Ice scultures and giant advent calendar projection among Edinburgh's Christmas 2017 highlights

Edinburgh's Christmas opens next Friday

credit: Eoin Carey

Residents and visitors invited to take an ice adventure through frozen Scotland on George Street

The thing about running an annual seven-week event that both locals and tourists flock to, is that you can't stand still. So, while the people behind Edinburgh's Christmas could have simply rolled out the big wheel, ice rink, a few shows and Yuletide markets until the end of time, they wouldn't been happy with themselves.

'This is the fifth year of Underbelly producing Edinburgh's Christmas,' says producer, Ruth Fisher, 'and our ambition is to present refreshed and revised plans every year. In 2017, it spreads wider across the city, reaching more communities and hopefully continuing to attract more visitors to the City.'

To that end, new attractions for families this year include the Ice Adventure: A Journey Through Frozen Scotland, an immersive, if chilly (the area is programmed to reach -10º) walk along George Street.

'It's an idea we've been developing for a few years and we're delighted that Hamilton Ice Sculptors, who have over 40 years' experience, have agreed to produce it,' says Fisher. 'The theme is the history of Scotland, and the Ice Adventure takes you on a tour from the mystical through to the contemporary.'

Another new feature, the Giant Advent Calendar, will be projected onto the walls of General Register House on Princes Street during December, with each day showing a different Edinburgh winter scene from years gone by, dating back to the 1700s.

'We delve into a different year of the archive every day of Advent,' explains Fisher, 'with a soundtrack from the year in question accompanying each animation. It's a befitting close to the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.'

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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