Edinburgh Christmas Market Experience – What to Expect?

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Planning a trip to Edinburgh in winter? Lucky you! You’ll have a chance to visit Edinburgh Christmas Market. In this post, I would like to share my Edinburgh Christmas Market experience, so you know what to expect from Edinburgh in December (and November).

This post was originally written in 2016, however, I decided to update it with more useful information and relevant dates for 2019.

Without further ado, let’s get started with the Edinburgh Christmas Market experience.

Edinburgh Christmas Market Experience

Edinburgh Christmas Market Experience – What to Expect?

I consider myself lucky to have visited Edinburgh Christmas Market 4 times – in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2019. In 2014, I used to live and study in Edinburgh: I remember the excitement to see the market for the first time. I must say, that I was very impressed. Even though I basically saw it being constructed (because I was walking to the city centre almost every day.

In 2014, the Edinburgh Christmas Market was divided into 2 big parts: Princes Street Gardens and St. Andrews Square. Both places had various stalls, an ice skating rink, and some other attractions. In 2015, they added an impressive light tunnel on the Royal Mile.

However, in 2016 some changes were introduced – the Princes Street gardens part was extended almost to the Balmoral hotel, while St. Andrews square only got an ice-skating rink. The light tunnel plus a light show and some more stalls were moved to the end of George Street and once temporary theatre was constructed in front of the Usher Hall. Even though the Edinburgh Christmas Market is now spread all around the city, the major and most impressive part is still located in Princes Street Gardens. However, this year everything is just crazy – there are so many people in the Christmas Market, that they actually don’t fit!

Edinburgh Christmas Market Experience

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Edinburgh Christmas Market 2019: dates, opening times, locations and more

The Edinburgh Christmas Market 2019 dates have been announced! This year, it will start on the 16th of November and will finish on the 4th of January 2020.

If your dates are flexible, consider visiting the Edinburgh Christmas Market closer to the start date. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more crowded it gets. Just after the New Year, however, Edinburgh Christmas Market gets way less crowded and becomes pleasant to visit.

In December, it’s so full, that you can barely walk around the Christmas Market. Due to its location in Princes Street Gardens and multiple levels, the pathways are quite narrow and the numbers of visitors are huge!

Edinburgh Christmas Market 2019 dates and opening times

Edinburgh Christmas Market attractions:

The main Edinburgh Christmas Market attractions include Big Wheel, Ice Rink, and Star Flyer. There are a couple of carousels and one Helter Skelter (the slide) and some rides for kids e.g. Santa Train, Christmas Tree Maze or Rollercoaster.

The prices are a bit high: a ride in a Big Wheel would cost you £9 (£6 if you’re a student or have an Edinburgh postcode) and a Star Flyer is also around 8 pounds. The rides for kids are cheaper, they fit in the 2.5-5 pound range.

Visiting Edinburgh Christmas Market 2016

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Other things to do at the Edinburgh Christmas Market

Well, of course, you can visit Edinburgh Christmas Market with your family, significant other or a group of friends and just walk around, enjoy the atmosphere and visit some stalls. Edinburgh Christmas Market is famous for its delicious German Sausages (Bratwurst) and Spanish churros. Moreover, you can grab a burger or even a haggis there. A total must-try is a hot chocolate or hot toddy with whipped cream and marshmallows – it’s awesome!

Go to George Street and watch the free light show at 6 or 8 pm. There you can find hot drinks. Note, that the Christmas Market closes at 10 pm (quite early in my opinion), so you have to leave it before this time.

Tip: Avoid going to Edinburgh Christmas Market during the weekend – it’s really crowded and you won’t enjoy the experience.

P.S.: I filmed a video about Edinburgh Christmas Market (including a ride in Star Flyer), so feel free to check it out!

Looking for accommodation in Edinburgh? Check this post about the best affordable hotels in Edinburgh! And of course, don’t forget to check our Ultimate Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland!

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