Edinburgh’s Christmas is back and set to bring festive cheer to the heart of the city.
This year sees the return of the city’s much-loved Christmas ice rink, sponsored by Lidl GB and partnered by Essential Edinburgh, in its new home on George Street. The firm favourite will include a first for Edinburgh’s Christmas, skate up festive food and drink offerings alongside family sessions. Lidl on Ice will open on 19 November.
Once again East Princes Street Gardens hosts one the UK’s favourite Christmas Markets. The fantastic festive market will offer a wide range of European and local food, drink and crafts which are bound to get you into the Christmas spirit. The Forth 1 Big Wheel will return, alongside the Star Flyer, all against the backdrop of the iconic Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh’s Christmas at East Princes Street Gardens will open on 20 November.
In a first for Edinburgh’s Christmas, those looking to get to the top of the nice list will find the city’s magical Santa’s Grotto in West Princes Street Gardens. The lower gardens will be transformed into Santa Land featuring family friendly attractions including the Christmas Tree Maze and market stalls, full of festive treats and gifts. Santa Land will open on 19 November.
Tickets for Ice Skating, Santa’s Grotto, The Forth 1 Big Wheel and Star Flyer are now available to purchase through the Edinburgh’s Christmas website. Those with an EH postcode receive 20% off their tickets.
This year, Edinburgh’s Christmas is going contactless and introducing a new ‘tap and ride’ scheme, rather than purchasing tickets from the traditional box office you will be able to purchase your ticket at each ride.
The Nativity Scenethis year moves to St Andrew Square. The Nativity Carol Concert, organised in conjunction with Edinburgh Churches Together, takes place on 28 November in St Andrew Square.
Following on from the success of the Light Night rainbow installation on the Mound in 2020, Edinburgh’s Christmas is working with Edinburgh based artist Hannah Ayre who will produce a beautiful contemporary art installation, illuminating the Mound with cascading geometric snowflakes. This installation will sit alongside Edinburgh’s Christmas tree donated by the Hordaland County Council in Norway and will replace the Light Night event. The Mound installation will be illuminated from 20 November.
The Neighbourhood Market will return in 2021 and offer free listings for local Edinburgh businesses and attractions to showcase their products. In 2020, 207 local Edinburgh businesses showcased their products on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website.
To make sure Edinburgh’s Christmas is an experience as enjoyable as possible to all, Underbelly is pleased to be offering sensory packs to children and adult visitors with additional needs. These will be available to hire, free of charge, and will contain a fidget toy, earplugs, water bottle, stress reliever and ear defenders. These items are designed to help users relax in situations they might find stressful. The sensory packs are designed and kindly provided by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.
This year’s festivities will also support Edinburgh’s Social Inclusion charity, the OneCity Trust with donations being taken at point of sale on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website and collection points at bars.
Underbelly co-directors, Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam said: ‘The Underbelly team has been working tirelessly to create a bespoke Edinburgh’s Christmas programme that not only provides unforgettable memories and experiences, but also makes visitors feel safe and at ease at all times.
‘It’s been a very challenging couple of years for everyone but our proposed plans for Christmas are designed to support economic recovery throughout the capital, and to help Edinburgh be together again.’
For more details visit www.edinburghschristmas.com