Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh's Christmas in record-breaking year

Edinburgh Christmas
Image caption More than 750,000 people have visited Edinburgh's Christmas in its first 10 days

More than 750,000 people have visited Edinburgh's Christmas in its first 10 days, making it a record-breaking year.

Revellers have been flocking to the Big Wheel, Star Flyer, ice rink and stalls across the Mound, East Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square.

At least 273,000 people alone visited Edinburgh's Christmas on Saturday and Sunday.

City festival leaders said they were "very impressed" by this year's event, run by Underbelly and Unique Events.

The visitor numbers include 33,600 people who went on the pods of the Big Wheel, 25,400 on the Star Flyer, 9,300 people on the ice-rink, 12,300 people on the Santa Train, 26,000 who took to George Street on 24 November for Light Night; and more than 1,000 people who attended the Nativity Carol Concert in St Andrew Square on 1 December.

Essential Edinburgh has also reported "a significant rise" in footfall in Edinburgh city centre.

In the fortnight starting 18 November to 1 December, footfall was up 13.2% against the same period for last year.

On Princes Street near M&S, and at the corner of George Street and Frederick Street, footfall was up 23.6% and 20.2% up respectively against the same period for last year.

Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: "The footfall figures for the last two weeks are very encouraging and are an endorsement of both the Christmas attractions and the great shops, bars and restaurants in the city centre.

"Clearly it is only the start of the season but some of the trading results, particularly around the switch on Sunday have been very strong for retailers and the hospitality sector."

'New vision'

Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh's festivals and events champion, said: "Underbelly promised that they would deliver something fresh and exciting for Edinburgh's Christmas, while remaining true to the successes of years gone by.

"I have been extremely impressed by what I have seen thus far and, judging by these figures, I am not alone.

"With footfall up by almost a quarter in some areas year-on-year, the benefits are being felt by many more businesses in and around the city centre."

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly and producers of Edinburgh's Christmas said: "We are amazed and humbled by the positive response from the people of Edinburgh to our new re-imagined vision of Christmas in Edinburgh.

"We're delighted that Edinburgh's Christmas is appearing to deliver its promise of bringing more people to the city centre and we look forward to continuing the successful celebrations through Edinburgh's Hogmanay and through to 5 January."

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