Edinburgh Christmas: Royal Mile to be lit up

Edinburgh's Christmas festival normally lights up Princes Street.Edinburgh's Christmas festival normally lights up Princes Street.
Edinburgh's Christmas festival normally lights up Princes Street.
THE Royal Mile is set to be transformed into a spectacular “Street of Light” this Christmas – lit up by more than 60,000 lights and filled with the sound of choirs.

The organisers of this year’s Edinburgh’s Christmas announced today that, for the first time, festive cheer will be spread into the Old Town.

From the City Chambers to the Tron Kirk, 16 arches of lights measuring up to 19 metres high will synchronise with recorded music from the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and three other choirs.

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The free show, which is being sponsored by Virgin Money and Scotland’s Winter Festivals, will run for 25 days and cater for 250,000 spectators.

How the Royal Mile could look.How the Royal Mile could look.
How the Royal Mile could look.

From November 30 to December 24, visitors will have the chance to see the Street of Light show twice a day – with performances at 6.30pm and 8.15pm – after which the lights will be left on until midnight for Christmas revellers to enjoy a festive wander.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, of Underbelly, which is organising the event, came up with the Street of Light idea after visiting the Fallas festival in Valencia.

Charlie said: “This Christmas is all about lighting up Edinburgh. We’re very excited to be bringing the Street of Light and extending the success of Edinburgh’s Christmas into the Old Town.

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“We hope it will show one of Scotland’s most famous streets in a whole new light and bring the whole community together to celebrate Christmas.”

The Royal Mile will be lit up.The Royal Mile will be lit up.
The Royal Mile will be lit up.

Lothians superstar and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Susan Boyle will have the honour of switching on the city’s Christmas lights at Light Night – 
another free event which will take place in George Street on November 22.

More than 1300 local 
performers – from 22 primary schools, five secondary schools and 25 community groups – will show off their talents to an audience of an expected 20,000 people before and after the lights have been switched on. Subo, from Blackburn, West Lothian, said: “I am thrilled to have been asked to switch on the Edinburgh Christmas lights this year.

“I travel to Edinburgh to see the lights every year so to be in charge of switching them on is a real honour and I’m very excited to be taking part.”

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Last year, Edinburgh’s Christmas sold more than 540,000 tickets – a 37 per cent increase on 2013 – and had a total of 880,000 unique visitors.

The Royal Mile plans were inspired by the lights of ValenciaThe Royal Mile plans were inspired by the lights of Valencia
The Royal Mile plans were inspired by the lights of Valencia

Organisers have also confirmed the event is continuing to attract a growing audience from across Scotland, as well as the UK.

This year will see the return of many popular attractions including the ellipse-shaped ice rink in St Andrew Square, the Big Wheel, the Star Flyer and an expanded Santa Land.

And Christmas lovers with an EH postcode will once again receive a 20 per cent discount on all shows, rides and events.

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Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s festivals and events champion, said: “Edinburgh at Christmas is an amazing experience. This year’s looks set to be just as popular.”

The Fallas festival in ValenciaThe Fallas festival in Valencia
The Fallas festival in Valencia


SOME highlights of Edinburgh’s Christmas this year include:

Light Night: Susan Boyle will switch on the city’s Christmas lights on November 22, accompanied by 1300 local performers who will show off their talents.

Winter Windows: 25 primary and secondary schools across the city will showcase their artwork in East Princes Street Gardens.

24 Doors of Advent: From December 1-24, a different door – normally locked – will be opened in the city each day to members of the public.

Ice rinks: One in St Andrew Square and the other in Princes Street Gardens.

. . . and the rest: including Circa’s Beyond, Puddles Pity Party, Camille O’Sullivan and many more.