The Star Flyer and Big Wheel - just two skyscraping attractions at Edinburgh's Christmas

The Star Flyer and Big Wheel - just two skyscraping attractions at Edinburgh's Christmas

This year’s star attractions promise views you won't get anywhere else

There can surely be fewer bigger or brighter signs that the Christmas jamboree is in town than the arrival of the Big Wheel in East Princes Street Gardens Terrace. It’s as much a part of Edinburgh’s landscape for the festive season as the Castle and Scott Monument, and this year there’s also an innovative spin on the traditional wheel, as an equally awe-inspiring sibling, the Star Flyer, takes up residence only a short walk away, just off St Andrew Square.

This year’s attractions are of the ‘less is much, much more’ persuasion, explains Charlie Wood of organisers Underbelly. The Big Wheel itself will be an all-new design for the capital, and moved further along the gardens, away from the Scott Monument and towards the Scottish National Gallery. New enclosed six-seater weatherproof pods will allow riders to enjoy the views from under cover, while an audio voiceover describes the sights around them.

‘The plan is for it to face east to west,’ explains Wood. ‘It will sit side on to the Old Town and offer a major view of the castle.’ The Dutch-made wheel will also be an additional ten metres high, morphing from its previous 32-metre incarnation to 42 metres (the equivalent of eight buses piled on top of each other). And the bling factor comes courtesy of 20,000 lights that adorn it.

‘Edinburgh is a windy city,’ says Wood, ‘especially on Princes Street and especially around Christmas time, so the enclosed pods made sense. Each ride takes nine minutes and when you’re at the top you’ll be able to look all the way over to Fife or simply enjoy an amazing view of the Castle and the Old Town, while enjoying the audio telling you about the city’s history.’

To the south of St Andrew Square, things are bigger still with the addition of the all-new 60-metre Star Flyer, offering 360-degree panoramic views of Edinburgh and beyond. ‘We wanted a move away from the fairground of previous years in Princes Street Gardens and just to have one or two signature rides,’ explains Wood. ‘The Star Flyer is a ride that we’ve had at our festivals on the South Bank in London. It’s very tall and offers an amazing view. Edinburgh is a city of seven hills, with so many different views and a stunning skyline. Hopefully this year’s Big Wheel and Star Flyer attractions sum up an Edinburgh for all, where tourists and locals alike are able to have fun and enjoy the city from many different vantage points.’

To book your slot, call 0844 545 8252 or visit

Edinburgh's Christmas

Six weeks of winter wonderland, with the West End of Edinburgh transformed by a fairground, a host of colourful lights and the fabled European Christmas market with dozens of stalls selling traditional trinkets and crafts as well as delicious Teutonic treats (and, of course, glühwein).

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