If you’re not a Scottish local, the name St Andrew might not mean much to you. But if you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh during late November, you’re more than likely to become acquainted with one of Scotland’s favourite historical figures.
St Andrew, or Andrew the Apostle, is the patron saint of Scotland. Every year on the 30th of November a feast is held in his name, or at the very least, the whole of Scotland has a bit of a party. It is an official bank holiday and events across the country are held in his honour. Many of these events are intrinsically Scottish, which makes them the perfect activity if you’re travelling from further afield and want to experience some Scottish culture. So if you’re heading to Scotland’s vibrant capital this month, there’s no shortage of St Andrews Day events in Edinburgh to keep you busy.
Visiting Royalty Pays Off
On St Andrews Day, the beautiful Edinburgh Castle is open to the public for free. Explore the historical castle, nosey through the museums and visit the National War Memorial before taking in the view of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Although it is free, tickets are limited. If you miss out on your free pass to Edinburgh Castle, you can also enter Craigmiller Castle in the south of the city for free as well.
Another royal venue which is opening its doors for free for St Andrews Day is the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This day-time event is perfect for families, tourists and anyone obsessed with the royal family. With craft activities and an exhibition celebrating Britain’s longest reigning monarch, it’s definitely worth a visit. Like Edinburgh Castle, entry is free, but tickets need to be reserved in advanced.
Another Song and Dance in St Andrews Square
When it comes to St Andrews Day events in Edinburgh, our favourite have to be the local St Andrews Day traditions. Every year, St Andrews Square is the centre of attention with an annual St Andrews Day live show. The eclectic mix includes folk-music, spoken words, a dance workshop and a nativity carol sessions. There are loads of fun activities throughout the day like face painting and a haggis hunt! To book your tickets, make sure you visit the Edinburgh Christmas website.
A Claus for Celebration
St Andrews Day also marks the official start of the festive season. This year, 60 000 lights will light up Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile on St Andrews Day until Christmas. On the 30th of November, the lights will be switched on alongside live performances and a festoon of festivities. The event is free but ticketed, and tickets can be purchased from the Visit Scotland website. If you miss out on this festive occasion, you can still take in the lights throughout December.
Make St Andrews Day APPen
To stay in touch with all the St Andrews Day events in Edinburgh, download the official St Andrews Day APP. The APP contains a listing for events not just in Edinburgh, but across the world. It also has some helpful tips for hosting your own St Andrews Day soirée. Download the APP for free from the iTunes app store and the Android Market.