Written by Kelly Morgan
Christmas has officially arrived in Edinburgh, with Prince’s Street and Gardens now full of fairy lights and festive fun. As in previous years, the Christmas Market is at the centre of the city’s festive celebrations, complete with stalls, fairground rides and other seasonal attractions.
In the heart of the city, the bustling Christmas Market is a must-visit for a day in Edinburgh. With a variety of stalls offering artisan gifts, food and drink, this is the perfect place to pick up a Glühwein or mulled cider and get your stocking fillers sorted whilst soaking up the festive cheer.
The market is open 10am – 10pm every day, although opening hours will be slightly shorter on the 24th, 26th, 31st and 1st December.
As well as the huge range of stalls, you can also find Santa Land in the Christmas Market; a magical festive fairground for children of all ages. Here you can board the Santa Train, which gives children their own Polar Express experience as they travel through the Christmas trees with a view of the castle on the hill. There are also Bumper cars, the Candy Cane Bungees, Chair-o-Planes, the Double Carousel and a rollercoaster. Nearby to Santa Land and great for adults and children alike, there’s also a big wheel and two helter skelters.
Ticket prices for the Santa Land attractions range from £3.50 – £6.50
Christmas Tree Maze
A favourite of Edinburgh’s Christmas, the Christmas tree maze is back for 2019. Festive fun for both adults and children, help find Santa’s elves lost in the labyrinth.
Tickets are £4.50 and 25p of this goes towards Time Tree, a project which plants and replants trees across Edinburgh.
For Edinburgh’s braver visitors, experience the best view of the city this Christmas as you fly above the rooftops at 60 metres high
Star Flyer tickets start at £8.50
Listen to a seasonal story and receive a gift from Santa in his grotto; this is sure to be a highlight of the festive season for younger children.
Tickets cost £8.50 and must be purchased for a specific time slot.
The Lion King
Although not Christmas-related, there could be no better way to escape the crowds than to travel to the Serengeti to experience this global phenomenon on its limited run in Edinburgh. Still selling out theatres after 20 years, you can see The Lion King at Edinburgh Playhouse from 5th December – 29th March. Tickets available here.
From the south of the country, there are two main routes to Scotland. If you are travelling via the east of England you can take the A1, passing by Peterborough, Doncaster, Newcastle and Berwick-upon-Tweed. Those travelling via the west can take the M6, A74 and M74, which goes around Birmingham, between Manchester and Liverpool and up to Carlisle. For a more scenic drive into Edinburgh, you can follow the A7 and take the Borders Historic Route.
Depending on where you live, the drive to Edinburgh can be a long one. Make it easier by sharing the drive and insuring someone else on your car for just the time you need it for with Tempcover.
Edinburgh is just a short flight from most U.K airports and transport links from the airport to the city centre are excellent.
The trams run between the airport and York Place, close to Waverley Station and the bus depot, and has a stop on Prince’s Street, perfect for heading straight to the Christmas attractions. Buy a ticket from one of the machines before boarding the tram, or buy an m-ticket with the Transport for Edinburgh app.
Edinburgh’s double decker buses can take you all around the city centre and suburbs. You can buy your ticket on board, use a reloadable citysmart card, which are available online or from on of the Lothian Buses Travelshops, or buy an m-ticket on the Transport for Edinburgh app.
You can find black cabs at taxi ranks in the city centre or hail one when you see one.
If you’re looking for a festive weekend break or events to entertain the kids during the Christmas holidays, Edinburgh offers something to lift everyone’s Christmas spirit.