When looking for a travel destination for your next Winter Holidays, you definitely need to consider Edinburgh as one of the options. Edinburgh’s Christmas Market, New Year festival, outdoor parties, bagpipers, street performers and many other attractions and events will make your holiday remarkable.
Edinburgh – the capital city of Scotland – is not just like any other capital city. You will not see tall modern buildings in here. At least not near the city centre. Edinburgh has done great in preserving its historical presence.
Most of the people who want to see Edinburgh usually plan to travel either in August for Fringe festival or in December for Hogmanay festival. There is no need to worry if you cannot make it on these months when accommodation prices more than double; because the climate and lifestyle of the city makes it a perfect travel destination at any time during the year. There is no extreme variations in temperature thanks to its proximity to the sea. The average temperature for December is around 3-5°C which means that you may spend your holidays without snow. Thus, if you are a lover of winter sports or want a snowy New Year then better check for another destination. However, there is still a lot that the city may offer for travellers who want to celebrate the New Year abroad.
It is hard to imagine Edinburgh without street performers. Whenever the weather is fine, there is no heavy rain or strong wind, many bagpipers, jugglers, magicians, musicians appear in the crowded streets of the city. There are many people earning their living this way. During the festivals time when there are many tourists even the bad weather conditions cannot destroy their show, unless they have an audience who is expected to tip at the end of the show.
Edinburgh has its local performers but during the festivals many gifted performers from across the world come to demonstrate their talent and make some money. The world’s “Most Pierced Woman” Elaine Davidson also resides in Edinburgh. If you want to take a photo with her you need to pay, otherwise she will not agree.
Unlike Elaine, bagpipe players will not ask you to pay for the photos taken, because they will be performing in their wind instrument. When walking through the streets of Edinburgh you can see one bagpiper in a distance but hear the music played by another bagpiper somewhere else. Bagpipers wear tartan patterned traditional uniforms and play traditional music. Scottish people do not wear kilt in their daily life as some people may still think. Nowadays, bagpipers are the only ones who wear kilts in day-to-day life and only do it because of their occupation. Otherwise, why would someone wear a knee-length skirt-type clothing which does not allow you to wear an underwear in such a cool weather?
Traditional Christmas Market in Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful in Europe. Starting from mid November until early January visitors should definitely make their way through the Princess Street Gardens to visit the Market. Edinburgh Christmas Market offers a variety of delicious food and delights, creative gifts from different parts of the world, religious music and many other things.
There are different types of entertainment attractions, including ice-skating rink. You can also enjoy Edinburgh’s magnificent view on the top of Ferris wheel which is installed temporary for the Christmas Market only.
New Year Celebration in Edinburgh starts with Torchlight Procession which is a part of Hogmanay Festival. Torchlight Procession starts on December 30th every year. It is probably the most unique and interesting part of the festival.
“Vikings” who start the Procession are followed by thousands of people who carry torch. The crowd walks through the city centre to Calton Hill. At the end of the procession they drop their torch into a huge bonfire. The event is then followed by fireworks.
The event is free to watch but if you are not afraid of carrying a hot flame and want to be one of the torch bearers you will need to pay £12. The view which flames create is priceless.
Make sure to take a photo with “Vikings” in the first chance you see them free. At the end of the event there is a long queue of people who want to take a picture with them. Be patient. You can see that the “Vikings” want to escape the crowd and get home as soon as possible (which is probably because of their uncomfortable and thin costumes) but they still give a smile for your picture.
Hogmanay is Scotland’s New Year festival. Several parties are held on December 31st as part of the festival. Visitors can listen to music in different styles, including pop, rock, traditional Scottish music and watch dances, at different stages. By buying a general admission ticket you get access to the street party, but you need to pay extra to attend some of the concerts. It is recommended to buy tickets to some of the other concerts as well, as the street party may get overcrowded and you may want to listen to a different type of music.
No drinks are allowed to take in, but there is a rich selection of food and beer inside. To book the tickets or get more information about the event visit festival’s official website: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.
When it shows 00:00 in the clock the New Year is celebrated with spectacular fireworks. After the fireworks the party continues for another couple of hours.
If you already have a different plan for Winter Holidays it is not necessary to wait for another December in order to visit Edinburgh. Streets of the city are very lively during the whole year. Its street performers, bagpipers, ghost tours, ancient architecture, nature and people will create a long lasting memories. Edinburgh is definitely a must see city for anyone travelling across the Europe and the United Kingdom.