What's on in Edinburgh this season

Wednesday 09 November 2016 by Florence Evans Edinburgh is the perfect setting to get into the festive spirit, here are some of the city's best events to get you in the mood.

24 Doors of Advent

Would you like to peep behind some of Edinburgh’s usually closed doors? Working with the Festival of Architecture and the Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland, 24 days opens 24 doors for you to explore. Some of the buildings that you have a chance to view include the legendary Royal Lyceum Theatre, the Chapel of St Albert the Great and the BT Murrayfield Stadium.

This event is completely free, with more details to be announced soon. You can visit the website for more details here.

Santa Land at Prince’s Street Gardens

The beautiful setting of Prince’s Street Gardens will host Santa Land this year and feature an array of festive things to eat, drink, see and do. This event is fun for all the family - visit Santa’s Grotto, the Christmas Tree Maze, the Santa Train, and funfair rides including the Carousel, Helter Skelter, Ice Wall, Reindeer Ride, and Rollercoaster. This truly is a winter wonderland and the perfect way to get into the festive spirit.

Santa Land is part of the wider Edinburgh Christmas festival and with free admission to the event you simply need to turn up and pay for whatever attraction takes your fancy. The festival runs from the 18th of November to the 7th of January.

Edinburgh’s Big Wheel

In such a picturesque city, make the most of the unrivalled views with a turn on Edinburgh’s Big Wheel. The many weather-proof pods seat up to six people and during the ride you’ll learn about the history of the land with audio commentary. Be sure to have your cameras at the ready to capture the stunning views of the city’s landscape.

Open from 10am each day from the 19th of November until the 7th of January, a ride on The Big Wheel is a memorable way to view Edinburgh. Ticket prices are date specific, although Edinburgh’s residents receive a 20% discount.

Ice Skating in the city centre

At the east end of upmarket shopping haven, George Street, is the charming setting of St. Andrew’s square. This festive season, get your skates on and visit the sparkling circular ice rink, adorned with fairy lights and all, perfect for a little Christmas fun after some shopping. Glide around the Melville Monument and soak up the atmosphere for an unforgettable experience during the run up until Christmas.

Open from the 18th of November until the 7th of January, book your slot in advance to avoid missing out - ticket prices start from £5.

The Scottish Chocolate Festival at The Biscuit Factory

For a day jam packed with everyone’s favourite thing, visit The Scottish Chocolate Festival, after all it is a very chocolatey time of the year! Of course, there’s Santa’s grotto, chocolate making in action and workshops for kids, sure to keep them entertained. You’ll find a Christmas food market, tasting sessions and a hot chocolate bar to thoroughly fill your boots. This scrumptious event even features a chocolate cocktail bar with live music alongside chocolatiers from all over Scotland - sure to provide a little indulgence ahead of the festive period.

The festival is held at The Biscuit Factory on the 17th and 18th of December, with tickets costing £10 for adults and £7.50 for children.

The Edinburgh Christmas Tree festival

Running for two weeks throughout advent, from Saturday the 10th of December until Christmas Eve, the seventh annual Edinburgh Christmas tree festival features 40 Christmas trees lit up in the oval Georgian sanctuary. The theme this year is ‘Follow the star’ with each individual tree telling a different story - this festival creates a space to think, reflect and celebrate.

Live music will be performed each day by local choirs and musicians, alongside a late night meditative opening for people to wonder in the presence of the beautiful trees. And your visit will be for a worthy cause, with many worthy charities involved this year including Amnesty International UK, Circle, and Firsthand Lothian. Set against the city centre backdrop of St. Andrew’s and St. George’s West, step inside the display for a few moments of peace during the rush of the festive period.

The display will be completely free to the public from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday. Visitors are welcome to make donations which will be shared between the supporting local charities.

The Monkey Business Exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland

If you’ve been inspired by David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II, this exhibition is sure to spark your interest, exploring the diverse world of primates from the tiny mouse lemur to the mighty gorilla. You’ll see models, engaging interactives, photography and film, designed to give an intriguing overview of how monkeys move and communicate, and how their complex social systems work. Set in the family-friendly National Museum of Scotland, there’s also events for the little ones such as the monkey make and take, and the Christmas craft event inspired by monkey mischief. For a day out that doesn’t involve Christmas shopping, be sure to make a visit to the Monkey Business Exhibition.

The exhibition is held at the National Museum of Scotland from the 9th of December until the 23rd of April, with tickets costing from £10 for adults and £7 for children.

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