Edinburgh Christmas Market

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Festive feels, jubilant jingles and sumptuous scents of cinnamon and spices are sure to enhance the sense of Christmas cheer.

At Edinburgh’s Christmas Market you can buy unique presents for your loved ones, indulge in some hearty food and wrap your hands around a cup of mulled wine. It really is the perfect way to spread the holiday spirit, and the market spans the entire festive period.

It begins on the 17th of November and continues right into the new year, ending on the 5th of January. This comprehensive guide will tell all on the Edinburgh Christmas market, even what to buy!

Visitor Information

Each day, Edinburgh Christmas market is open from 10am until 10pm for six weeks. Exceptions include the 17th of November, when the market is open from 1pm, and the 25th of December when it is closed all day.

The Christmas Market is also open from just 12pm on the 26th of December, and the 1st of January.

The site stretches from the Scottish National Gallery until the Mound Precinct, around the Scott monument until you get to St Andrew Square.It is important to note that this is a very popular event, that is widely anticipated in the Scottish calendar.

For that reason it is crucial to plan ahead, and consider the crowds, accommodation and transport to and from the event. The streets can get very busy, and parking can fill up very quickly, but there are many alternative transport options including buses, park and ride or even just a car share.

The market has been voted the best Christmas market in Great Britain for two main reasons. First of all, the view from the Scott monument. Secondly, the family friendly atmosphere, something that Christmas markets in other cities have struggled to recreate.

Entry is free of charge, although rides and shows do incur an additional cost. However, there is good news, because local residents can enjoy a 20% discount. For just £10 (including £1 in fees per ticket), one can buy entry to a silent disco, in which each participant receives a pair of wireless headphones receiving a broadcast from a DJ.

This provides quality disco fun for all the family and party animals alike!

Edinburgh christmas market lies in the very heart of the city, returning to East Princes Street Gardens for 2018. Alongside the market lies the Big Wheel, a Carousel, as well as the fan favourite, the Star Flyer ride!

It lies in a highly accessible location, any queries of which can be sent to access@underbelly.co.uk email, or asked to 0131 510 0395 on the phone, between Monday and Friday from 10am to 6pm.

Panoramic views from this fairytale city are offered from the very top of the Big Wheel at just £9 a head, as well as the Star Flyer. However, the latter is not for the faint hearted! If you can handle 60 metres of fast, furious fun then give this a twirl!

Twinkling lights, widespread laughter and ultimate thrills are all on offer at Edinburgh christmas market!Pods in the Big Wheel are designed to accommodate wheelchairs, and much of the walkways in Edinburgh Christmas market are ramps instead of stairs, particularly when accessing stalls. Although these are temporary, so may occasionally be steeper than 1:12.

A fully accessible toilet has also been provided by Edinburgh City Council near to the Mound precinct. Members of staff can be contacted for a key.

East Princes Street Gardens are accessible from both Princes Street and Waverley Bridge. However, there is also pay and display parking available just a short distance away. These car parks are on Frederick Street, George Street, Hanover Street and Waterloo Place.

Car parking is free for Blue Badge holders, and there is no time limit. Details of this can be found at www.edinburgh.gov.uk or on 0131 469 3891.

What is on offer at the Edinburgh Christmas Market?

Edinburgh is a fairytale city, and a perfect host for a magical winter wonderland. There is no shortage of things to do and things to see in the Edinburgh christmas market. Nestled in amongst the Market Stalls in Princes Street Gardens is Santa Land, hosting an enchanted grotto where adults and children alike can meet the man himself!

Neighbouring the grotto is the Elves’ hidden workshop, located in the heart of a maze of christmas trees! Visitors can try and find this, or instead enjoy the festive fairground, boasting six fun rides for all ages. There is even an Edinburgh Christmas market especially for the kiddies, brimming with gifts, toys and treats.

Allow this spectacle to distract them from the array of gingerbread stands!The main festive market is a christmas highlight for all in Edinburgh.

Here one can pick up a handcrafted wooden toy, or jewellery for a loved one. A magical explosion of stands offering mouth watering flavours, and drinks that will warm you up from the inside-out speckle the streets of Edinburgh. This is all brought to life by the enchanting sound of young choirs and merry jingles that spread Christmas cheer around the frosty streets.

Handicraft stalls offer goods so memorable and unique they will make family members enviable of your gift giving abilities. Whether you want to buy a tartan scarf, something iconically Scottish, or something as obscure as a Lithuanian ceramic oil burning house!

There will be a plethora of christmas delights available throughout the city, indeed something to tickle every person’s fancy! Art and craft exhibitions speckle the festive market stands, suitable for those with a sophisticated and creative eye.

Explore these whilst clutching a Glayva and Coffee, or perhaps a Rum Chata Hot Chocolate. Both available from one of the festive street bars.

The streets offer a rich illumination of the market stalls, from the decorative display of christmas lights that are enjoyed by the thousands of visitors to the city. This creates the perfect atmosphere of a winter wonderland. Christmas shoppers must be wrapped up snug and warm whilst they check out the sweet scented Gluhwein.

Waffles and crepes, dusted with icing sugar like snow, are plentiful and cooked fresh for enjoyment.Sizzling venison sausages and bratwurst are sold at many a stand, perfectly qualified to provide a hearty meal for shoppers as they browse for a unique gift to treasure. As is the toasted chunks of crunchy bread dipped in cheese fondue.

An array of smoked fish and meats again add to the realms of continental comfort food available at Edinburgh christmas market, well washed down with an ice cold German lager.

What other festive activities are available in Edinburgh?

Not just the Edinburgh christmas market is on offer to visitors and locals wishing to enter into the holiday spirit. St Andrews Square, a mere 5 minute walk from East Princes Street Gardens will be hosting an ice rink surrounding the iconic Melville Monument in the shape of an oval.

Skates can be hired on site, allowing beginners and experts alike to let themselves go and glide across the ice next to the cosy city backdrop. George Street, which lies parallel to Edinburgh christmas market, houses the Scottish market, selling traditional crafts and tasty cuisine that honour the Scottish heritage throughout the festive period.

Also, housed within the christmas market under the shadow of the Mound Precinct, is the European market, at which visitors can buy rare, continental gifts for loved ones - taking inspiration from the original German markets.

Also on George Street is ‘The Ice Adventure’, which is decorated with ice sculptures telling the story of Scotland. Be aware that it is below 10 degrees in this tent, so wrap up warm, although there is always the opportunity to grab a drink from the ice bar, supported by Shackleton Whisky, to warm you up!

This is an immersive walk-through experience with breathtaking snowy sculptures on either side of you. Not only is there a Greyfriars Bobby, a Mary Queen of Scots and a Dolly the Sheep, but also a Robert the Bruce sculpture within this Arctic installation!

One can take a tour of historic Scotland with Vikings, fairies, kelpies, Highland cows and eagle sculptures. Even the Loch Ness Monster has made an appearance! Underbelly & Hamilton Ice produce this event, as they do for London’s Winter Wonderland Ice Kingdom.

Just a 10 minute stroll from the market stalls is the Multrees Walk shopping centre. Here lies a different shopping opportunity that stretches beyond the gifts, goods, and knick-knacks of the main market. High-tech gadgets, designer shops, boutiques and more can be bought here; and with the Christmas season comes extended festive opening hours!

Many stores thereby open until 8pm or even later.There is also an ethical Christmas fair and a traditional highland village market, both of which lie just a few streets from Princes Street Gardens, a small oasis in the middle of the city.

Pick up and enjoy the famous Scotch whiskey from here, to light a fire inside as you explore the streets. Or perhaps a spicy, festive scented candle so as to bring the warm aroma of christmas back to your home.

There is lots to do for all ages through the christmas period, even if that should be just walking around and taking in the breathtaking scenery. This can also be done from the balcony cafe in the Scottish Gallery, which overlooks Princes Street Gardens towards the Scottish monument, looking over the snow dusted rooftops of the market stalls.

How can I visit?

There are a number of package deals that draw visitors to the markets, varying in price and length. These often run as packages over the Christmas holiday period, so that the Edinburgh Christmas Market may act as an additional pull for tourists.

They sell holidays on the festive cheer as well as the traditional attractions that Edinburgh has to offer. There is the magnificent castle to act as a backdrop to any holiday activities. The Mile, Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood House and even the former Royal Yacht Britannia which also act as attractions to bring visitors to the city all year round!

There is no greater city for a weekend break away than Edinburgh, especially at Christmas.

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