FEATURE – Edinburgh’s Christmas 2011

Santa welcomes the media to the Ghilie Dhu

Santa welcomes the media to the Ghilie Dhu

The Ghilie Dhu provided a little corner of festive respite from a wet November morning today, as it played host to the press launch of Edinburgh’s Christmas.

This year’s celebrations look all set to be the biggest and brightest yet, with the welcome return of some old favourites and the addition of some innovative and exciting-sounding new attractions.

Things will get started in style on November 24th with Light Night, a spectacular opening event which commences with a light projection on the buildings of George Street, followed by pyrotechnics and street theatre: including a fourteen foot-high Snow Queen, who will lead the crowd to the Mound, where Edinburgh’s much-loved Norwegian Christmas Tree will be switched on.

Edinburgh's Lord Provost, Councillor George Grubb welcomes the Snow Queen

Edinburgh's Lord Provost, Councillor George Grubb welcomes the Snow Queen

Revellers will be spoiled for choice afterwards: with a Norwegian carol concert at St Giles; a music and talent show in St Andrew Square; and the ever-popular Christmas Fair, Ice Rink and Christmas Markets, which all open for business on the same day (November 24th).

The Christmas Fair returns

The Christmas Fair returns this year

St Andrew’s Day will be celebrated on the 26th and 27th of November, with a ‘fire and frost spectacular’ at Edinburgh Castle, featuring a host of events culminating in a finale on the evening of the 27th full of fire and light. The free celebrations for St Andrew’s Day sound like a perfect way to get ready for all the Christmas fun in the month to follow.

And December sees the arrival of a very special visitor. We can’t wait to welcome Santa back to East Princes Street Gardens, where he will arrive on a reindeer-drawn sleigh on Saturday 3rd, making regular visits up until Christmas Eve to collect letters from his postboxes beside the ice rink and the Highland Village Christmas Market.

Then, on Sunday 11th December, Princes Street Gardens will be a sea of red and white as The Great Edinburgh Santa Run returns, kicking off this year with a mass Christmas Zumba warm-up!

The Great Edinburgh Santa Run

The Great Edinburgh Santa Run

Princes Street will be a focal point for many activities this year, with parts of the street being pedestrianised to allow locals and visitors alike to enjoy all Edinburgh has to offer at Christmas time. Shops will open up until 9pm; buskers and performers will add to the fun; and alfresco drinking and dining will be available for those wishing to soak up the atmosphere.

The popular Nativity Scene sculpture returns to St Andrew’s Square to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas; and a Nativity Carol Concert will take place beside it on Sunday 27th November, giving you the chance to sing along to favourite carols and celebrate the start of the season.

With a whole number of events taking place across the city, including the Royal Yacht, the Botanics, The National Museum of Scotland and a special Edinburgh Sparkles treasure hunt: the city looks set to celebrate Christmas in style. Add in all the pantos, musical events and church carol concerts, and we think Christmas 2011 is going to be a magical one indeed!

A full list of attractions, events, times and ticket prices can be found on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website.

Join the Snow Queen on 24 November, when Edinburgh's Christmas opens

Join the Snow Queen on 24 November, when Edinburgh's Christmas opens

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