Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh Christmas celebrations 'bigger than ever'

Carousel Image copyright Fraser Cameron
Image caption Edinburgh's Christmas events enjoyed 387,000 ticket sales last year

Edinburgh has unveiled its Christmas celebrations, promising they will be bigger and more affordable than ever.

Sixty schools and community groups will perform at the opening "Light Night" event on George Street on 23 November.

A new ice rink is planned for St Andrew Square around the Melville Monument and low-cost attractions will be available in East Princes Street Gardens.

People with an EH postcode will received a 20% discount on all shows, rides and events.

A number of attractions popular last year will be returning including the Christmas Tree Maze, Starflyer, Big Wheel and Paradiso Spiegeltent.

The ice rink, overlooked by the Scott Monument, will be back in East Princes Street, while Santa Land - including the train and grotto - has been expanded.

Image copyright Cameron Fraser
Image caption The Dutch made Ferris wheel is as high as eight buses and covered with 20,000 lights

The Big Wheel, enjoyed by 120,000 people last year, will be festooned with 20,000 lights.

The Spiegeltent performances include the Scotch and Soda circus, comedian Al Murray and Stickman, a show based on the children's book by Julia Donaldson.

Edinburgh's Festivals and Events Champion Steve Cardownie said organisers Unique Events and Underbelly had worked hard to include a range of free and low-cost attractions.

He said: "Edinburgh is always a special city during winter and this year, the capital is certainly the place to be to celebrate Christmas.

"Our festive programmes are the envy of the world. The line up this winter with Underbelly will be bring back some of the city's classic attractions such as Santa Land - which will be bigger than ever before - and the spectacular Light Night on George Street which returns for its second year.

Image copyright Fraser Cameron
Image caption More than 100 stalls will return to Princes Street Gardens and the Mound

"Not only will the East Princes Street Gardens ice rink make a return after receiving well over 30,000 visitors last Christmas, but a new bespoke ice rink in St Andrew Square will be opened for the very first time."

The opening ceremony, Light Night, will be free from 14:00 to 17:00 on Sunday 23 November.

The community event on George Street will feature 600 local performers under the theme Christmas Songs and Carols.

The Christmas Tree on the Mound, a gift to the City of Edinburgh Council from the Hordaland County Council in Norway, will be lit up as part of the Light Night switch-on.

Pupils from 24 Edinburgh primary schools have been invited to design a stained glass window and will show off their creations in Princes Street Gardens.

The European Christmas Market will be back in Princes Street Gardens and the Mound, with 106 stalls offering a selection of foods, drinks and crafts.

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