Castle of Light: First look at event transforming Edinburgh Castle in the run-up to Christmas

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Edinburgh Castle has been cast in a new light as it heralded the start of the city's festive season with the launch of a new after-hours spectacular.

Dramatic smoke and fire effects, striking animated sequences, street entertainers, disco lights and laser beams were all deployed at Scotland's most iconic attraction for the launch of its new "Castle of Light" event.

Specially-created sequences for the world-famous facade of the castle and 10 sites within its walls were unveiled after months of behind-the-scenes planning for what is billed as Edinburgh's biggest ever light show.

It is hoped Castle of Light, which takes around an hour and a half to experience, will be repeated in 2020 and 2021 if it proves successful this year.

The £20-a-head event, which boasts a soundtrack featuring electronica music and Gaelic songs drawn from the Highlands and Islands, explores the 900-year history of the castle as well as highlighting some of Scotland's best-known landscapes.

Highlights include a specially-recorded poetry reading by the Scots Makar Jackie Kay for a sequence outside the Scottish National War museum, animated appearances from dragons and lions, the transformation of Crown Square into a dance hall, and a cameo appearance from Edinburgh's Christmas panto stars, Grant Stott and Andy Gray.

The new Castle of Light event is being staged for six weeks in the run-up to Christmas.

The new Castle of Light event is being staged for six weeks in the run-up to Christmas.

The 3750-capacity show, which is being staged until 22 December , is the first major public event to be staged outside normal opening hours at the castle, which is hosting the event until 10pm each night.

Gillian MacDonald, head of business development at Historic Environment Scotland, said: "Castle of Light invites visitors to watch the history of this iconic landmark come to life as it illuminates the very walls that saw it unfold."

Audrey Jones, head of new business and film at Historic Environment Scotland, the agency responsible for the castle, said: “Our remit for the event was that we wanted it to be completely unique and bespoke to the castle.

We wanted it to be relevant and fun, rather then historical and dull. The team has more than done that - it looks amazing.”

The new Edinburgh Castle event is billed as the city's biggest ever light show.

The new Edinburgh Castle event is billed as the city's biggest ever light show.

The spectacular finale of Castle of Light turns Crown Square into a nightclub dancefloor.

The spectacular finale of Castle of Light turns Crown Square into a nightclub dancefloor.

Lasers, smoke and fire are deployed in some of the Castle of Light sequences.

Lasers, smoke and fire are deployed in some of the Castle of Light sequences.

Haunting images created on a backdrop to Hospital Square are one of the highlights of Castle of Light.

Haunting images created on a backdrop to Hospital Square are one of the highlights of Castle of Light.

An ancient Celtic legend about a dragon which used to terrorise Edinburgh has been brought back to life for the Castle of Light event.

An ancient Celtic legend about a dragon which used to terrorise Edinburgh has been brought back to life for the Castle of Light event.