DAY TRIP REVIEW: Feeling festive at Edinburgh's Christmas attractions
Scrooges beware '“ I defy anyone not to feel festive on a visit to Edinburgh's Christmas attractions.
It starts as soon as you step out of Waverley Station when that unmistakable waft of smoking bratwursts and chocolate waffles fills the air.
To satisfy your sudden rumbling tummy head to East Princes Street Gardens for its famous Scottish take on the classic German Christmas market. As well as Bavarian sausages and a glühwein to warm those freezing hands, it also offers dozens upon dozens of gift stalls, selling everything from sterling silver jewellery to sheepskin rugs.
Festooned with fairy lights, the wooden chalet-style stalls are punctuated with fairground rides and other attractions, such as a Christmas Tree maze where you can get lost amongst the foliage.
Though entry to the market is free, there’s a price for the individual attractions, ranging from Â£2 to Â£8 each.
For a bird’s eye view of the market’s twinkling star lights take a ride on the Big Wheel. Sitting in its capsules, you’re given a talk on the history of this gothically-stunning Capital while you look out across the market – it’s Christmas as far as the eye can see.
The festivities aren’t just confined to Scotland’s most famous shopping street.
For more Scottish-esque fare and gifts, head to West George Street, where a market showcases local food, drink and crafts from the country.
Or, if your legs are up to it, take a turn on the circular ice rink at St Andrew Square where you can glide around the grandiose Melville Monument. If it all looks like too much exertion, head to the Forth Floor Bar in Harvey Nichols where you can nab a window seat and enjoy the spectacle with a glass of wine in hand.
Our favourite attraction, however, had to be the spectacular Street of Light in George Street. It’s a spectacle quite like any other I’ve seen: it’s Tron meets fairytale castle meets Christmas.
Under its monumental 24 arches of 60,000 bulbs which stretch 19metres tall, you can enjoy music shows which pulsate to the rhythm of the tracks.
These range from traditional music from local choirs and bands to contemporary fiddle music from the Highlands and Islands, Blazin’ Fiddles.
We booked for the light show which features music from Tigerstyle, a Scottish bhangra group.
Despite Jack Frost nipping at our toes, we felt like we’d been transported to one of those ostentatious Bollywood film sets as the lights flashed in all their glory to the lively tunes – it certainly put my pitiful fairy lights at home to shame.
In case you get lost in the music, there’s a blinging St Andrew’s Cross light atop the arches to remind you that this is Christmas Scotland-stylee. Other countries have got a tough act to follow.*For more information and prices on Christmas in Edinburgh, which runs until January 7, visit www.edinburghschristmas.com