Edinburgh’s Christmas Market 2021; A Review

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market is famous for being a huge festive attraction with people travelling from miles around to visit. With last years Christmas going down like a lead balloon, I along with many people will want to make the most out of this festive period!

This is not the first time I’ve visited Edinburgh and its Christmas market. However, it is the longest amount of time I have spent in Edinburgh so we went all out and spent those days acting like proper tourists! I will be posting some blogs about visiting the city in general over the next week or so, so if you want to see those posts drop your email address below to be notified of all my new uploads.

The market is open between 10am – 10pm and is free to visit. You also don’t need to book a time slot or anything to visit so you can just turn up and come and go as you please.

Unfortunately, it was cancelled last year so this year they’re back with a bang… The market in 2019 was in two parts, with most of the attractions being down in princes street gardens and then the ice rink and more stalls being up on St Andrews square.

From what I can remember about the market in years past, they have changed its layout and the stalls within it and there is definitely less this year. Whether this is a covid thing or not, I’m unsure however the market overall is smaller than it has been in the past.

Map of the Market

The ice skating rink used to be on the other end of George Street on the square whereas now it’s out the way and about 10 minutes from the main market on princes street. There must be a logistical reason for this that I’m not seeing but I don’t think it’s working as every time we walked past it, there was not a soul on it! When the rink was on the square there were some stalls with it and without them, it feels like there is a lot less going on.

The costs of the skating rink are dependent on what time you select. Prime times start at £14 per person. A lot of the dates were sold out when I was looking into it for this post yet the rink was a ghost town when we visited?

It’s not clear whether you need to pre-book off whether you can turn up and skate however judging by the lack of availability you’d be better off checking in advance. You can check their website for booking your timeslot here.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

The main part of the market is the stretch parallel to princes street. It’s also the busiest part. This is where you’ll find most of the stalls, the famous big wheel and some other fairground rides. And while I can’t tell you the prices of the rest of the rides, the big wheel costs £10 per person.

Edinburgh Chritsmas Market

Let me give you a second to digest that.

Yes, £10 PER PERSON!! Or you can get a family ticket for 4 adults and two children for £30. Needless to say, we didn’t go on it. All the prices have gone up from 2019 as the family ticket was £25 and solo tickets £9 per person.

The market at night

Generally, we can expect Christmas markets to be overpriced and expensive which is the running theme here in Edinburgh. A luxury hot chocolate with all the trimmings in a cup which can’t have been much bigger than 150mls costs £3.50. It is crazy when there are countless Starbucks throughout the city which won’t even charge you that much for a small hot chocolate.

There are also plenty of stalls selling Christmas decorations and things you could gift as presents such as jewelry, wintery clothing and other things. However I don’t have much information on them as I didn’t browse very much on these stalls.

The overprices sweatshop, Edinburgh

And don’t even get me started on the cost of the sweet stall. We put just a few sweets into the suspiciously giant bags and it cost us over £10. A friend of mine had the same problem except hers cost £45! On pick n mix! If you take anything away from this DO NOT BUY FROM THE SWEET STAND!

Our £10 bag of sweets

As for the food, we only ate there once because there are so many places in Edinburgh to try we didn’t want to waste money on the novelty which is the Christmas market. Honestly, the vegetarian options were slim, and if there are any vegans wanting to visit, there are even fewer!

The majority of the food options were those german style sausages or some kind of dessert stand. Other stalls included a pizza stand, fish and chips, and a mac and cheese stand.

Shaun went for the traditional Bratwurst and I tried the mac and cheese. Both items were £7 each which I actually don’t think was too much in comparison to the rest of the prices throughout the market. The mac and cheese especially was a really substantial portion and was pretty tasty. The bratwurst got a nod of approval from Shaun too!

Mac and Cheese and a Bratwurst

The so-called Santa land which is down the bank and in the lower part of the gardens was, in my opinion, the nicest part of the market. It was quiet when we went down, despite it having the main stalls you would want to see.

The final part of the Christmas market is shown on the map as the Light Installation on the Mound. While it is quite pretty to see at night, during the day it looks a little tragic so if you are going to see this and get some festive photos, do it in the dark!

Light Installation, Edinburgh

Overall, the market was more expensive than I thought it was going to be and was perhaps more expensive than usual because it was cancelled last year. Regardless, I do think it was a little overpriced for what you got which did put a dampen on things. However, you can still go and enjoy the market without having to spend money. And if you want to avoid the crowds, then I would recommend visiting during the day or sticking to the Santa Land area.

I do think that Edinburgh is a really great place to get into the chritsmas spirit, but there are other things you can do and places you can visit without having to re-mortgage your house to do so.

Thank you for reading and I hope it has been helpful for anyone planning a visit. If you are interested in more Edinburgh content that drop your email below as I will be uploading more very soon.

Stay Safe and Merry Christmas!

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