Another superb Edinburgh’s Christmas was launched today, 8 November 2011, as plans for this year’s events were unveiled. Commissioned by The City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh’s Christmas 2011 will see the return of many of the traditional favourites, as well as a spectacular Light Night on Thursday 24 November and a St Andrew’s Day weekend event. Some special treats will also be unveiled, making the most of Princes Street over the festive period.
From a fourteen metre high Snow Queen featuring spectacular pyro effects at Light Night, to the much loved Edinburgh’s Ice Rink and traditional markets, the city will once more enjoy a programme packed full of old favourites and new additions. The Traditional German Christmas Market will be a key feature as always, Light Night on 24 November will include an awe-inspiring frost and fire show to light Edinburgh’s Norwegian Christmas Tree, a gift from the people of Hordaland, and the six week celebrations will conclude on Wednesday 4 January.
This year Princes Street will be transformed to embrace festive activities like never before. Events and activities will run on Princes Street running throughout the Christmas season, with particular emphasis on the Thursday to Sunday period. From Saturday 26 November, special events taking place will include: live reindeer visits; the return of the popular Santa Express on Princes Street; performance space for buskers and choirs; a Santa Zumbathon flash mob; live ice sculpting; eating and drink al fresco; as well as more markets, stalls and other events to be announced soon.
Commenting on the overall programme, City of Edinburgh Council’s Lord Provost, Councillor George Grubb, said: “Edinburgh’s Christmas is one of the most popular places for Christmas shopping and enjoying the festive celebrations and we welcome many visitors at this time. With the nativity scene at the heart of our city and superb carol concerts to attend, it means visitors and residents can reflect on the true meaning of Christmas while enjoying a great programme of events and attractions.”
St Andrew’s Day falls at the start of Edinburgh’s Christmas programme, and free events on the weekend of 26-27 November include superb ice sculptures and a stunning fire-themed finale on Edinburgh Castle’s Esplanade. Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations form part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs comments: “Christmas is such a special time of the year for families and friends to come together to reflect on the meaning of Christmas and enjoy our favourite festive traditions. Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations – from the traditional nativity scene and carol concerts to Santa zumba and ice sculpting – look truly spectacular.
“Edinburgh’s Christmas programme, which also includes St Andrew’s Day celebrations, will add real sparkle to Scotland’s Winter Festivals*, demonstrating that Scotland is a great visitor destination and the perfect stage for events all year round.”
Santa will visit East Princes Street Gardens on 3 December with a magical arrival on his reindeer drawn sleigh along Princes Street. He will then make regular visits to collect his post and meet everyone. The popular Great Edinburgh Santa Run will once more turn West Princes Street Gardens into a river of red and white as thousands of Santas get moving for charity after a special Zumba warm-up. Edinburgh’s Ice Rink, this year supported by Essential Edinburgh, is the perfect place to skate beneath the stars, lights and the iconic Edinburgh Wheel, while markets and fairs are open for Christmas shopping.
Nickie Gott, managing director of She’s Gott It!, Edinburgh’s Christmas producers, enthuses: “There is no better place than Edinburgh at Christmas! With a really spectacular Light Night starting things off in style this year, there will be a lot going on in the centre of Edinburgh. The city is so magical at this time and we have pulled together a brilliant programme that will amaze and delight the whole family.”
Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh comments: “Essential Edinburgh felt it was important to make a significant investment to support the Christmas activities – and we are delighted to play a big part. We wanted to step in to remove the unhelpful uncertainty which surrounded the continued presence of Edinburgh’s Ice Rink. With all that is going on in the city centre, it was essential that we did not lose such a popular attraction at a vital time of year for our levy-payers.
”Essential Edinburgh therefore came up with a financial package to ensure the ice rink goes ahead, along with significant other support for the Festive Season activities – particularly Light Night – and campaign designed to bring people into the city. It is another example of the city centre's private businesses, through Essential Edinburgh, investing in the Capital.”
Edinburgh’s Christmas is supported by sponsors including Radio Forth and the Edinburgh Evening News and continues over the Christmas and New Year period until 4 January 2012. The festivities are supported by a marketing campaign, Edinburgh Sparkles, delivered by Marketing Edinburgh.
The extra activities and events that are taking place on Princes St. this year during the tram works embargo have been funded through the business support programme put in place by the tram project. The City of Edinburgh Council agreed 445k would be allocated this year to help businesses affected by tram works and to encourage extra footfall into areas such as Princes Street and the West End.
Full details of all events, including timings and prices, can be found at www.edinburghschristmas.com
For further information on Edinburgh’s Christmas, please contact:
Duncan Fisher or Eleanor Pender
CM Porter Novelli
Tel: 0131 470 3400
Notes to Editors
- Edinburgh’s Christmas runs from Light Night on Thursday 24 November 2011 until Wednesday 4 January 2012
- The markets, ice rink and funfair rides open at 10 am on Thursday 24 November, with the Light Night event beginning at 5.15 pm on the Mound when the lights go on
- Edinburgh’s Christmas is commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Council and produced by She’s Gott It!
*Scotland’s Winter Festivals
- Scotland’s Winter Festivals begin with the Edinburgh’s Christmas St Andrew’s Day Celebrations on 26 – 27 November and includes Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations on 31st December, culminating with Burns night on 25 January
- Scotland's Winter Festivals bring together three of our cultural celebrations, showcasing Scotland as a great visitor destination and the perfect stage for events all year round
- Scots and Scots at heart, both at home and abroad, celebrate Scotland’s unique heritage and distinctive culture through our St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns
- Many of Scotland’s top visitor attractions will open to the public for free over the St Andrew's Day weekend, offering everyone a way to celebrate our national day and experience world class visitor attractions on our own doorsteps