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Edinburgh counts down to Christmas

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Having recently been voted one of the best cities in the world in which to enjoy a winter break by American broadcasting giant CNN, there’s nothing quite like Edinburgh at Christmas. You can almost taste the feeling of anticipation and excitement in the air. I’m an Edinburgher born and bred and every year, right about now, the thoughts turn to the festive season and the events that lie between late November and my turkey dinner, and beyond to the New Year.

I’m not sure where the year has gone and, with less than 60 days to go, I thought I’d better start browsing the Edinburgh’s Christmas event programme. It’s fair to say it’s the biggest and best yet with the heart of the capital transformed into one magical celebration, which kicks off with Edinburgh Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy pushing the big red button at the grand light switch on, ‘Light Night’, in George Street on 24 November.

A 600-capacity Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square will be the hub of live events, including family favourites Little Red Riding Hood and the brilliant Limbo, a circus/burlesque fusion. Check out the Limbo video below to see what’s in store for you.

The square will also play host to a children’s market and a mouth-watering a Scottish food and drink market. And the popular European market, with many new stalls, will be extended to include the Mound Precinct, East Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square.

If you’re feeling really brave, take a ride on the Star Flyer which will propel you 60 m in the air and whirl you round for stunning 360 degree views of Edinburgh and a real adrenaline rush.

Crowds soak up the atmosphere at the European Christmas market in Edinburgh

Crowds soak up the atmosphere at the European Christmas market in Edinburgh

If that’s not quite for you, the revamped Big Wheel next to the Scott Monument features 36 enclosed pods, and fabulous views of Edinburgh as well as a short history of the city. Take to the ice with the re-sited ice rink next to the Big Wheel or try and find your way through the Christmas Tree Maze.

The celebrations continue with the world-famous Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations; headliners the Pet Shop Boys are just one of the fantastic draws to the Concert in the Gardens and Street Party this year. Watch this space for more announcements about Homecoming-related Hogmanay celebrations in both Edinburgh and across Scotland. Hogmanay kicks of the Year of Homecoming, 12 months of events which showcase why Scotland is so great.

And if you can’t wait for all that, don’t miss the best in ceilidh culture when it descends on the Grassmarket on 30 November for St Andrew’s Day. Look out for foodie stalls and performances from Dougie McLean and Blazin’ Fiddles and much more.

So whether it’s St Andrew’s Day, Christmas or Hogmanay, Edinburgh is the place to be. Browse the listings for accommodation ideas and offers.