Sunday, December 20, 2015

A day out at the Edinburgh Christmas Market

For the last few years, Christmas markets have been an annual attraction in many European cities and have now become a big thing here in the UK too.  Despite all our foreign travels over the years, we've never taken a pre-Christmas holiday to the Christmas markets on the continent - here is what we're missing out on!

By the way, one of my friends has an annual tradition of going to Berlin for a pre-Christmas break and she loves the Christmas markets there.  But by this time of the year, faithful travelling companion and myself can't be bothered with travelling and prefer to stick with home comforts and stay closer to home for the Christmas experience.

I make no apologies for always choosing Glasgow over Edinburgh as my favourite Scottish city, all year round. But when it comes to the Christmas experience, one Scottish city leads the way, above and beyond all others....for Edinburgh is the must-visit destination at Christmas time. 

The problem with Glasgow is that although George Square is potentially a great centrepiece for festive events, the main focus of Christmas activity seems to be the ice rink - ok it's a very seasonal activity, but not to everyone's taste.  The Christmas market on St Enoch Square just feels like an afterthought, and closing it on 20th December just feels like they've admitted defeat already.  But check out for what's going on over Christmas.  Where Glasgow absolutely beats Edinburgh is the variety of city centre shopping, so if you're after some retail therapy to suit all budgets, Glasgow is the absolute winner here. 

But back to the Christmas experience.  Edinburgh is blessed with lots of open space in the heart of the city, thanks to the area around the Mound and sprawling Princes Street Gardens, so there's lots of space to effectively make that transformation into a winter wonderland, with everything from rides and shows to the bigger-than-ever continental market from the Mound to the Scott Monument via the Gardens.  And as if that's not enough, St Andrew's Square also hosts a Scottish market with crafts and foodstuffs etc. 

Our traditional pre-Christmas visit to Edinburgh has been a popular tradition for a long time, interrupted only in recent years by extreme weather conditions.  The last 2 months of 2015 have been marked by persistent daily torrential rain, but we were very lucky indeed to get a cold but dry day (a very welcome rarity I tell you).  The big change this year was that we visited at the end of November, just after the market opened, rather than our traditional visit closer to Christmas.  But there was no difference as the city was as mobbed as ever with tourists (although the pre-Christmas 'panic factor' was thankfully absent) and I managed to finally feel festive.  So job done :)

There's a great variety of stalls with everything from hats and scarves to jewellery to foodstuffs to traditional German Christmas ornaments,

I bought a Russian Christmas tree ornament which Russian doll-style, I opened up and there was the pleasant surprise of a little Santa and snowman inside....

...and I also bought a bag of flavoured coffee beans from this stall!

 We are just a little bit obsessed with cuckoo clocks so here is a gratuitous picture of one.

And where would a German market be without a big sausage or two (ooh-er missus!!)

A couple of years ago I bought my moose at the Edinburgh Christmas market which sits on my fireplace all year round, proving that a moose is for life and not just for Christmas.  

Check out for more information about the city's festivities. And it's not over yet, because the experience continues in Edinburgh until 4th January 2016 and before that, there is the small matter of one of the world's biggest Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) celebrations - and you can read all about that at

No comments: