Why Edinburgh’s Christmas Is The Best In Scotland
From the months of November to January Edinburgh is overtaken with Christmas markets, events, activities and food to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Bright lights, and loud music span across the city from the bottom Leith Walk, to the top end of the bridges.
From the notorious German Market in the city centre, to the Street of Light on the Royal Mile, and back to the ice rink in St Andrew’s square; the sense of Christmas in the big city is unescapable.
Feel the ultimate Christmas buzz with these 12 festive activities and see why Edinburgh’s Christmas is the best in Scotland!
1. Walk through the glistening Grassmarket
When the cool breeze of winter hits and the sleigh bells begin to ring, you’ll see the Grassmarket light up with fairy lights and Christmas trees. Wander in and out of the pubs and restaurants to experience the mellow bustle of this cobble-lined nook, and see how the Edinburgh locals do Christmastime.
2. Drink mulled cider and eat churros at the Jonnie Walker Bothy Bar
What screams Christmas more than winter spices and warm treats? Douse your lips in cinnamon sugar, and let the warm buttery taste of churros line your stomach. Offset your indulgent treat with a tangy mulled wine or cider from the Jonnie Walker Bothy in the Princes Street Gardens’ Christmas market. The pop-up venue is laced with Christmas lights and festive greenery, sporting a cosy balcony drinking space with the best views of the market in Edinburgh.
3. Have a go on The Forth 1 Big Wheel
The iconic red and white ferris wheel returns to the heart of the city centre every year offering spectacular views across Edinburgh and beyond (this is a pricey ride, but believe us when we say it’s worth it for the Instagram snaps). See the city you love from a whole new perspective or get acquainted with the sites of Auld Reekie for the first time from 42meters in the air.
4. Have a drink with friends over Waverly mall
Located atop Waverley Mall, the mini Festival Village offers top quality street food vendors, and showcases some of the best music talent from Scotland and beyond. Once you’ve visited the Jonnie Walker Bothy Bar, head to the East end of Princes street where the Winter Warmer bar will keep you feeling festive and sheltered from the harsh winter elements as you wrap your lips around a classic Scottish hot toddy.
5. Get yourself to a ceilidh
These are held in various places throughout the city, and it’ll take some research to find the right one for you. Kilts and dresses are a must, and there’s nothing better than getting thrown around under the lights of a beautiful Christmas tree with live Scottish music bellowing in the background. If you’re not from Scotland, but want to experience some traditional Scottish culture, then this activity will give you the ultimate Christmas buzz.
6. George Street has an entire Christmas of its own
The best thing about the Christmas festival is the close proximity within which each of the attractions lie. A mere 10 minute wander will transport you from the busy walkways of the German Market to the subtle hubbub of George Street. Allow the lights and bars to be your guide, taking in the breathtaking classical carousel and the tree of lights at the West end, to the beautiful decor of The Dome in the East.
7. Stuff your face with food at the German Market
The traditional and romantic German Market offers a unique shopping experience for every visitor with its fair of crafters, artists, gift shops and gastronomic surprises. Open 10am -10pm every day from November 16th 2018 to January 5th 2019. This is one of the best parts of Edinburgh’s Christmas!
8. Take a hunt over the city to find the best Christmas trees
Huge stores including Harvey Nicholls, House of Fraser, Debenhams, and Jenners all put up outstanding Christmas trees. The decorations are extravagant and definitely a sight to behold. Venture to The Mound as part of your hunt to see Edinburgh’s most famous Christmas tree. Who needs Harrods when you have the best Christmas decor in Edinburgh… for free!
9. Christmas Tree Maze
Prepare to get lost in the magical Christmas Tree Maze. Inside you’ll discover the Elves’ workshop, where Santa’s little helpers will be waiting for you with a wee treat. This is a new activity and is definitely one of the reasons Edinburgh has the best Christmas in Scotland!
10. Ice Skating
Get your skates on and glide (if you can) round the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge in St Andrew’s Square on the beautiful elliptical ice rink. Let the crisp Scottish air blow through your hair as you swoop in and out of fellow skaters on the rink. Finish your night with a cosy drink at the lodge serenaded by the merry chatter of loved ones.
11. 24 Doors of Advent
Discover an exciting new place each day of advent. This real-life advent calendar will beckon you inside different doors throughout December as part of Edinburgh’s bid to showcase the unique buildings of the city. Some venues are yet to be confirmed, but keep an eye on the ‘Edinburgh’s Christmas 2018’ website to find out more.
12. Lights show at The Royal Botanical Gardens
As night falls, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh unveil a magical outdoor trail with over a million twinkling lights. Enter a world festooned with seasonal cheer as you wander beneath unique tree canopies and alongside the iconic Glasshouses drenched in Christmas colour.
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