FEATURE – Edinburgh’s Christmas 2013

An all new Edinburgh’s Christmas for 2013

The Edinburgh’s Christmas programme has officially launched and we are already excited.

Christmas activities will not be centered around the Princes Street Gardens this year, but will also feature in St Andrew Square and along the length of Rose Street.

The majority of the attractions open on 22 November 2013 and run through until 5 January 2014. Please check individual listings for times and dates.

A brand new Edinburgh's Christmas for 2013

Highlights of Edinburgh’s Christmas 2013 include:

Christmas Markets

There are three markets to choose from this year:

There’s a European Market at the Mound precint and East Princes Street Gardens.The traditional and romantic Christmas Market in the heart of the City of Edinburgh offers a unique shopping experience for every visitor with the flair of various crafters, artists, gift shops and gastronomic surprises. Get into the Christmas feeling!

A Children’s Market right in the heart of St Andrew Square you will find the magical Children’s Market playing host to a selection of festive, child-friendly shopping experiences, which enable the children to be the main customer. With Edinburgh’s Toys Galore on site kids (and big kids) can choose from a range of quality toys – the perfect shopping destination for gifts and festive treats.

Edinburgh’s Scottish Market, which is a winter showcase of the best food and drink Scotland has to offer. The treats on offer will include traditional butteries with a contemporary twist, fresh fish and chips and a range of seafood to take away, Scottish brewed craft beer and much much more. Businesses taking part include: The Scottish Cafe,Edinburgh Gin, Susie’s Diner, Wild Game Co & Chocmotif.

All of the markets are open from 22 November 2013 – January 5 2014. Sunday – Thursday 10am – 9pm and Friday and Saturday 10am – 10pm.

Gorgie City Farm at Ocean Terminal

From 24th November until 22nd December, from 10am – 4pm every day, you can visit the Gorgie City Farm animals at Ocean Terminal. Head along for a cuddle with the farm’s favorite animals, pick up a tasty treat at our produce stall or get crafty at one of our festive workshops. Animals expected to be there include: a lamb, calves, guinea pigs, rabbits and chickens.

Breakfast with Santa

The excellent Craigie’s Farm are having a very special guest for breakfast at the weekends in December. Santa Claus himself will be paying a visit to the farm on 7,8,14,15,21 and 22 December to have his breakfast. The children’s events starts at 9.30am and finish around 11am. A disney themed breakfast and a present from Santa himself is included in the ticket price of £8.99 per child. Tickets available from Craigie’s Farm direct.

Santa’s Grotto at The Botanics

This December, Santa is coming to the Botanics.  Join him and his audience in the Garden’s enchanting grotto for some traditional festive story-telling.  Each child will have the chance to meet Santa and they will also receive a small gift. Recommended for children 3+. Each performance is 45 minutes. Further details available on their website.

The Dome at Christmas

Light Night

At 3pm on the afternoon of Sunday 24th November, Light Night will start and take place in the heart of the city on prestigious George Street. The theme is 12 Days of Christmas and there will be 12 different stages along the length of the street.

Edinburgh’s Sir Chris Hoy will be turning on the lights and the event will have a fireworks finale (approximately 4.50pm)

At this time, the famous Edinburgh Christmas Tree gifted from Norway will also be lit.

The event is free to attend.

Advent concert

In conjunction with St Andrews, St Georges West and Edinburgh Churches together, on Sunday 1st December at 5pm, there will be a carol concert around  Tim Chalk’s nativity scene in St Andrew Square Garden.

Santa Run

The Santa run is back for 2013 on Sunday 8th December at 11am. Raising funds for When You Wish Upon a Star and Santa’s ‘little helpers’ can also run.  You can register now to take part.

The popular Santa run is back for 2013

A new Big Wheel

There’s a new and improved observational Big Wheel this year. Situated in East Princes Street Gardens, the weather-proof pods, each seating six people, will take you round and give you unrivalled views of Edinburgh. As the pod door
closes, you’ll hear a short historical tour of the view and the city. The wheel is from Amsterdam and its 20,000 lights will light up the centre of Edinburgh.

Real Christmas Tree Maze

New for 2013 is the Real Christmas Tree Maze.

A joy for children and adults alike, explore the maze in East Princes Street Gardens – can you make your way to the centre and back again? If you do find the centre, then Santa’s elves will be waiting for you with a present.

The Star Flyer

The 60 metre tall Star flyer in St Andrew Square Garden will tower over the Melville Monument which stands at 42.6m. Taking up to 36 people at a time, you can soak in the magnificent views below. Please note that this is not a thrill ride, but not one for those scared of heights either!

Tim Chalk's Nativity Scene

Other Christmas events/activities include:

Christmas Theatre in St Andrew Square Garden

There are 3 shows taking place in the 600-capcity Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square Garden.

Disco! Straight from its successful run on the Edinburgh Fringe, the Hot Dub Time Machine disco will be back on selected nights in December at Summerhall. Billed as the ‘best party ever, you will be taken back to 1954 and brought back to 2013 with a song from every year.

Christmas Theatre

Edinburgh has a magnificent choice of shows to attend in the coming weeks. There’s something suitable for everyone in the following theatres:

  • The King’s Theatre has the Peter Pan pantomime (oh yes it has). Suitable for all ages. The panto is running from 30 November 2013 to 19 January 2014.
  • The Festival Theatre has White Christmas which runs from 29 November to 4 January 2014.
  • The Royal Lyceum Theatre has A Christmas Carol which runs from 28 November to 4 January 2014
  • The Traverse has The Polar Bear Goes Wild (5 – 21 December) and Ciara 3 – 21 December.


You can also check out what’s on at the Queen’s Hall this Christmas. The Edinburgh Playhouse is playing host to The Lion King from 11th October until 18th January 2014. The Usher Hall has a variety of shows to choose from. Be sure to check out what’s showing at The Filmhouse and The Cameo cinemas in December, they always have an excellent festive programme.

Christmas Markets

Things to do

Edinburgh’s tourist attractions are open throughout the winter (with the exception of Christmas day, but the Edinburgh Zoo does remain open on the 25th). You can check out our list of things to do in Edinburgh (with full and honest reviews). If you are bringing children to town this festiva season, you may wish to look at our guide of child friendly activities.

Some tourist attractions such as Mary King’s CloseCamera Obscura, the National Museum of Scotland and Dynamic Earth are not weather dependent. No matter how cold/rainy/snowy it is in Edinburgh, these leading tourist attractions are open all winter.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

You can read our feature on Hogmanay 2013/14 (to be updated once programme officially launched in November).

Further Information

The programme from Edinburgh’s Christmas can be found on their website with up to date opening times and prices. You can like Edinburgh’s Christmas on Facebook and follow them on twitter @EdXmas.

All the attractions can be booked online this year.

Map of Edinburgh's Christmas

1. Carousel 2. European Market 3. Scott Monument 4. Ice Rink 5. Box Office 6. Big Wheel 7. Santa’s Grotto
8. Christmas Tree Maze 9. Santa Train 10. Princes Street 11. George Street 12. Spiegeltent 13. Star Flyer 14. Scottish Food & Drink Market 15. Children’s Market 16. Carousel 17. The Monument Bar 18. South St David Street

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