn from some of the lessons of last year. In particular, while there was a range of free activities last year we will be looking to introduce more low and lower-cost events to help make a visit to Edinburgh’s Christmas more affordable for families.”