Edinburgh Christmas Market

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The primary purpose of my Edinburgh trip in December last year was to experience the city’s Christmas Market. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for many years. For the last three years, photos of the Edinburgh Christmas Market decorated my vision boards.

Sadly, the outbreak of a world wide pandemic shut down the Christmas Market in 2020 and 2021. Watching news in Scotland last year, I saw with excitement that the Edinburgh Christmas Market was back! I booked my trip in August.

If you’ve ever wanted to experience a European Christmas Market, consider visiting the one in Edinburgh. In addition to the market, there are other fun activities to do in the city during winter.

Save this post for information to help you plan your trip!

Edinburgh Christmas Market title

Edinburgh Christmas Market 2022

The festive market opened on Friday, November 25 and closed January 3, 2023. Unique Events hosted the market and the end of the year Hogmanay as well.

Hours for the market were 10:00 am until 10:00 pm daily except for a few exceptions. The event closed at 8:00 pm on Christmas Eve, closed completely for Christmas Day and opened from noon until 8:00 pm on Boxing Day. Hours on New Year’s Eve were 10:00 am until 6:00 pm and on New Year’s Day, noon until 8:00 pm.

The Christmas Market is located along the East Princes Street Gardens with entrances into the event on Waverly Bridge and off of Princes Street. While there isn’t an entry fee for the market, expect long lines on the weekends and evenings. I found weekday afternoons the least crowded.

The market remains open during rain, snow and cold temps. Dress warmly! I highly recommend this heavy coat designed for outdoor adventures in winter.

Food and drink are available on site as are restrooms.

Edinburgh Christmas Market above
Edinburgh Christmas Market – a view from above

Edinburgh Christmas Market Stalls

The market featured more than 70 stalls, vendors who sold Christmas decorations, gift items, clothing, pottery, art and a vast variety of unique finds.

One of the greatest appeals of the market is wandering slowly through, weaving in and out of the stalls set up inside. In the US we have craft fairs. The Christmas Market is similar to that, in the wares that are offered. This is Scotland though so expect items unique to the country.

I spent parts of three days at the Edinburgh Christmas Market, seeing different stalls each visit. Plan to spend at least three or four hours there, more if it’s crowded.

The vendors are friendly and helpful and I thought the prices reasonable. All stalls accept debit and credit cards and cash, which in Scotland is the same as England, pounds rather than dollars.

Edinburgh Christmas Market booth
A pottery stall at the Edinburgh Christmas Market
Edinburgh Christmas Market ornaments
Beautiful, colorful ornaments and gnomes at a market stall.

Edinburgh Christmas Market Food Stalls

Among those 70+ stalls in the market is a delightful variety of food booths. If you don’t have directions to the Christmas Market, simply follow your nose. On those cold, crisp December days the aroma of hot food cooking was tantalizing.

Visitors can choose from German food or curry, hot smoked salmon or pizza, crepes and pancakes or nachos, burgers or vegan pigs in a blanket, loaded fries or vegan haggis. There truly is something for everyone there, including an assortment of sweet treats.

Enjoy a glass of mulled wine or a stein of beer, hot chocolate or a local favorite, mulled Irn Bru, cold soda or refreshing water, hot tea or egg nog. I found hot chocolate made with dairy free milk as well.

You must eat while at the Christmas Market, for the pure joy of trying different foods. I chose vegan nachos for lunch on my last day at the market, made with vegan haggis! It was delicious.

Edinburgh Christmas Market food stall
Edinburgh Christmas Market food stall.
Edinburgh Christmas Market german sausages
German Food at the market.

Edinburgh Christmas Market Wheel

The big Wheel at the center of the market offers riders the opportunity to see Edinburgh from a high vantage point. The cars of the Wheel are completely enclosed and provide 360 degree views of the city.

It costs 10 pounds to ride The Wheel and debit and credit cards are accepted along with cash. Expect to stand in line with shorter waits on weekdays. The ride lasts about ten minutes.

As a solo traveler, I thought I might have to ride with others, and that was okay. However, I felt delighted when I was allowed to ride in a car alone. I could move from one side of the car to the other and take photos and videos. My inner child laughed with joy.

If you don’t like heights, this ride may not be for you, however I’d encourage you to give The Wheel a try!

There are a couple of other rides at the market. And at the opposite end of Princes Street Gardens, Santa Land for the young and young at heart. More rides and stalls are located there, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.

The Wheel
The Wheel at the market.
Edinburgh Christmas Market a view from the top
A view from the top of The Wheel. Love the shadow I caught.

Edinburgh Christmas Market 2024

This year the market opens on November 25 and closes January 3. It promises to be another festive time in the grand old city. Edinburgh celebrates the holidays in a BIG way. It’s fun to wander the cobbled streets, looking at the elaborate Christmas decorations and lighted displays.

Have you been to a European Christmas Market? Would you enjoy the one in Edinburgh? Let me know in the comments below.

Me? I’ll go back. I can’t stay away from Edinburgh for long. Next on my wish list for this city is to experience Hogmanay, the Scot’s wild and fun New Year’s Eve celebration.

The Wheel at night
The Wheel at night.

 

Check out these posts about Edinburgh as well:

Exploring Edinburgh in Winter

CoDE Boutique Hostel

Vegan Eats in Edinburgh

Vegan Afternoon Tea at the Dome

 

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5 Replies to “Edinburgh Christmas Market”

  1. An Edinburgh trip in December to experience a Christmas Market sounds delightful! I’ve been to Christmas Markets in the states, but would love to go to one in Europe.

  2. Edinburgh is on our bucket list. We didn’t think about visiting at Christmas time and taking in a Christmas Market!

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