Comment: Festivities belong to us in the city

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The Capital’s Christmas celebrations have become a modern tradition. December just wouldn’t be the same without the ice rink in the Gardens, the Big Wheel and the German market. Last year’s festivities were the biggest we had ever seen – and the most spectacular.

Fringe favourites Underbelly successfully reimagined the city’s festive offering as a high quality entertainment extravaganza, complete with a high-octane fair ride and Fringe-style cabaret show. There was no chance of last Christmas’s celebrations being described as tacky, a criticism that had been aired increasingly in previous years.

This year, the Underbelly boys have done it again. They have come up with another mouth-watering package that sees the return of many of our old favourites refreshed with plenty of exciting new attractions. The second ice rink on St Andrew Square, for 
instance, promises to be a great addition.

There were, of course, serious and widespread complaints about the cost of joining in the fun at last year’s event.

The thing about Edinburgh’s Christmas is that the festivities belong to the people of the city. We all feel a sense of ownership about what goes on in Princes Street Gardens over the festive season. And it is right that everyone has the chance to take part – whatever their budget.

People want in particular to take their children, their nieces, nephews and grandkids, along for a taste of the action – without it costing an arm and a leg.

That wasn’t the case last year, when prices higher than those charged in London left many with a sour taste in the mouth or feeling priced out.

The response to that criticism, as we report today, has been fulsome and appears to address all the biggest concerns of Evening News readers.

A dramatic overhaul of the entire pricing policy means everyone with an EH postcode will get a 20 per cent discount on top of already reduced ticket prices and special family reductions. That means that a family in the Lothians will get more than a third off the cost of many rides this year.

There are new rides for young children, priced from as little as £1, and the Santa experience has been changed after complaints from some parents last year.

It looks likely that it will all add up to a far merrier build-up to Christmas for people across the Capital.

And it will all come around far sooner than you think – after all, it will be October tomorrow.