Christmas came early for the Edinburgh Life with Kids team this year as we were kindly gifted an opportunity to explore Edinburgh’s Christmas in its opening week. Edinburgh always has some top days out with kids but it really is magical at this time of year.
Rain was falling, all around us, as we started the day with ice skating round the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge in St Andrew Square. The eliptical rink is very cool (no pun intended) and we all had a great time sliding around, especially after we purchased skating aids for the kids (£5 extra – cash only). The seal shaped one is by far the best as it can be a support for unsteady skaters or a seat for the little ones.
Unfortunately, demand outstripped seal supply so we had to wait for an opportunity to trade in our too-heavy-for-a-four-year-old-to-push penguin but once we got going the kids absolutely loved it. The ice was beginning to get quite churned up towards the end of the hour long session so more discerning skaters will prefer to go early in the day. Otherwise, top marks for a lovely christmassy experience and we’ll be the first to head there if snow starts to fall.
After a caffeine and marshmallow break we headed down to Santa Land in East Princes St Gardens. It turns out that a wet Sunday in November is the ideal time to visit – no crowds and no queues. We suggest buying tickets in advance for busier days and remember the locals discount for Edinburgh residents (20% if you have an EH postcode).
The carousel ride was a nice gentle opener and the littlest member of our team nearly refused to be parted from her trusty steed once the ride was over. It can be tough to find something for the under 5’s but Edinburgh Christmas really has come up trumps with this one. Although it may have been because there was no one waiting to get on, this ride was great value as it went on for several minutes, not just a quick couple of laps.
Next up was the Santa train. Choo choo! All the kids wanted to go on this one so we bought extra tickets and piled on, squeezing an impressive two adults and four children into a single carriage. The train does a single loop around the Santa Land perimeter but it is very cute and there’s plenty to see on the way round. Edinburgh castle dominates the skyline above – a reminder of all the things Edinburgh has to offer families looking for a day out! There is also a bell – ding ding!
We then had a go on Race-o-Rama, a Disney Cars themed ride that flings you around the corners at, relatively, high speed. This was a big hit and elicited much screaming and giggling from our two girls in the pink car. There was marginally less screaming from Laura and Thomas in the blue but they definitely both enjoyed it!
Finally, we went off to search for the clues dotted around the Christmas tree maze. It is very cleverly designed for such a small space but is not so confusing that you’ll be lost in there for any length of time. Also, it smells amazing in there! The goal is to collect a stamp from each secret location and then unscramble the letters to reveal a Christmassy word. Stop in to see the lovely elves at the end and pick up a prize for your efforts. We all enjoyed this one.
It’s worth noting Santa Land’s policy that “Children under 1m tall must be accompanied by a paying adult. All walking or toddling children must buy a ticket to be permitted on the rides.” There are also height restrictions on some of the bigger (more exciting rides).
Finally, to top off our day – one of the best attractions this year in Edinburgh really has to be the ‘Silent Light‘ display on George Street. This is the ultimate silent disco as people can party to three different sets of tunes dependent on the time of day. What was very apparent however is that this event is far from ‘silent’ as people sang along to the tunes at full volume! It was amazing to see everyone from the under 5’s to the somewhat over 50’s dancing the evening away. It’s quite clear that there is something for the whole family at Edinburgh’s Christmas this year.
Overall this is a great day out in Edinburgh and it won’t fail to leave you feeling festive. We didn’t try out all of the rides but there is a good variety for children in Santa Land and ice skating is great fun for all the family.