Insider’s guide to making the most of Edinburgh’s Christmas markets, events and festive visits
If you are shopping for Christmas gifts, then Edinburgh’s traditional Christmas market in East Princess Street Gardens opens today. But do you know about the rest of the festive fun spread across the city centre?
How to make the most of your visit
– This year, Santa is going to be in St Andrew Square and has parked his sleigh and set up his workshop there for you to visit for a unique story experience with every child receiving a gift on the way out!
– Visit Santa’s Post-box and Letter Writing Station and if you can, then bring a gift to donate to someone in need as part of Social Bite’s Festival of Kindness.
Festive family fun
– West Princess Street Gardens is the perfect place for families, with a flurry of funfair rides and food and drinks stalls – including festive favourites such as the carousel, cup and saucers for the little ones and the Matterhorn for the thrill seekers amongst us.
– Ross Bandstand Weekends – enjoy a festive programme of community-based and family-friendly events! Includes Diwali celebrations on Nov 19, the Nativity Carol Concert from Edinburgh Churches Together on Dec 3, with Edinburgh’s Christmas Santa Paws day on Dec 9 – dress up your four-legged little helpers for a pet-parade, the famous Santa Fun Run on Dec 10 and a host of ceilidhs, silent discos and more.
– George Street – glide into the holiday spirit at the George Street ice rink and warm up after you’ve skated around the rink, in the Baileys Bar. If you are visiting with little kids, there are designated toddler sessions.
– Further up George Street, explore the Artisan Christmas Market on George St for unique gifts and decorations.
– Visit the sheltered winter warming bar and taste a sample of Innis & Gunn’s new mulled beer. Amongst other drink offerings
How to make the most of your visit – and get money off!
Edinburgh’s Christmas is regularly ranked amongst the best Christmas Markets in Europe. In fact, it has been nominated for best Christmas Market in Europe 2024, so here are some hot tips to plan ahead of your visit:
– With so much on around the city centre, you might not make it to East Princes Street Gardens for the Traditional Christmas market but if you do then make the most of your visit by planning to go on weekdays, or earlier in the day, to avoid peak times.
– The festivities run from Nov 17 to Jan 6, giving you ample time to experience the magic of Edinburgh's Christmas.
– Consider multiple visits to explore each area thoroughly.
– Remember – residents with EH postcodes get 20% off ticketed attractions (Ice rink, Forth 1 Big Wheel and Santa Stories)
For more details
Make sure that don’t miss out on your favourite events this Christmas – for the full details visit www.edinburgh-christmas.com