Edinburgh’s Christmas to be extended to West End

The offerings in Princes Street Gardens  this Christmas. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
The offerings in Princes Street Gardens this Christmas. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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EDINBURGH’S Christmas attractions are set to be extended to the West End next year after business leaders hailed this year’s festivities as a success.

Footfall in the city centre was up by as much as 30 per cent during some weeks in December despite stormy weather.

And Essential Edinburgh, the main business group representing the city centre, said there had been a marked improvement in the quality of the events and attractions provided for visitors.

Fringe promoter Underbelly was in charge of the Christmas programme for the first time and there was widespread criticism of high prices. But Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “We were much happier with the quality of the various attractions this year. There’s no doubt there was an improvement, which was the intention with the changes that were made.

“Generally speaking, we’re very happy with how it all went, although next year we would look to spread things out a bit more towards the West End.”

Underbelly’s revamp of the festivities saw St Andrew Square become a major focus, with attractions like the 80ft -high Star Flyer and an indoor Spiegeltent, while a new ferris wheel, with enclosed cabins, operated beside the Scott Monument.

Mr Neal admitted some businesses had raised concerns about the number of temporary bars hitting trade and said it was too early to say whether retailers had enjoyed a better festive period.

Around 1.3 million visitors had been recorded at the two official Edinburgh’s Christmas sites in the month following their opening on November 22.

A 15 per cent increase in footfall in the city centre was recorded in the week beginning December 9, and the following week saw a 30 per cent hike on the same period in 2012. During Christmas week, when many offices were shut, footfall was 1.2 per cent down on the previous year, while Hogmanay saw a 6.3 per cent increase year-on-year.