RESIDENTS in Edinburgh and the Lothians are to benefit from a 20 per cent discount on the capital’s Christmas events as organisers seek to avoid a repeat of last year’s complaints over costs.
Edinburgh’s Christmas programme was unveiled today, with the announcement that everyone with an EH postcode would be eligible for the reduction on nearly all shows and rides, while prices in general will be cheaper than last year at many attractions.
Cut-price family tickets are also being offered on top of the discount, meaning total reductions of up to 33 per cent in some cases.
And Underbelly, who are taking charge of the city’s seasonal events for the second year running, say lower costs will not mean any reduction in the entertainment’s quality.
In addition to the return of the Star Flyer - relocated to East Princes Street Gardens due to ongoing demolition work in St Andrew Square - and the European Market, there are a number of new events, including a second ice rink in St Andrew Square and a series of children’s rides, priced between £1 and £4.
The 106-stall European Market will again be joined by the Scottish Market, also located in St Andrew Square, and Santa’s Grotto in the gardens has been enlarged.
The discounted price for locals was introduced following widespread criticism last year over the cost of the attractions.
A typical family of four would end up paying around £100 for ice skating, a trip on the Big Wheel and a handful of other activities on offer.
The price of food and drink also came under fire, with a burger and pint of beer setting visitors back £6.
The cost of an off-peak session on the ice rink has been cut from £10 to £9 for adults and from £8.50 to £5 for children, while carousel rides (£4 to £3.50) and the maze (£4 down to £3) have also been reduced.
However, a trip on the Big Wheel has risen to £9, up £1 from last year, while a ticket for the Star Flyer has seen a 50p increase from £7.50 to £8.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam of Underbelly said they were delighted to be presenting Edinburgh’s Christmas for a second year, saying that last year’s programme had “reimagined” the event and brought record-breaking numbers of people to the Capital.
They added: “We’re very excited about this year’s innovations, including the new ice rink in St Andrew Square around the Melville Monument, the expanded Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens with affordable attractions, and the new family prices and the 20 per cent EH residents’ discount across the board.
“We want this to be a Christmas for all of Edinburgh and we think there’s something for everyone. Our ambition is to make Edinburgh the best place to spend Christmas, whether you’re a resident or a visitor.”
Steve Cardownie, the city council’s festival and events champion, said Edinburgh’s festive programmes were the envy of the world, adding: “The line-up this winter will bring back some of the city’s classic attractions.
“I am especially pleased that after feedback from Edinburgh residents and a concerted decision to tailor the programme to suit even more local people, this year’s programme offers a big range of free events and a selection of great value attractions from as little as £1.
“Our Christmas events provide a great boost to the Edinburgh economy and this year’s offering is set to draw residents and visitors of all ages into the city centre.
Last year saw 387,000 tickets sold for Edinburgh’s Christmas.