Published On: Thu, Dec 21st, 2023

‘I visited the UK’s most ‘overpriced’ Christmas market and spent less than £12’ | Travel News | Travel

It’s less than a week until the holidays, so I decided to visit Edinburgh’s Christmas market, often described as being one of the most expensive festive markets in the UK.

As someone local to the city, I have lots of fond childhood memories of attending this Christmas market. Wandering the stalls to see a massive Ferris wheel and then turning to see Edinburgh Castle lit up with the surrounding colourful lights, it definitely makes me feel nostalgic.

However, I will be the first to take off my rose-tinted glasses and admit the place is not cheap. I do believe the Edinburgh Christmas market is beautiful but has perhaps earned its reputation for costing a small fortune just to get a bite to eat.

It has recently been reported that reviews of the Christmas market have not been very favourable this year due to the cost of food and drink. On TripAdvisor, one person wrote: “Overpriced, not worthy it. £9 for a hot chocolate? £10 for a pint of lager? £8 for a mulled wine. Too expensive!!!”

On my day out at Edinburgh’s Christmas market, I managed to have fun and spent less than £12 on food while also visiting some incredible vendors with lots of tasty treats.

It is free to into the market with no ticket purchase, but it can be very crowded at night due to everyone wishing to see the Christmas lights.

If you are someone who hates crowds, I recommend visiting the market in the daytime during the week if you can as it will be significantly quieter than if you visit on a weekend evening. I went in the evening on a weekday, and while it was a little crowded, I did not find it to be overwhelmingly so.

As soon as I entered the market, I was immediately surprised by some of the prices, even though I should know the market’s reputation by now.

I first tried to be frugal and naively thought a small bag of Pick N Mix would not cost me a lot, only to be proven wrong as I worked out while browsing one stall that a tiny bag of sweets would have cost me almost £10.

I quickly backed away but had fun looking at some of the other well-known food stalls. One of the biggest food attractions at the market is the famous Yorkshire wrap, in which you can get roasted meat of your choice with veggies with an option of roast potatoes (which cost extra of course – it would not be the Edinburgh market otherwise!) wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding.

The stall was extremely busy as I went past so I did not buy one. Plus, they were priced at around £14 which I thought was too expensive personally for me, but the stall was crowded and people seemed to really enjoy it as I walked by.

I also noticed many more local businesses at the Edinburgh market this year than I have seen previously. The local stalls could easily be spotted as they seemed much more reasonably priced than some of the more touristy stalls.

However, if you are planning to go to Edinburgh’s Christmas market and do not wish to spend a small fortune, then I recommend exiting Prince Street and hopping over to George Street close by.

It might not be as flashy as Prince Street Gardens’ festive display, but it is still part of the Edinburgh Christmas market. It has plenty of stalls and a few rides that I found to be much more reasonably priced.

I managed to get a really tasty brownie for £4 from a business called the Chock Shop, which worked out at £3 for a good-sized brownie and £1 for toppings. The brownie has been coated in hot chocolate sauce and whipped cream, making it the perfect thing to warm me up.

I also later got a luxury hot chocolate with cream topped with a massive toasted marshmallow at a pizza van owned by the local business Wanderers Kneaded.

They had the offer to get both a slice of pizza and hot chocolate in a deal for £7.50. It was absolutely delicious and good value for money in my opinion.

While it is true the Edinburgh Christmas market in Prince’s Street Gardens can be expensive, it is worth venturing outside the main street to explore all the other festive attractions in the city.

Overall, I ended up spending less than £12 on all the food I bought at the Edinburgh Christmas market while still enjoying some tasty, hearty and warming food.

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