Our recommendations of what to see – and what to miss – at the Capital’s festive market as celebrations are in full swing
Woolly hats and gloves, mulled wine and mince pies, sparkling lights and tinsel – are we getting you in the Christmas spirit yet?
Indulge in a bit of shopping and take in the sights at Edinburgh’s Christmas markets and fairground.
Nearly a million people are now flocking to Edinburgh’s seven-week-long Christmas festival, according to new research which claims the event is now worth £113 million to the city’s economy.
The Capital is now home to Bavarian style stalls, offering food and drinks, sweet treats, a wide range of festive crafts you can buy as gifts and even fun rides.
Edinburgh has to be one of the best places in the world to celebrate Christmas and is constantly growing year on year.
Ticket sales for the money-spinning event have virtually doubled since new organisers were appointed five years ago, to more than 771,000.
Footfall figures within the main festival have soared by more than two million over the same period, with visitors from 47 different countries now visiting Edinburgh for its Christmas events.
So with the celebrations playing such an important role in Edinburgh’s Christmas, the Evening News has conducted a list of what not to miss and what to miss for this year’s festivities.
The Big Wheel offers panoramic views of our beautiful city. An aerial view of the magic Christmas festival is a wonderful sight while also seeing many attractions such as the Castle and Arthur’s Seat. It is perfect for a family, costing £25 while adult tickets are priced £9 and children £6. Emma Wilson said: “I highly recommend going on the big wheel, £9 for an adult I originally thought was quite expensive, however, having gone on it - it’s an amazing experience! I would pay another £9 to go back on it!! “People complain about this being too busy - it’s because it’s AMAZING and so many people love it, including me and pretty much everyone I know.”
Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out at Edinburgh’s Christmas festival. The cooking of around eight salmons at a time on an open fire draws the attention of food revellers. The smokey taste is not overpowering with the fish incredibly succulent, accompanied by your choice of sides including potato salad, sauerkraut or cheese noodles. In terms of price, the salmon ranges around the £8-£10 mark - the upper bracket when it comes to food - but the flavour and texture is worth it.
Popular with residents and visitors alike, the indoor bar recreates a winter living room fit for everyone. It’s the perfect surroundings to escape the cold and enjoy a range of festive tipples including hot toddies, hot chocolate, mulled wine and cider. Others can enjoy their beverage on the roof terrace overlooking the incredible festive markets - a not to miss picture opportunity!
Polly Turnbull said: “It is such a cute bar and there are so many drinks to try to keep you warm. The views from the terrace are incredible and really get you into the festive spirit.”
The ice rink has become a key component to Edinburgh’s Christmas with people getting their skates on in St Andrew Square. It is always one of Edinburgh’s most popular festive attractions with skates available to hire for both children and adults, allowing the whole family to skate their way around the winter wonderland. The ice is open from 10.15am daily although you’ll need to book yourself a slot if you want to get involved with it experiencing a number of sold out days already.
Christmas Tree Maze
Get lost in the magical Christmas Tree Maze. Fun for the whole family to complete the activity while winding your way through the countless Christmas trees. Inside you’ll also discover the Elves’ workshop, where Santa’s little helpers will be waiting for you with a wee treat. Tickets are £4 each. Wendy Ovington said: “We come to the Edinburgh markets every year and my two daughters absolutely love the maze. It is fun for us all and they enjoy a nice treat at the end of it.”
A classic at any fairground ride, the bumper cars never fail to bring the inner child out of a respectable adult. But the hefty price of £6.50 may prove too much for some.
Alan Murphy said: “Looks beautiful and there is plenty of rides and stalls to see but the prices are ridiculous. I know they will charge a little extra but for example it was £6.50 for my son to go on the dodgems!”
Bread smothered in tasty melted raclette cheese is good enough to make your mouth water. Seeing the half wheel of cheese under the heat and bubbling away is just like magic. It is all great until you get to the price, coming in at an expensive £4 for which is essentially cheese on bread. It is incredibly tasty but the price may encourage many to give this a miss.