If anybody is looking for a good time to visit us in Edinburgh, I highly recommend coming late November-December (even though the days are short and it’s cold). There seems to be some good flight deals and hotel rates aren’t super crazy. Plus, Europeans really know how to celebrate Christmas. In Edinburgh, the city turns into a Disneyland for Christmas!
Just like Disneyland, there a rides and activities, it’s festive, sparkly, and magical, and there are some expensive snacks and lots of unnecessary gifts to buy! Unlike most food festivals and craft fairs I’ve been to (like Renegade or any Food Truck/Food Festivals), the Christmas Markets are open from 10am-10pm for a month and a half (end of November to beginning of January) so you don’t feel rushed or restricted to enjoying it all in one weekend.
Princes Street Gardens
There’s ice skating in the park, The Big Wheel, The Star Flyer, Santa Land, the Christmas Tree Maze, and many other kids rides. Andrew and I didn’t have the chance to enjoy any of these activities because we rather spend our money on trying the foods. Apparently, there is a 20% EH post code discount though to save some money, but we didn’t know about that. There’s also the European Christmas Market. It was German themed this year with over 100 stalls tempting us to buy things from them.
We got mulled wine, which I now love. Mulled wine is a Christmas tradition in the United Kingdom. I ended up getting mulled cider and it was delicious. Why haven’t I had alcohol served hot in a mug before? Drinking mulled wine/cider when it’s so cold outside certainly is one of the best things to do to warm up. We also tried a fresh pretzel, bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes cooked in bacon and onions, similar to homefries), and a Pork Steak Sandwich. The pretzel was standard. I still like Miller’s Twists in Philly the best. Andrew loved the bratkartoffein. He claims that these potatoes were better than Daddypops. Pork Steak Sandwich was a little disappointing. I think my pork was burnt. It smelled so good, but it tasted just like a piece of meat on bread.
From St Andrew’s Day to Christmas Eve, the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town is lit up with an arches of lights (Virgin Street of Light). Music from the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the Edinburgh’s Gay Men’s Chorus, the Edinburgh Police Choir, and the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union is synchronized to the lights. I would compare it to World of Color at Disneyland, but without water. It’s a free event, but you need to get tickets to enjoy it close by. I didn’t have the chance to enjoy it because I was often working, but I often got to walk pass through and hear the music and see the lights. The event lasts about 20 minutes.
St Andrews Square
If you wander into New Town, you can pass by St Andrews Square and find yourself in the Scottish Market. There’s Scottish foods, drinks, snacks, and gifts. There’s also more ice skating and a carousel for the kids. It was a lot smaller than the market in Princes Street Gardens, but good for anything Scottish, like fish and chips, tartan souvenirs, locally produced gifts, fudge, whisky, gin, and other good Scottish things.
It’s fun living in a city that celebrates and enjoys Christmas. I love the crowds and seeing children having fun. It’s just like Disneyland, but without the parking lot and $100 admission fee. 😉
Merry Christmas and come visit us next Christmas!
Love, Chelsea & Andrew