Edinburgh Christmas Market 2022: Start date, location, rides and what to expect from festive events

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Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations will return to the Capital tomorrow, beginning the city’s official countdown to the big day. So here’s everything you need to know about the opening dates, locations, festive events and more.

Over the festive season, the Capital will host traditional Christmas Markets, a new Christmas ice rink experience, a Big Wheel along with a selection of other fairground rides, and a Santa Land where children can visit Father Christmas. There will also be a series of fun and free festive events held in Edinburgh this year.

Here is everything you need to know about what is in store this Christmas in Edinburgh.

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When will Edinburgh’s Christmas 2022 begin?

Santa Claus is coming to Edinburgh!Santa Claus is coming to Edinburgh!
Santa Claus is coming to Edinburgh!

The festive events will kick off on Friday, November 25, with Edinburgh’s Christmas Markets, Santa Land, Forth 1 Big Wheel, and other festive rides all opening that afternoon. The George Street Ice Rink will open on Saturday November 26. These attractions will be open seven days a week from 10am until late.

Where will the Edinburgh Christmas Market be located?

Situated conveniently in the city centre, East Princes Street Gardens will host a traditional Christmas Market. The Forth 1 Big Wheel and a selection of thrilling rides will be situated at the top of East Princes Street Gardens, while Santa Land will be found in West Princes Street Gardens.

George Street will be home to the spectacular Christmas Ice Rink.

Edinburgh's annual Christmas festival will return at the end of November.Edinburgh's annual Christmas festival will return at the end of November.
Edinburgh's annual Christmas festival will return at the end of November.

What's on and when?

Edinburgh’s Christmas Markets – starting November 25

Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic city centre, with stunning views of the city’s iconic skyline, Edinburgh Castle and the Scott Monument, this year’s traditional Christmas Market will host around 70 stalls, featuring some of the best local traders as well as UK and European peers, selling everything from bespoke products and gifts to tasty treats. A big wheel and exciting funfair rides will also be found inside the markets.

Santa Land – starting November 25

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In Santa Land, visitors can enjoy a Christmas tree maze and a family-friendly funfair, as well as an all-new Santa Stories in the Piccolo event, where children can enjoy a special Christmas tale, told by Santa himself along with some special guest helpers. All children will receive a gift and sittings will also include BSL, relaxed and audio described sessions.

There will also be special Santa Paws sessions, where you can bring your pup along to take a photo with the big man himself. Santa Paws sessions will see a donation from every ticket supporting a local animal charity.

As well as meeting Santa, children will have the chance to attend an Elf Workshop offering kid’s crafting sessions as well as view the Nativity Mural installation during their visit.

Edinburgh’s Christmas Ice Rink – starting November 26

The ice rink in George Street will be under cover for the first time, allowing visitors to enjoy a skate in any weather. Skaters and friends can warm up with a mulled wine or hot chocolate from the winter warming area and enjoy a ride on a vintage funfair ride, before enjoying the rest of what George Street has to offer.

Nativity Carol Concert - November 27

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Locals can gather around the nativity scene in St Andrew’s Square, and join together in song to herald the start of the Christmas season.

Santa Fun Run - December 4

A festive charity run will be held in the Capital, for those who want to dress up as Santa and jog away on a crisp Winter’s morning. Take on the 2.5km challenge to help grant a wish to children across Scotland who live with a life threatening illness.

Social Bite’s Festival of Kindness, Tree and Gift Donation point – date yet to be announced

Dedicated to spreading festive goodwill, people from all walks of life are encouraged to donate to those who need it most at the spot on St Andrew’s Square. Donations can be made to help provide thousands of Christmas dinners and food packs, to help with the distribution of gifts to homeless and vulnerable families, children and individuals or for shelter to those without a roof over their heads this winter.

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What have people said about the event?

Penny Dougherty and William Burdett-Coutts, directors of UniqueAssembly, the company running the event, said: “We are delighted to be bringing Edinburgh’s Christmas to the city for both locals and visitors looking to get into the Christmas spirit. We really do have something for everyone with food and drinks, gift inspiration, fairground rides, and of course Santa himself ready to bring the Christmas cheer. We also have a number of free events taking place for everyone to enjoy including the Make a Wish Santa Fun Run – we really want to make it a Christmas to remember!”

Lord Provost Robert Aldridge from The City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Edinburgh is one of the best places in the world to celebrate Christmas and this programme for 2022 promises a rich and varied programme of festive activities, events and experiences that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors of all ages. We can’t wait to see everyone enjoying it.”

Roddy Smith, from Essential Edinburgh, added: “Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations attracts visitors from near and far. We are delighted to once again be supporting the ice rink on George Street and installing the Christmas lights in St Andrew Square, George Street and throughout Edinburgh city centre, highlighting our attractions and all the shops and restaurants both visitors to the city and residents can enjoy during the Festive period!”

How to book tickets?

For full details of all events and to book tickets visit www.edinburghwinterfestivals.com

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