Edinburgh’s Christmas 2019 is here!!
After an amazing launch Light Night last weekend, it’s official that Edinburgh is in holiday season!
So the big question is, what are the highlights of the Christmas celebrations in Edinburgh this year?
The I Love Edinburgh Tours family adore the city at this time of the year. It’s magical for Edinburghers and visitors alike, so as a private tour guide in Edinburgh, these are this year’s highlights from me.
Christmas Market and Fair
Back by popular demand is Edinburgh’s Christmas Market which nestles around the Scott Monument right down into Princes Street gardens. There are an amazing array of stalls selling everything from hot toddies (a hot, whisky based drink to warm your cockles!) and mulled cider, to hot snacks and lots of beautiful crafts.
The heart of the fair is the Forth 1 Big Wheel – climb aboard one of their fully enclosed pods and enjoying the dazzling views of the whole city. My favourite time to ride is at night so you can take in the twinkling lights across the city.
Or for the adventure seekers the Star Flyer is a must, where you can whizz through the sky and feel like you can reach out and touch the Scott Monument! For the little ones, there are lots of small rides, as well as Santa’s Grotto and the Christmas Tree Maze.
Concerts and Shows
There’s an array of amazing shows and concerts, kicking off with the free Nativity Carol Concert being held at 3pm on Sunday 1st December at Mound Place. It officially starts the advent period with choirs from across Edinburgh singing and is guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit.
The Lyceum theatre is presenting the Edinburgh Christmas Carol. Edinburgh folklore has it that when Charles Dickens visited the city, a stroll through a kirkyard brought him to the tombstone of one Ebenezer Scroggie, inspiration struck and A Christmas Carol was born. This adaptation of a classic favourite brings this festive story back to the city of its birth with a guest appearance from Edinburgh’s bestloved Victorian – Greyfriars Bobby! https://lyceum.org.uk/
Many of the churches around Edinburgh will be holding special services around Christmas. The stunning St Johns Church at the west end of Princes Street has a Brass Band Concert on Friday 20th December then on Christmas Eve it has both a family Christingle Service at 4.30pm plus the Midnight Service starting at 11.15pm. http://www.stjohns-edinburgh.org.uk/whats_on.html
Disney’s award-winning musical is showing from the 5th December at the Playhouse. For those who haven’t seen it yet, the Lion King is spectacular and makes for an amazing family outing https://www.playhousetheatre.com/
And to top off an amazing 2019, why not finish the year in style at Mark Ronson’s Hogmanay in the Gardens. https://www.edinburghshogmanay.com/whats-on/mark-ronsons-hogmanay-in-the-gardens
24 Doors of Advent
This is one of my favourite events of Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations. Each day during the advent period a building in Edinburgh (that often isn’t open to the public) will throw open it’s doors, allowing you to take a trip around Edinburgh seeing inside some great places. My favourites are:-
6 December – Trinity House Maritime Museum, Leith
Here you can dive into Leith’s famous maritime history and explore this elegant Georgian house which holds an outstanding collection of nautical treasures. There are activities suitable for all ages including drop-in crafts, the chance to handle real and replica objects, themed children’s trails and hear some traditional festive tales on their new storytelling carpet.
8 December – Mansfield Traquair – “Edinburgh’s Sistine Chapel”
Mansfield Traquair is a former Catholic Apostolic Church and is renowned for the outstanding mural decoration painted by Phoebe Anna Traquair in the 1890s. The stunning murals were restored to their former glory in 2005 and it’s opening its doors to allow you to admire this stunning masterpiece.
13 December – Edinburgh University’s Anatomical Museum
The Anatomical Museum in the Old Medical School opened in 1884 and displays specimens, models and human remains that have been used to teach anatomy for nearly 300 years. Amongst it’s fascinating exhibits, the museum contains the skeleton of murderer William Burke.
21 Dec – Robin Chapel Choir Christmas Concert
The Robin Chapel is a listed building situated in the grounds of The Thistle Foundation in Craigmillar. The chapel is a memorial to Robin Tudsbery, killed in the last week of the Second World War.
The beautiful chapel is opening its doors for a special carol concert including mulled wine and mince pies. Tickets for this free event can be obtained in advance at http://www.edinburghschristmas.com/whats-on/24-doors-of-advent18
And then what?
And if you’ve still got some energy left after all that, then my final top tip is to take to the streets to dance your little cotton socks off at the Festive Silent Disco Adventure in Edinburgh! https://silentadventures.co.uk/edinburgh/#calendar
I wish all my I Love Edinburgh Tours guests a wonderful Christmas season and all the best for 2020. I can’t wait to take more visitors on day trips from Edinburgh next year to show them the amazing sights of Scotland on one of my private Edinburgh tours!