Perhaps you are beginning to feel slightly lethargic as semester one in the Bubble draws to a close, maybe you have a few hours to kill before your flight home, or perhaps even you wish a quick release before exams begin. If you wish to launch yourself into festivities, look no further that spending a day in our beautiful capital! Edinburgh at Christmas time is like a winter wonderland, with a month long programme crammed as full as your bedside stocking with a delightful mix of local and continental treats, guaranteed to bring festive warmth upon the beholder.

The Gardens are an excellent start to the day. Beginning with a few laps of one of Europe’s largest ice rink, which is situated under the city’s breath-taking skyline, cannot help but place you right amidst the best of festive moods. It also ensures that you avoid the lengthy queues of the mid-afternoon rush and having to enter the rink laden with your day’s purchases –skating with 17 shopping bags is not as easy as it looks, and walking around soggy for the rest of the day can rather put a downer on your festive fun.
Ticket prices between £8.50-9.50 for adults, booking in advance advised for peak times.

The German market is the next stop of your day. Walk around and enjoy soaking up the vibrant atmosphere amongst the quaint wooden stalls which are full to the brim with hand-made crafts and quirky gift ideas. Presents of all shapes, sizes and prices can be found here, and will add that little bit of originality to your present for a loved one. The food stalls are not to be missed; mulled wine and continental fruit cakes are a must as they embody the taste of Christmas itself, and you need not doubt their authenticity as you walk amid the welcoming choruses of several distant languages (and, if you’re lucky, a rather lovely Christmas choir).
Admission to the market is free!

To refuel, stop by The Dome on George Street to marvel at the technologically-aided snow fall outside, and to indulge in a delicious mid afternoon tea and cake. The building, built in 1775 by New-Town favourite James Craig, is one of imposing grandeur, and the annual decorations never fail to impress. The Corinthian portico exterior is lavishly decorated with lush twirling wreaths, and positioned underneath the interior dome is a spectacular live Christmas tree, intoxicatingly decorated from top to bottom. However for a more contemporary twist to seasonal decoration, opt to wander through the department store of Harvey Nichols, which always excites with its extravagant store-wide, winter displays.
Enjoy afternoon tea for two in the Club Room of The Dome for £23. Treat yourself to a festive cocktail in the Fourth Floor Bar, Harvey Nichols.

Sprinkle a dusting of Christmas shopping along Princes and George Street to your afternoon, and then finish your exhausting day with a well-earned sit down as the evening draws in. Grab a hot drink and hop onto the Edinburgh wheel for spellbinding views over the city and its castle, as the town sparkles under a mass of fairy lights. Wrap up warm for this one though, it can get bitterly cold!
Open until 10pm most nights, tickets cost £4.

Fancy seeing a quick show while in town? Edinburgh is full of delightful theatres, and the following productions are showing throughout December:

  • Lyceum – Cinderalla
  • King’s Theatre – Mother Goose
  • Playhouse – Dirty Dancing

Photo credit: Sammi McKee

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