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Edinburgh for Christmas

Planning a trip to Edinburgh with another family and our adult children totaling 10 adults. We are arriving the 22nd/23rd and anticipate shop closures on Christmas Day with no train service and reduced bus service. We all expect to have days on either side of the holiday to explore and we expect Christmas Day to be spent walking and in a low key manner. I can see we likely need a reservation for Christmas Day at a pub - does anyone have suggestions as to a specific pub to consider? How about attending a church service either Christmas Eve or Day- any suggestions or help from prior experience?
Many thanks for your help!

Posted by
258 posts

Check out:
the culturetrip.com

Found this from 2019

The Best Places in Edinburgh for Christmas Day Lunch – 2019
Brasserie Prince | 1 Princes Street.
The Printing Press | 21-25 George Street.
Hotel Du Vin | 11 Bristo Place.
The Pompadour | The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria.
Grazing by Mark Greenaway | The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria.
Chez Jules | 109 Hanover Street.
Number One at The Balmoral | 1 Princes Street.

Posted by
2746 posts

Just a note about Hotel Du Vin -- it's a hotel chain with a wine theme, i.e. each room/suite is named for a brand of wine. We haven't stayed in the one in Edinburgh, but we had dinner in the restaurant of the one in England where we did stay. We are not drinkers so they were rather disappointed that we didn't order any wine. The food was unremarkable. We were in a pinch because of a transportation strike, that's how we ended up staying there. I will say the front desk staff were incredibly helpful!

Posted by
1402 posts

You could go to St. Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile for a midnight carol service.
All the churches will have their Christmas services schedule posted outside on a notice board.
Remember, the churches are made of stone and are old....wrap up very warmly for any service you attend!!

Posted by
228 posts

Midnight Mass is always popular. You may find services on Christmas day are quieter.

Posted by
1292 posts

In terms of Midnight Services, not all churches will have them, some might not have services on Christmas Day unless it is a Sunday, as historically Scotland was a Calvinist country where Christmas Day was not a public holiday until 1958. I have relatives who remember it being a working day even in areas with large Catholic or Episcopalian populations. So check denominations first!

But it is now a holiday, and most places do shut up. Going out, it is always worth booking as early as possible, with a deposit. Usually months ahead.

What you will get is a city that is largely empty, and depending where you are this can be a romantic time to walk around it.