Underbelly expand Edinburgh Christmas across the city for 2017

Underbelly expand Edinburgh Christmas across the city for 2017

New attractions include Edinburgh's Giant Advent Calendar and The Ice Adventure

'We come to Edinburgh every year before Christmas to get in the festive spirit', said an elderly couple sitting next to me in the Bothy by the National Gallery last year. And it seems they're not the only ones. Since Underbelly became involved with Edinburgh Christmas five years ago, the city has been transformed into one of the most diverse festive events in the UK, attracting visitors with bright light installations, family shows, ice rinks, Christmas markets and more.

This year the Street of Light is replaced by Edinburgh's Giant Advent Calendar – a free attraction where nightly projections onto General Register House reveal 25 glimpses of Edinburgh Winters from years gone-by. The Ice Adventure is another new feature for 2017, with an immersive trail of ice and snow sculptures bringing the celebrations to the west end of George Street. The ice trail also includes an ice bar and Santa's Grotto will be conveniently positioned next to the attraction.

Winter Windows invites school children to contribute to the city's festivities by designing stained glass windows which will not only be displayed outside St Giles Cathedral, but also further afield in Leith, Craigmillar, Drumbrae and Westerhailes. Partnering up with Edinburgh Trams, Underbelly also encourage wee ones to get involved with the design of a special Christmas and Hogmanay tram.

The Spiegeltent will pitch up in Festival Square once more, with the new seasonal cabaret, burlesque and circus show, La Clique Noel as headliners. Shark in the Park brings Nick Sharratt's three shark books to the Spiegeltent stage as well as Baby Loves Disco spicing up the festivities for kids.

Ice skating will still be on the cards in St Andrew Square and Santa Land's Christmas Tree Maze returns to East Princes Street Gardens with the Star Flyer, the Forth One Big Wheel and the Scottish Market all nearby. 24 Doors of Advent again gives visitors the chance to peep behind normally closed doors around the city including Trinity House, Lauriston Castle and Mansfield Traquair. Light Night is on Sun 19 Nov.

Edinburgh's Christmas, Fri 17 Nov–Sat 6 Jan, times and prices vary.

Edinburgh's Christmas

Six weeks of winter wonderland, with 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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