Edinburgh Christmas markets 2018

This article is part of a series which researches the top cities for Christmas Markets in Europe. In this series, Edinburgh was recognised as the 7th most coveted Christmas Market from a list of over 500 European cities.

 

About Edinburgh Christmas Markets

Bundling into your warm clothes to visit a Christmas market is one of the best things to do to get you in the mood for the festive season. All over Europe, you’ll find memorable and exciting markets to visit, and Scotland is no different.

Edinburgh’s Christmas is a six-week-long festival that takes place in the heart of the city. The Christmas spirit is brought to life with a wealth of stalls full of festive foods and goods to peruse, thrilling rides, and plenty of activities for all ages.

Winter can be quieter in other destinations throughout the UK, but Edinburgh comes alive with visitors in December, largely due to the Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay (New Year) celebrations. 2017 saw almost a million people visit the Edinburgh Christmas markets, from 64 different countries.

Although Edinburgh may not have a lengthy history of Christmas markets like some other European destinations, it more than makes up for it with the variety of celebrations that run from late November to early January.

Illustrated map of Edinburgh Christmas Markets

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East Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh’s Christmas in the Princes Street Gardens is the most visible of the cities markets. Some of the most recognisable rides are in this part of the market, including the Big Wheel, that provides panoramic views, a traditional carousel, and the Star Flyer, a thrilling ride that sees you flying high above the city.

Santa’s Land and Santa’s Grotto are located in the lower part of East Princes Street Gardens, as well as the Christmas Tree Maze, and they all provide endless entertainment for children, and of course, a chance for them to meet the man himself.

All of these attractions range in price from free to about £8.

The East Princes Street Gardens part of Edinburgh’s Christmas is usually the site known as the European Market. The plentiful market stalls contain possible presents for your loved ones or a keepsake for yourself, as well as delicious food and drink from across Europe. Grab a mug of mulled wine or a hot toddy (with Scottish whisky of course) and browse the beautiful products on offer.

When: 16th November 2018 – 5th January 2019
Where: East Princes Street Gardens
What time: Markets are open from 10am – 10pm. They also close at 8pm on 24 December, are closed 25 December, open 12pm 26 December and 1 January.
Official Website: www.edinburghschristmas.com

 

George Street & St Andrew’s Square

For a more local affair, head over to George Street and the Scottish Market. Here you’ll find gifts and products from local Edinburgh businesses and from throughout Scotland.

Wander along to the end of George Street to St Andrew’s Square to watch ice-skaters twirling in circles around the Melville Monument. Or why not give it a go yourself? You can book in advance to secure a half hour slot or try your luck on the day if it’s a quieter time, like during the weekdays. If you’re feeling peckish then there are more food and drinks stalls in the Square to provide you with sustenance.

When: 16th November 2018 – 24th December 2018
Where: George Street
What time: Markets are open from 10am – 10pm. They also close at 8pm on 24 December, are closed 25 December, open 12pm 26 December and 1 January.
Official Website: www.edinburghschristmas.com

 

Light Night

Light Night takes place on the 18 November at the beginning of the Edinburgh Christmas markets. It’s a free event that aims to capture the spirit of the festive season, with choirs coming from across Scotland to perform, and it also heralds the switching on of the Christmas lights around the city. The Hordaland County Council in Norway have also gifted Edinburgh a large Christmas Tree which will take pride of place on The Mound and be lit as part of the evening’s festivities.

In addition to the above, there is also the annual Christmas Shopping Fair at Hopetoun House, a country house located near Queensferry just outside of Edinburgh, running from 30th November Sunday to December 2018 and featuring over 60 festive stalls containing unusual gifts and high quality products. Or pop along to the Summerhall Christmas Market on the 9th of December, where you can browse stalls run by local businesses inside and sample delicious food outside, or take part in a Festive Wreath Workshop led by Garland’s Florist. If you’re searching for gifts for your foodie friends and family, try the Edinburgh Farmers Market which takes place on Castle Terrace every Saturday, and in December will feature festive treats and hampers.

Although the weather in Edinburgh may be chilly at this time of year, the festivities and hot drinks in the markets will keep you toasty warm! So wrap up and make your way to one of the many places around Edinburgh where you can find the perfect gift for your loved ones, and get into the festive spirit.

 

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