Winter in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Set to Sparkle this Christmas

Edinburgh is promising sparkle galore today with the unveiling of spectacular Christmas plans for the city centre, backed by the Capital’s biggest winter marketing drive ever. Recognising the standing of Edinburgh’s Christmas worldwide, big names such as Cadbury and Nintendo have signed up to take part with their own special attractions.

From a magical chocolate workshop to the brand new Edinburgh’s Ice Rink, Edinburgh’s Christmas, one of the highlights of the Edinburgh Sparkles campaign, will enjoy a programme packed full of old favourites and new additions. The traditional German Christmas market will be a key feature, Light Night on 25 November will include entertaining street theatre and an awe-inspiring aerial display to light Edinburgh’s Christmas Tree. This year is the 25th anniversary of the tree being gifted to the city by the people of Hordaland in Norway which will give the celebrations a special poignancy in marking the special relationship between the two countries.

To promote the events, alongside the shopping, dining and cultural scene of the city, local organisations have joined forces, through an initiative coordinated by the Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance (DEMA) to fund a £170,000 UK-wide winter marketing campaign. Edinburgh Sparkles is the largest ever public-private investment in the city’s marketing and again underlines the importance of the festive season to the local economy. Edinburgh Sparkles will be promoted throughout November and December with support from City of Edinburgh Council, Essential Edinburgh, Edinburgh’s Trams, Edinburgh Airport and Lothian Buses. Giant billboard advertising will appear throughout the Central Belt, as well as London, Manchester and Newcastle, in a bid to attract more day-trippers and visitors to the city centre.

Commenting on the overall programme of investment and attractions, City of Edinburgh Council’s Lord Provost, Councillor George Grubb, said: “Edinburgh at Christmas continues to be an enormous draw for visitors and residents alike, and research shows that it ranks high on the list of top places to celebrate the season. The city comes alive in a very special way and gives everyone the opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas as well as enjoying a great programme of events and attractions.”

With St Andrew’s Day falling within the Edinburgh’s Christmas programme, four days of free events for all the family, topped off with a rousing ceilidh finale, are planned from 27 to 30 November. Santa will visit East Princes Street Gardens from 4 December onwards to collect his post every day and meet the children for some special storytelling. The popular Great Scottish Santa Run will once again encourage everyone to get in shape for the holidays, while turning Princes Street Gardens into a sea of scarlet and white. The new Edinburgh’s Ice Rink Experience, set against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle and the iconic Edinburgh Wheel, will be the perfect place to take to the ice with friends and family and enjoy stunning displays and stage shows.

Nickie Gott, managing director of She’s Gott It!, Edinburgh’s Christmas producers, enthuses: “Everyone loves a spot of magic and sparkle at Christmas, and we have worked hard all year to make sure that there will be plenty of that on the streets of Edinburgh. With chocolate from Cadbury and fun and games from Nintendo, we have two unique new reasons to come into town, and Light Night promises to bring a real wow factor to kick everything off.”

Alan Johnston, Chair of DEMA, the body behind Edinburgh Sparkles, said: “Nowhere else can compare to this city at Christmas. The Christmas programme is exciting and the beauty of Edinburgh is the sum of its parts – the experience, the events, the shopping and the dynamic cultural scene. In times like these, it is more important than ever before that organisations throughout the city work together to maintain the quality of our winter celebrations. This is a world-class capital and we’re set for a world-class Christmas.”

More information on what is happening in Edinburgh throughout the winter period can be found at

Edinburgh’s Christmas is sponsored by Forth One and the Edinburgh Evening News and continues over the Christmas and New Year period until 4 January 2010. Full details of all events, including timings and prices, can be found at

Edinburgh's Winter Festivals

Edinburgh is the best city in Britain for a Christmas break. Scotland's Capital is stunningly beautiful for the rest of the year too but at Christmas, it becomes a truly magical experience, the heart of Edinburgh's winter festival and here's why.

Christmas shopping, winter family fun and lots of other activities take place in a sparkling Edinburgh city centre. Hardly any other city in the world has the ability to bring excellent shopping and the magic of Christmas so close together, and at the centre of Edinburgh's Capital, as well.

Events and festive Christmas celebrations take place throughout the city from Princes Street itself with the Gardens, the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle in the Old Town to George Street in the New Town.

The winter festival in Edinburgh lasts for more than a month, starting with the Christmas Lights Switch On in late November, followed by Christmas time in fairytale-like Edinburgh, and finally, finishing off with the Hogmanay 4-day long celebrations.

Highlights of Capital Christmas in Edinburgh

There's no doubt that the best thing about Christmas in Edinburgh is the Winter Wonderland, a mix of fairground rides, Ferris Wheel, outdoor ice rink, hot food stands, Christmas fair and a traditional German Christmas market. These are all open for visitors for nearly 4 weeks.

Other Christmas events include the Santa Run, Edinburgh's attempt at breaking the record for the largest gathering of Santas, the Reindeer Gardens in West Princes Street Gardens and carol concerts throughout Scotland's Capital.

Edinburgh New Year 2011

Why not use 23 Mayfield Guest house as your base for all of the festivities.

Torch Light procession

Our iconic Torchlight Procession remains a favourite with Hogmanay festival goers of all ages. Tthe event created a dramatic ‘river of fire’ through the city, from the the Royal Mile to Calton Hill.

The procession, which had a record crowd of around 25,000 in attendance, was led off from the City Chambers by the Up Helly Aa Vikings and the massed pipes and drums. A trail was blazed (literally!) through the centre of Edinburgh, down The Mound, along Princes Street and into Waterloo Place on its way to Calton Hill. The culmination of the procession on Calton Hill saw the lighting of fire sculptures along with music and other performers.

The evening concluded with a sensational fireworks display that wowed the crowd and sent everyone on their way ready for the remaining Hogmanay festivities to come!

The whole evening raised funds for the One City Trust , with the proceeds from torches (£5 beforehand, £6 on the evening) going to the charity.

Edinburgh Hogmany Street Party

The signature event of Edinburgh's Hogmanay, the Street Party, expanded this year to a 4-stage, 4-hour extravaganza of live music, lights, lasers and partying, not to mention sensational fireworks on the hour from through to midnight.

Glayva Ceildh in the Gardens

Edinburgh's famous Glayva Ceilidh in the Gardens gives a traditional outlet for seeing in the New Year but one with a twist, given the unique setting in East Princes Street Gardens. Reel in 2011 and jig out 2010 with our friends at Glayva who are this year's sponsors of the Ceilidh.

Candlelit Concert

A festive celebration in the atmospheric surroundings of the St Giles' Cathedral. This year's concert features Vivaldi's sparkling setting of the Gloria, and also celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Vaughan William's death with his Fantasia on Christmas Carols. Another seasonal touch is added with the Messe de Minuit, based on French Christmas melodies, by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. St Giles' Cathedral Choir, directed by Michael Harris, and the St Giles' Camerata, leader Angus Ramsay, are joined by a stunning array of young soloists. Not suitable for small children or babies.

Boogie Wonderland

Our brand new (but vintage seventies) spectacular event, Boogie Wonderland is added to this year's programme, making this year’s celebrations bigger and better than ever before.

Located in the Mound Precinct, Boogie Wonderland is set to be the funkiest gig in town and will give partygoers the perfect chance to dust off those platforms and get dressed up to the nines. A full-on tribute to the seventies hosted by Boogie himself, organisers are calling for ticket holders to dig out those shiny cat-suits, don those flairs and cheesy moustaches and groove under the glitter ball to a truly Top of the Pops, seventies soundtrack featuring a whole host of retro-tribute bands.

With an awesome line-up ready to set those disco lights flashing, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will invite on stage: ABBA Arrival, Ultimate Earth, Wind & Fire and The Soul Kings for what promises to be a night full of glamour, glitter, disco balls and more moves than Travolta could handle.

Paying homage to D I S C O and returning to Edinburgh after it’s success at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Silent Disco is back for one night only!

Silent Disco is a club night with a difference – to passers by there is no noise, hence silent disco, just a room full of people dancing away to their hearts content. As revellers sport wireless yellow, headphones, to set off their fantastic seventies ‘fros, they will be able to tune into a dedicated DJ channel playing retro pop classics.

New Years Day

Feet First

As the traditional doorway to the excitement of a New Year opens, Feet First will be a radical and accessible new event showcasing a wide range of outdoor performances by Scottish artists. Full details of this exciting new event will be announced in early November.

Loony Dook Jan 1st South Queensferry

Go ahead Jump in wear what you want its only a bit of cold water !!

Seasonal Offers

Seasonal Special Offers in Edinburgh

A selection of seasonal offers are available at selected times throughout the year.

Enquire now»

Award winning breakfast

Award winning breakfasts

Find out what's on the menu and start your day off in an award winning fashion!

Find out more »

Cycle Hire Now Available

One of the finest cities in the World

Edinburgh is rightly regarded as one of the finest cities in the World. And no wonder...

Find out more »