Edinburgh Christmas Market 2021: Start date, location, rides and more of this year’s Edinburgh Christmas event

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market is set to return for 2021 – here’s everything you need to know about the opening dates, locations, stalls and more.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 5:11 pm

Edinburgh Christmas festival attracted an official attendance of 2.6 million people in 2019, with people travelling from all across Scotland to experience the festive rides and delights in the heart of the Capital.

When does the Edinburgh Christmas market 2021 open?

The Edinburgh Christmas market will open from November 20 and will remain in place until shortly after the new year, drawing to a close on January 2, 2022.

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Edinburgh Christmas Market 2021: Start date, location, rides and more of this year’s Edinburgh Christmas event (Image: Underbelly)

Where will the Edinburgh Christmas Market be for 2021?

The Edinburgh Christmas market will be taking up its usual space in the heart of East Princes Street Gardens, where it has been hosting its array of market stalls, rides and bars since 2003.

But it will now also stretch out over West Princes Street Gardens and George Street between Castle Street and Charlotte Square.

Meanwhile, the usual plethora of market stalls and kids activities will be spread out across both of Princes Street’s Gardens.

Edinburgh Christmas festival attracted an official attendance of 2.6 million people in 2019.

What sort of Christmas Market stalls, rides and features can we expect?

As well as a new ice rink, visitors can expect to be met with a large variety of stalls, fairground rides and attractions.

These include the familiar Big Wheel making its return to the East Princes Street Gardens spot, as well as the star flyer beside the Walter Scott Monument.

There will be 62 stalls and four attractions in East Princes Street Gardens, with 15 stall concessions and 11 attractions in the westerly gardens.

Get your skates on and glide all the way up and down Edinburgh’s famous George Street.

Among the Edinburgh Christmas market attractions at the West Princes Street Gardens will be a Christmas Tree Maze and Santa’s Grotto.

What's on, when, and what are the prices?

Bumper Cars (November 20 - January 2)

Get ready for a bumpy ride!

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Santa. Meet the man himself, listen to him tell a magical tale and receive a wee gift.

You must be over four years old to ride the bumper cars and over ten years old to drive unaccompanied. One ticket must be purchased per car, and up to two people can ride in a car.

Tickets from £6.50. The 20% discount for EH postcode holders is applicable to this ride.

Christmas Market - East Princes Street Gardens (November 20 - January 4)

Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh, the traditional Christmas Market offers something for everyone.

With stalls selling everything from local and bespoke products and gifts to tasty treats, visiting the market is a must this year.

There is no better way to soak up the festive atmosphere.

Get ready to spin around Santa Land on the Waltzers!

Christmas Tree Maze (November 20 - January 2)

Hidden away in the Christmas Tree Maze is Santa’s Elves Workshop. Can you make your way through the maze to find them? If you do Santa’s little helpers may be waiting for you with a treat!

Under-13s must be accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets from £4.50.

Forth 1 Big Wheel November 20 - January 2)

An icon of Edinburgh’s Christmas, the Forth 1 Big Wheel gives passengers a unique perspective of our beautiful city.

Tickets from £7.50. Edinburgh residents with proof of their EH postcode will receive a 20% discount.

Family tickets are also available.

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Ice Skating - Lidl On Ice (20th November - January 2)

Get your skates on and glide all the way up and down George Street on the magnificent alpine ice rink.

Kids skating sessions: Skate along to child-friendly festive music at the family sessions.

Kids skating sessions will take place at 12:30, 13:15, and 14:00 every Saturday and Sunday and at 10:15, 11:00, and 11:45 between the 20-23 December.

Tickets from £6. The 20% EH postcode discount is applicable.

Light Night Installation (November 20 - January 4)

This year Edinburgh’s Christmas will be working with Edinburgh-based artist Hannah Ayre to produce a contemporary art installation, which will illuminate the Mound with cascading geometric snowflakes.

Nativity Carol Concert (November 28, 3pm)

Start your December festivities and sing traditional Christmas carols with choirs from across Edinburgh at the annual Nativity Carol Concert.

The Nativity Carol Concert, organised in conjunction with Edinburgh Churches Together, and will take place in St Andrew Square at 3pm. Free.

Santa Land in West Princes Street Gardens (November 20 - January 4)

Santa Land has relocated to the lower level of West Princes Street Gardens this year.

Santa Claus himself will take up residency in his enchanting Grotto with Edinburgh Castle as the backdrop. The garden will be transformed into a magical Christmas haven for all the family, with a host of rides and attractions for all to enjoy.

Santa’s Grotto (November 20 - December 24)

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Santa… it’s the perfect way for children to get into the festive spirit. Meet the man himself, listen to him tell a magical tale and receive a wee gift.

Visits are in groups and begin every 30 minutes. Tickets, from £8.50, must be purchased for a specific time slot before entering Santa’s Grotto. Visits last up to 25 minutes.

The 20% EH postcode discount is applicable to Santa's Grotto.

Waltzers (November 20 - January 2)

Get ready to spin around Santa Land on the Waltzers.

Children under 1m tall must be accompanied by a responsible paying adult. If you can toddle you need a ticket.

The 20% discount for EH postcode holders applies to this ride. Tickets from £5.

Winter Windows (November 19 - January 4)

Spreading messages of festive cheer across the city, this year’s Winter Windows are inspired by the theme of ‘Connections and Kindness’.

This year’s theme allows Edinburgh’s school children to reflect on the connections made and kindness that they received and gave during the global pandemic.

These colourful, vibrant stained-glass window designs showcase the creativity of Edinburgh’s school pupils and will be displayed across the city. Locations to be announced soon.

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