Edinburgh’s Christmas Market

Last year, on our way to Aviemore, we stopped by Edinburgh’s Christmas Market for a wander around.

We’d never been to a Christmas market before, and with it being 3 days until Christmas, it was a great way to get into the festive spirit.
After spending 4 hours in the car on the way up, we were glad to get out and stretch our legs. Parking was very clearly marked and we managed to get a space in an underground parking area.

I had pre-booked our activities for the day, to ensure that we managed to do something while we were there, not just wander around and buy all the food!

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market has so many activities on offer. From the Forth Big Wheel, to Candy Cane bungee ropes, a Santa train, bumper cars and a helter skelter. All attractions are bookable through the website, but you can turn up and enjoy on the day.

Forth One Big Wheel

I booked the Forth One Big Wheel for our first activity. Once we found the toilet that is! We sat in a pod attached to a huge wheel that took us up into the sky, giving us fantastic views over Edinburgh and beyond. From the top we could see into the Christmas Tree maze, so if you send a friend in you can direct them to the middle! The kids are OK with heights and were fascinated with picking out all the Christmas events over the top of the market.

There are stalls and huts filled with every Christmas smell you can imagine. From cinnamon to hot chocolate with marshmallows, mulled wine and gingerbread. There is something for everyone. Hand made crafts are sold and traditional tartan is everywhere.

Free Events

There are also free events taking place in the city. A night walk sounds like a fun way to explore the cobbled streets and stairs of Edinburgh, following along to the voice in your ears and watching a mystery unfold on your screen. There is also a Santa fun run/walk and Carol Concerts to enjoy too.

Ice Skating

Last year, we booked to go ice skating in St Andrews square. It has just come to my attention that it is no longer there. This will be the first year for 22 years that the ice rink will not be present for Edinburgh’s Christmas. I find it really disappointing for future visitors as that was the whole reason we attended the markets last year. I’m so glad we went now, and had the experience of outdoor ice skating in the Christmas atmosphere.

We had such a wonderful time at the rink. Our slot was for half an hour on the ice, and, considering we have never been ice skating before, the kids took to it really well. Hopefully Edinburgh will see the error of it’s ways and bring back the iconic Christmas feature.

Visiting Information

If you would like to visit, head over to the website and book in advance, just to guarantee your place. Entry to Edinburgh’s Christmas Market is free, but most activities are payable.

Opening Times

Open: 10am – 10pm everday 

With the exceptions of:

16 November: Early Afternoon – 10pm

24 December: 10am – 8pm

26 December: 12pm – 8pm

31 December: 10am – 6pm

1 January: 12pm – 8pm


Santa Land, in East Princes Street Gardens, features a Christmas Tree Maze, the Santa Train, and family-friendly rides including the Race-o-Rama, Candy Cane Bungees, Chair o’planes and Reindeer Ride.
Castle Street is home to Santa’s Grotto, Bumper Cars and the Helter Skelter this year. 
The Mound contains the Norwegian Tree and leads from the Royal Mile down to East Princes Street Gardens – the heart of Edinburgh’s Christmas.

Have you ever visited? What’s your favourite part of a Christmas Market?

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