Edinburgh is at its most magical around the festive season, which is why it continues to draw visitors who are captivated by the variety of experiences the city has to offer. Here are just five reasons to celebrate Christmas in Scotland’s capital.
Light up the town
For the past two years Edinburgh’s street of light has become a local favourite, illuminating the West End each night with more than 60,000 lights alongside synchronised music from local choirs. Following its inaugural year, the Street of Light moved to its location on George Street, and the surrounding architecture adds a further sense of grandeur to the Light Night event which is becoming a loved Edinburgh tradition. Sadly it is no longer part of Edinburgh’s Christmas but two new exciting this year include the Ice Adventure, which will have ice sculptures of Scottish icons through history as part of a walk-through experience, and a large advent calendar projected onto the 24 windows of General Register House.
Explore the Christmas Markets
Wander into a winter wonderland as the city centre plays host to more than 100 stalls nestled within East Princes Street Gardens and the Mound. Indulge in a variety of tasty treats and warming winter drinks, grab some handmade stocking fillers and if you can brave the heights (and the winter chill) rise to enjoy breath-taking panoramic views of the city from the Winter Ferris Wheel.
Drinks at the Dome
So popular are the Dome’s glittering wreaths and decorations, that they now adorn the iconic venue from the end of October. Located at the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, the Dome is ideal for post-Christmas market drinks, a romantic dinner or simply to enjoy the opulent festive surroundings.
Master your Christmas baking
When preparing for the big day you might find yourself dashing between high street shops looking for that perfect gift. Take a break from the retail mayhem and you could find yourself avoiding madness of another kind – that dreaded last minute kitchen nightmare. Classes at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School will guide you through the process of making festive home baking that will impress your guests without a culinary meltdown.
Edinburgh Winter Festivals
The fun doesn’t stop at Christmas, Edinburgh’s Winter Festivals run through to Hogmanay and celebrate the New Year like nowhere else on earth. The three day Hogmanay festival begins with the enchanting torchlight procession, weaving its way through the old town. On the big night, Edinburgh’s Street Party welcomes the New Year with a carnival spirit and awe-inspiring firework display. Bleary eyes can be given a fresh start the next day, with the traditional ‘loony dook’ inviting hundreds of brave revellers to begin the New Year with a dip in the Firth of Forth.
However you spend the winter season, you can’t go wrong with a visit to this atmospheric and bustling Scottish city.
Douglas Walker is Chair of Unique Venues of Edinburgh.
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