The 12 Facts of Edinburgh's Christmas

Organisers say it has been another record-breaking winter for Edinburgh’s Christmas. 

The 12 Facts of Edinburgh’s Christmas, published today, show the event had:

1 – just over 4 million total footfall at East Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square, up from 3.8 million in 2015/16. There were an estimated 917,000 unique visitors, with an estimated 60% coming from outside of Edinburgh and the Lothians*.

2 - Visitors from 64 countries came to Street of Light and other Edinburgh’s Christmas attractions.

3 – A whopping 280,874 tickets were issued for the spectacular Street of Light.

4 – 130,680 tickets were snapped up by EH postcode residents enjoying the 20% discount on shows, rides and attractions.

FIVE Guys Named Moe at the Festival Square Theatre!! 

6 – 300 Christmas trees delighted children from 1 to 99 in Santa Land’s Christmas Tree Maze.

7 - 1,200 pupils from schools across Edinburgh submitted entries to the Winter Windows stained glass competition.

8 - 38 local choirs knocked the socks off audiences and passers-by at Edinburgh’s Christmas at Light Night, Street of Light and in St Andrew Square.

9 – Visitors gave generously to raise £22,564 for charities (including Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, Waverley Care and Place2Be). 

10 – 8,842 Edinburgh schoolchildren skated free of charge at the St Andrew Square elliptical ice rink thanks to the generosity of Standard Life.

11 – 1.8 million people who have so far watched Zoella’s youtube vlog about Edinburgh’s Christmas (

12 - The direct economic impact is expected to exceed the £119m reported in the last survey in 2014 (spend by non-Edinburgh residents only)*.

Charlie Wood, Director of Edinburgh’s Christmas, said: “It’s been a real privilege for Underbelly to produce Edinburgh’s Christmas on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council for the past four years and particularly to see the substantial year on year growth and the positive impact on the residents and businesses of Edinburgh. We’ve seen record numbers of people enjoying their visits to Edinburgh’s Christmas this year and we’re delighted to have welcomed so many visitors from both Edinburgh and 64 countries around the world. We would like to thank those who partnered us and supported the event including Standard Life, Aggreko, LIDL and Western Toyota. Edinburgh in winter is truly world class and once again it’s proved it’s the place to be.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, said: “Our winter festivals are the envy of the world and rightly so. This has been another record-breaking year for Edinburgh, and the huge boost to footfall is good news for city centre businesses and the local economy. I’m pleased so many local people have benefitted from the discount for EH postcode holders. There really is no place that can beat Edinburgh at Christmas.”

Roddy Smith, Chief Executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “The value of Edinburgh’s festivals is yet again reinforced by these figures. Edinburgh’s Christmas has smashed its own records, and looks set to have had an economic impact in excess of the previous best of £119 million on the local economy.

“Footfall within our BID area during Edinburgh’s Christmas was up by over 5%, significantly better than the UK’s six week average which decreased by 3%, and with lots of visitors from outside the city it is all very good news for our retailers, our bars, restaurants and hotels. In particular, it is worth noting the impact of the Street of Light on footfall for the west end of the city centre with George Street up over 47% on 2015, helping spread the positivity around the city centre. We have seen high levels of hotel occupancy as visitors come to enjoy our winter festivals, boosting trade and helping secure valuable jobs. Most of all, it ensures our wonderful city centre maintains its position as one of the best places to be in the world at a crucial time of year.”

John Donnelly, Chief Executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “Over the last four years Edinburgh’s Christmas has grown significantly and now well-established as the city’s flagship winter event, comfortably sitting alongside Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations. Entertaining millions of people, Edinburgh’s Christmas is a huge draw to both residents and visitors, creating exciting and positive reasons for them to choose to visit, shop and enjoy all Edinburgh’s city centre has to offer.”        

Street of Light sunset jadu 1


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