Posted on 19/12/2013
It's that expensive time of the year; however frugally you may vow to “do” Christmas every year, it still turns into a round of family visits, eating, and present buying which can sting financially well into January. With a bit of advance planning, you can make outings for friends and family into “group presents”, and not only save money, but give people an experience that they’ll remember and treasure long after the decorations are down.
There are few places in the UK that get into the spirit of Christmas more spectacularly than Edinburgh. With a wide range of activities and entertainments on offer ranging from the free to the more extravagant, Edinburgh offers history, culture and nightlife all in one.
There are very few places on earth where you can start your day not only with a good walk, but to take that walk up an extinct volcano. Arthur's Seat is that rarity, and excellent exercise to either work off Christmas overindulgence, or get in some extra brownie points before the serious eating starts. Combined with a visit to Our Dynamic Earth, a science museum with a difference, you can educate yourself about the formation of Arthur's Seat, and learn a bit more about the natural world around you as well.
Your afternoon's entertainment should traditionally be a pantomime at this time of year, and there are generally a few to choose from; the King's Theatre will run a traditional, family-friendly pantomime from the end of November to the middle of January. The Edinburgh's Christmas production - Little Red Riding Hood in 2013 - gives a great alternative, with the added bonus of being in the thick of other Edinburgh's Christmas events, including markets - ranging from European Christmas, childrens', and traditional Scottish - and other live events.If you wanted to push the boat out for the evening with a group of adults, then a fantastic alternative night out can include fine dining and a live show at The Scottish Cafe, or this year, Festival favourite Hot Dub's Time Machine event at Summerhall, with hits from 1954 to the present day. Fancy a bit of history?
If your tastes run to the more gothic, investigate an Edinburgh walking tour, taking in some of the gruesome sights of the old city. Highly recommended if you fancy the historical over the theatrical is Mary King's Close - the remains of a road several feet below the modern day street level, Mary King's Close is what's left when the street was sealed during a plague outbreak in the 1600s. Atmospheric and gloomy, it's just the thing to persuade you to round off your day by finding a purveyor of good Scottish malts, and perhaps booking a tasting session!Although many outings over Christmas in Edinburgh aren't free, finding something to please friends and family is easier, and more stress-free than traipsing around shops, or fretting over whether online deliveries will arrive on time or not.