FREE ice skating, a family ceilidh and live music are among the highlights of this year’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations.
The Evening News can exclusively reveal the programme of free events taking place on Sunday, November 30 in St Andrew Square – the first time the venue has been used to mark the occasion.
Activities include all-day access to the circular Edinburgh Christmas ice rink, with visitors advised to book tickets early owing to the high demand anticipated.
Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted to welcome this great programme of activities to St Andrew Square. It should provide another peak of visitors to the city centre and be great fun for those that live and work here too.”
The ice rink – a new attraction for Edinburgh’s 2014 Christmas festivities – will cost a minimum of £5 for a half-hour session when it opens on November 21 for the winter season.
On St Andrew’s Day, as well as free sessions, it will also welcome piper Louise Marshall – who has played for the Pope and the Queen – who will perform for audiences.
She will be joined by fiery theatre group Pyroceltica, as well as the Royal Caledonian Curling Club and Murrayfield Skating School, all of whom will put on demonstrations.
The programme also boasts contemporary and traditional Scottish music, including performances from The Hazey Janes, who recently toured with Scottish rockers Deacon Blue, and The Banjo Lounge 4, known for their bluegrass-funk interpretations.
On an outdoor main stage visitors can expect performances from 10am to 9pm from the likes of the Stockbridge Pipe Band, Edinburgh’s Got Soul and Edinburgh bands Seneka and Under the Dogwood Tree. Visitors will also be invited to join in a “Big Big Sing”.
Charlie Wood, director of promoter Underbelly, said: “Underbelly is delighted to be working to present Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations and, for the first time, in St Andrew Square. There will be something for everyone and it is all free so we urge people to book in advance via the Edinburgh’s Christmas website.”
Further events for families include traditional storytelling in the Spiegeltent, including appearances from local author Jess Smith, and Aidan Moffat – from the band Arab Strap – who will read from his new children’s book, The Lavender Blue Dress.
There will also be Scottish dance workshops for all ages, a family ceilidh hosted by the Robert Fish Band, face painting, fancy dress competitions, a Haggis hunt for children and historical tours.
n Visit www.edinburgh christmas.com. A limited number of free skating tickets will be available on the day.