Over the past few weeks, winter has come to Edinburgh.
Reports of the first frost on the Meadows; walks home with numb ears and breath clouding before me; the early sunsets that belie the true chill. I’d take a cold, dry day over rain every time and — as the weeks speed towards Christmas — this wintry weather is but encouraging my festive spirit (and justifying my right to play my Christmas playlist on Spotify).
Edinburgh does this magical time of year especially well.
The New Town’s Georgian facades are swathed in colourful lights (the Dome‘s stretch on George Street is my favourite); East Princes Street Gardens is crammed with stalls and fairground rides; and the gothic atmosphere of the town seems to come alive in the early evening light.
This year, Edinburgh’s Christmas rolled up their stall shutters in the middle of November. We went for our first wander around on this opening weekend (it was shoulder-to-shoulder that Saturday). Knowing that it’s quieter during weekdays, I took a half-day off work on Friday and went to get suitably festive with my maternal partner-in-crime.
It’s a joy just to wander…
Even if you’re not filled with the capitalist fervour that’s kickstarted by Black Friday and rushes into Christmas, you can still enjoy the spectacle of the market stalls. There’s everything from sweet treats and warming meals to delicate china gifts, decorations, glassware, clothing and cheese. And — what would Christmas be without it? — warm mulled wine and German beer. It’s most definitely a European-inspired bazaar with makers from Hungary, France, the Netherlands and more choosing Edinburgh to exhibit their goods.
Let your eyes be drawn to the bright lights and good food around the market as the rides swing overhead. Alongside the market stalls which stretch along the garden’s walkways, this year the fair extends to George Street (where you’ll find the Drop Tower too, if you’re brave enough). There’s also ice skating, theatre shows, the famous big wheel and more… Here’s the full details.