The Edinburgh Christmas Market is one of my all time favourite places to visit in Edinburgh at Christmas, and things to do at Christmas. My uncle used to run a coach tour company, and each year he’d run multiple tours to the Christmas markets of Germany. Now Christmas markets in the UK are so good that you don’t have to travel to the continent to have a great time and make long lasting cherished memories. I’ve been every year I’ve lived in/around Edinburgh and nothing says Christmas to me more than spending the day there with my family, a glass of mulled wine in hand!
Of course, apart from the Edinburgh Christmas Market, the city is full of other great things to do at Christmas. Edinburgh is such a great place to visit, whether you’re local or have travelled a bit further afield. So when Premier Inn invited me to spend the day in Edinburgh, so as to share with you my favourite things to do in the city at Christmas, I jumped at the chance.
It’s quite a picture heavy post so to continue reading click “read more”:
Edinburgh Christmas Market
The first thing we did when we arrived in Edinburgh for the day was head straight to the Edinburgh Christmas Market in Princes St Gardens. We armed ourselves with a nice mug of mulled wine and had a little wander around the stalls. Even if you’re not buying anything it’s a lot of fun to window shop all the wares!
Our little girl got a bit too excited about seeing the Big Wheel, so that was our next port of call. The Big Wheel is quite pricey to go on, but if you live in or around Edinburgh and have an EH postcode you can get 20% off the Big Wheel (and all rides) at the market so be sure to bring some ID!
It didn’t look that high from the ground, but once we got to the top we realised it’s pretty pretty high! You do get some fabulous views of the city so it’s well worth getting over your fear of heights to go on it!
After spending a bit more time at the market and enjoying a few more rides and stalls, we headed further down the hill in Princes St Gardens towards Santa Land with a very excited little girl. Santa Land is aimed at little kids, and there are lots of fun rides for them. We had a blast going on the kiddie rides with my daughter, but the pièce de résistance was the main man himself – Santa.
The Santa at the Edinburgh Christmas Market is possibly one of the best I’ve seen, and such a magical experience. You have to book a ticket for it at a specific time slot so there’s no horrendous queue with over-excited kids, which I really appreciated. We had no idea what to expect, but were very pleasantly surprised when we were ushered into a cosy and charming cabin with a small group of other kids. Santa then greeted the children and sat and read a story. The kids then get to meet Santa one by one, and each kid got a small gift. I think we were in there for about 20 minutes/half an hour, and for £7.50 it was great value for money. You can even take your own photos – unlike some grottos I’ve seen where you have to pay for a photo. I’d maybe go as far to say it’s the best Santa in Edinburgh – our daughter thought it was magical.
Once you’ve exhausted the Christmas Market in Princes St Gardens you can head over and enjoy the Christmas offerings at St Andrew’s Square, where you can ice-skate, feast on some fantastic food from local vendors, and more.
If by this point you’ve reached Christmas market saturation point then here are some other favourite independent places in Edinburgh to enjoy on your visit to the city:
Hendersons, on Hanover Street, is a favourite for lunch, and not too far from St Andrew’s Square. Full of vegetarian and vegan deliciousness it comes highly recommended. If you fancy a sweet treat after lunch my favourite is the cherry pie – so good!
You can then head up over the Mound and across the Royal Mile to Victoria Street and the Grassmarket. One of the prettiest areas in Edinburgh, it’s full of independent and vintage shops (my favourites are Hannah Zakari, Red Door Gallery, Armstrongs, Black Box Boutique and Godiva). It’s also a nice area to walk about and soak up the atmosphere.
If it’s a chilly day and you’re in need of a hot chocolate to warm your cockles then from the Grassmarket it’s only a short hop to Peter’s Yard, in Quartermile. Their cardamom hot chocolate is just amazing, and they do pretty good coffee too. They also make delicious cardamom vanilla buns (below), which are my all time favourite cake (they just pip Henderson’s cherry pie!).
After Peter’s Yard I’d recommend a visit to the National Museum of Scotland. It’s free to get in and a great way to spend the rest of the afternoon. It’s such a beautiful building with exhibits for all of the family, and a really handy trick to have up your sleeve in case of bad weather!
To finish off your day I’d recommend David Bann on St Mary’s Street for delicious vegetarian and vegan food. It’s a little bit formal so if you’re with kids then I’d completely recommend La Favorita, on Leith Walk. It’s a little bit out of the centre of Edinburgh (but easily accessible by bus) and great for families. The staff are very accommodating for little ones and the food (Italian) is out of this world – it’s my favourite pizza joint EVER (not a crown I bestow lightly!). Their secret is their wood-fired oven – so good!
Finally, if you fancy a drink then you’re in luck because Edinburgh is home to some great pubs. I don’t get out much in the evening these days so my bar recommendations aren’t up to date, but Blackfriars, on Blackfriars Street is very nice, Joseph Pearce on Elm Row is always good, or if you’re in the mood for cocktails then Bramble on Queen St is home to some seriously tasty (but a little pricey) cocktails.
Hope you enjoyed this festive guide to the Edinburgh Christmas Market and more! Before I go though, to celebrate the season the kind people of Premier Inn have put together a little fair trade hamper for UK based Moral Fibres readers, with some fair trade treats for one lucky reader. To enter simply leave a comment below telling me what your favourite Christmas tradition is. I’ll draw a winner on Monday 15th December at 8pm, so your prize can be with you in time for Christmas.
I’m having a bit of trouble with comments on the blog at the moment, so when you comment you’ll get an error message – do ignore the error message as comments come through fine. I’m trying to fix it but it’s proving trickier than expected!
Terms and conditions:
1. To enter the Premier Inn prize draw give-away leave a comment telling me your favourite Christmas tradition. 2. The prize is 1 prize of a fairtrade hamper only. No cash or alternative prizes will be given. 3. The prize draw will start on Wednesday 10th December 2014 and end at 8pm (GMT) on Monday 15th December 2014. The winner will be picked at random from all valid entries. 5. The winner will be notified directly via email. The winner must reply within seven days of receiving the email or a new winner will be picked at random.
Premier Inn kindly covered our expenses for our family day out in Edinburgh for the purposes of this post, but all words, opinions and photos are my own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.