Is Edinburgh Christmas Market 2020 cancelled? Opening date and if stalls and entertainment are going ahead this year

Edinburgh will still celebrate Christmas in its own unique style this December

Friday, 18th September 2020, 2:19 pm
Updated Friday, 18th September 2020, 2:27 pm
Edinburgh's Christmas will go ahead this December, with social distancing measures in place (Shutterstock)
Edinburgh's Christmas will go ahead this December, with social distancing measures in place (Shutterstock)

Every December Edinburgh’s skyline is given a festive makeover with the arrival of the city’s Christmas markets. For many, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

This year will be different from any other, however, with the coronavirus pandemic still hanging over the nation.

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The good news is that, while the Edinburgh Festival was all but cancelled, Christmas celebrations will still be going ahead. With strict social distancing measures in place, these will be stripped back compared to previous years, but citizens of Edinburgh can still expect sleighfuls of Christmas cheer.

Here’s everything you need to know about Edinburgh’s Christmas.

When do festivities get underway?

It is expected that celebrations will kick off in the New Town from 21 November 2020 until 3 January 2021.

Events will kick off slightly later and conclude slightly earlier in the Old Town, running from 28 November until 24 December.

Will there be Christmas markets?

Yes, though not in their traditional East Princes Street Gardens location.

According to detailed plans from Edinburgh’s Christmas organisers, there will be 27 stalls on the Mound precinct. There will also be 18 stalls located on George Street, and a further 12 stalls and a box office on Castle Street.

In the Old Town there will be 14 stalls on the Royal Mile.

Will there be funfair rides?


While there will be no room for market stalls in the East Princes Street Gardens, the Star Flyer and Big Wheel attractions will make their home by the Scott Monument.

Will there be an ice rink?


Traditionally situated on St Andrew’s Square, the rink will move west onto George Street this year.

What safety measures will be in place?

Director of Place at City of Edinburgh Council Paul Lawrence has said that special measures will be taken to make sure social distancing measures are adhered to.

“The programme outlined will be adapted in line with the latest public health guidance from the Scottish Government,” he explained.

"Any changes in this guidance, especially any increase in restrictions, will be observed and implemented.

"With the exception of those events where physical distancing can be implemented, the council and its partners are working to discourage unofficial mass gatherings or spectator points and will communicate this through the official Hogmanay and Christmas channels.

"Visitors to Edinburgh’s Christmas may be required to pre-register for specific times to ensure that site capacities in certain areas are not exceeded and that physical distancing can be maintained.

"Where appropriate at both events, track and trace’ measures will be implemented and strict hygiene measures observed across all sites.”