It’s that time of year again! It feels like yesterday that I was writing about Edinburgh’s Christmas 2014 – and yet here I am, pretty much a year to the day, writing about this year’s offering. How time flies when you’re having fun, eh?
So what’s new this year?
The big news this year is that the Royal Mile is going to be a bigger part of the celebrations, with a large breathtaking light installation stretching from St Giles to The Tron, aptly named ‘The Street of Light’. As you can imagine, it’ll take a while to build and so won’t be ready for another week or so – I really can’t wait!
Don’t worry, there will be a post on that to come, but in the meantime let’s focus the stuff that is actually here to enjoy now 🙂
East Princes Street Gardens
Edinburgh’s Christmas in the New Town this year is situated in two areas – East Princes Street Gardens and St Andrews Square. In East Princes Street Gardens, you’ll find
- The European Market
- Santa Land
- Rides including the Star Flyer, the Big Wheel and an Ice Rink
The European Market
The European Market is a bit of a monster, spread over three levels and with a wide range of cute traditional knick-knacks, European foodie gifts and hot street food. If you’re looking for something unusual to give for Christmas, then you won’t be disappointed here.
Follow your nose to find beautiful orange and cinnamon garlands, or decorate your tree with some colourful wooden decorations. From wooden ties to shimmering sun catchers, something from the eclectic range always takes my fancy.
There’s also lots of food on offer once again, and I take it upon myself to sample as much of it as possible! Nothing beats wandering around the market with a mug of steaming hot glühwein to keep your hands warm, but there’s lots more on offer if red wine isn’t your thing. This year’s selection includes warm Pimms, Baileys hot chocolate and even mulled beer!
The food offering is once again really good, with the warm comforting street food that we’ve come to expect from Edinburgh’s Christmas. The plentiful bratwurst stalls are easy to spot, but you’ll also find burgers, savoury crepes and even good ol’ fish and chips!
Make sure you save room for afters, though, as there are some really delicious sweet offerings too. My firm favourite is the Nutella covered donuts (pictured above), but also keep an eye out for the Belgian waffles and tasty looking churros.
Santa Land is back once again, with lots to do for the young and the young at heart. We’re all friends here, so I’ll happily admit that Mr Bug and I had a roaring time running around the Christmas Tree Maze… even though all the other participants were half our age!
This is also the home of Santa’s Grotto, where you’ll be able to meet the big man himself. The Helter Skelter has also been moved to Santa Land this year, which looks like a lot of fun!
The rides at East Princes Street for 2015 include the Star Flyer, the Big Wheel and the Ice Rink. The Big Wheel offers incredible panoramic views of the city within the warm comfort of encapsulated booths, while the Star Flyer offers a more white-knuckle alternative!
There’s also a square Ice Rink next to the Big Wheel, although this is smaller than the one in St Andrew Square..
St Andrew Square
St Andrew Square looks a little bit different this year, with the iconic Helter Skelter moved to Santa Land and replaced with a Christmas Tree slide. While smaller than the area at East Princes Street Gardens, there is still plenty to see and do, including…
- The Scottish Market
- The Spiegeltent
- Ice Rink
The Scottish Market
A welcome addition to 2014’s festivities, the Scottish Market is back for 2015 and is once again chock full of great local gift ideas and street food. Mimi’s Bakehouse is back with a festive hut alongside other Scottish suppliers, including Eden Mill beer and gin – made only a stone’s throw away in St Andrews.
If your budget is a bit tight this year, be sure to stop by the Lidl hut. Okay, okay, it’s not exactly a small local supplier, but there are lots of fab foodie gifts here on sale at brilliant prices, including delicious chocolate bars that are only £1. Bargain!
The Spiegeltent is the hub for most of Edinburgh’s Christmas theatre shows for 2015. I’ve made a resolution to go and see at least a couple of these this year as there are so many decent options available, no matter what you’re into – whether it’s circus, cabaret, comedy, music.. you name it.
I’ve done a pretty detailed guide to all the shows on the go this year over at thisisedinburgh.com, so instead of repeating myself just head on over there and take a look (sorry, I couldn’t resist a wee day-job plug there)!
The St Andrew Square Ice Rink
For me, the real star in the St Andrew Square Christmas crown this year is the epic Ice Rink that rings around the Melville Monument. It was a hit last year and I’ll happily bet it will be just as popular in 2015. Doing a couple of circuits around this bad boy is definitely one of my festive Edinburgh highlights, and I can’t wait to do it again this season!
It looks like it is going to be another great Christmas in Edinburgh for 2015. My main tip though would be to avoid peak times such as Saturday and Sunday afternoons as it can get very crowded. That’s fine if you like that kind of thing, but I like to take a day off work during the week to really appreciate what’s going on without having to push through the hordes – just another one of my festive traditions!
Anyway, no matter what you are doing this year, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I’ll be reporting back soon on the spectacular Street of Light, but until then have a fun and safe festive season!
As mentioned above, you’ll find most of the Edinburgh’s Christmas action at East Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square. It’s really hard to miss, you’ll spot all the signage for it once you get onto Princes Street.
If you want to read last year’s review (most of which is still relevant), you can find it here: Edinburgh’s Christmas 2014.