Happy New Year! The arrival of January sees Edinburgh swapping twinkly lights and Christmas decorations for glittering frosty mornings and the promise of snow. There continues to be a level of uncertainty in the air, however, a mixture of in-person and online events are going ahead this month so there’s still plenty to look forward to.
Note: We have taken special care to check which events and festivals are still going ahead when compiling this blog post but, with the current climate, things are still a bit up in the air, so don’t forget to check the individual links for the latest information.
CITY OF FESTIVALS
Edinburgh is known as the City of Festivals and on a normal year the city has a jam- packed festival schedule all year around. This year, things are a little different but there are still a couple festivals to look forward to this January:
Edinburgh Christmas (until 4th January, Various Locations)
Edinburgh Christmas will remain open until the 4th January! You can expect the annual Christmas markets, ice skating, and fairground rides as well as a new section in West Princes Street Garden.
Burns & Beyond (TBC)
Unfortunately, Burns & Beyond’s stellar line up has been postponed for the time being but keep an eye out on their website for updates. In the meantime, one event that is scheduled to go ahead is Michael Pendry’s Les Colombes at St. Giles’ Cathedral – a spectacular installation by German artist Michael Pendry consisting of more than 2,500 origami paper doves which will fly the full length of the Cathedral. Symbolizing love, hope and kindness.
The National Whisky Festival (11th December, Summerhall)
Whether you’re a seasoned whisky enthusiast or a curious newcomer, The National Whisky Festival is a fun day out. There’ll be whisky tastings, masterclasses, pop-up food and drink stalls, plus live music.
MANIPULATE Festival (From 28th January, Summerhall)
MANIPULATE Festival is back and will host the very best of Scottish and international puppetry, visual theatre and animated film to adult audiences in Edinburgh and beyond.
Banff Mountain Film Festival (30th January, Festival Theatre)
The Banff Mountain Film Festival is an international film competition and annual presentation of films and documentaries about mountain culture, sports, environment and adventure.
The new year is here and with it some new restrictions have come into place but it’s not all doom and gloom as there are still a few events and exhibitions going ahead. Here are just a few to keep in mind:
Castle of Light (until 9th January, Edinburgh Castle, £20)
Thomas Joshua Cooper: The World’s Edge (until 23rd January, Scottish National Portrait Gallery)
New Arrivals | From Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville (throughout January, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – Modern One, Free)
Turner in January (from 1st January, Free)
Jacobite Edinburgh – A Healthy Walk through History (8th January, World’s End, £7)
Origami Dove Making (21st – 23rd January, National Museum of Scotland, Free)
The Art of Wallpaper – Morris & Co. (28th January, Dovecot Studios, from £10.50)
The arrival of January means Burns Night is just around the corner and there are a few seasonal events taking place in the city that are worth keeping in mind.
Whisky Tastings (Throughout January, Whiski Rooms)
Celebrate Burns Night this month by attending one of the Whiski Rooms’ weekly whisky tastings. You’ll learn the basics of production plus the best way to approach, serve and enjoy whisky. There are several to choose from including Whisky & Cheese and Whisky & Chocolate tastings.
Newhailes Open House Weekend (15th-16th January, Newhailes Estate)
This month, Newhailes Estate is hosting an open house weekend! This means you’ll get the chance to explore Newhailes House at your own pace without a guide. There will also be a Woodland Family Fun Trail where you’ll receive a trail booklet, which will take you on a roam around Newhailes Estate, learning as you go.
Burns Supper at Prestonfield (20th January, Prestonfield House)
Prestonfield’s annual Burns Supper, in aid of Prostate Scotland, returns with its usual mix of wit, wine, whisky and wisdom accompanied by fine seasonal food and one or two musical surprises.
The Ghillie Dhu Rabbie Burns Experience (21st January, Ghillie Dhu, £47.95 per person)
Celebrate Burns Night the traditional way with a dram, piper, an address to the haggis, 3-course meal in the Ghillie Dhu’s grand Auditorium and a ceilidh to finish the evening!
Burns Big Night In (22nd January, Online Event, From £18)
With the new restrictions some Burns Night celebrations have been cancelled but thankfully, the Burns Big Night In promises music, song, poetry, whisky and some great Scottish banter from the comfort of your home. The evening is hosted by DJ and presenter Edith Bowman and will be live streaming from Burns Cottage in Ayrshire.
Edinburgh is known for its rich literary history with many well-known authors calling the city home for a period of time. Both new and second-hand independent bookshops are an integral part of the city and several host regular literary events, here are a selection:
Topping & Company (2 Blenheim Place)
Beginning with Edinburgh’s largest independent bookshop, Topping & Company will be welcoming four authors this month: Stephen Clarke and Rab Shields (11th January) who will be chatting about their new book ‘The Kilted Coaches’, Edinburgh-based climber Anna Fleming (14th January) and her book ‘Time on Rock’, and Bestselling author and comedian, Ruby Wax (20th January) with her book ‘And Now for the Good News’.
Lighthouse Bookshop (43-45 W Nicolson Street)
Lighthouse Bookshop has arranged a few interesting literary events to start the year including the Queer Data Launch: Data as a tool for social justice (Venue TBA, 20th January), The Future Generations Book Group: The Breaks (Online, 24th January), and Other Fruit LGBTQ Book Group – Carol By Patricia Highsmith (Online, 24th January).
Lighthouse Bookshop (43-45 W Nicolson Street)
Lighthouse Bookshop has arranged two interesting literary events for the month of December, The Future Generations Book Group: Postcolonial Love Poem (online, 6th December) and Women In Translation: Childhood (13th December).
Blackwell’s Bookshop (53-62 South Bridge)
Join Blackwell’s for their monthly book quiz (10th January) in their Caffè Nero. You can expect everything from classics to current bestsellers, Booker Prize winners to celebrity biographies and everything in-between.
Portobello Bookshop (46 Portobello High Street)
Lastly, Portobello Bookshop is welcoming Emma Christie (Online and In-person, 20th January) to chat about her gripping new thriller set in Portobello! She’ll be in conversation with Dr Jacky Collins AKA Dr Noir.
Edinburgh is fortunate to have a variety of weekly neighbourhood markets to visit. With things the way they are, it’s unsure if these markets will all go ahead as planned so, please check their websites before you visit.
Grassmarket Market (every Saturday, from 10am-5pm)
A weekly market offering freshly baked goods, seasonal produce, and local craftwork.
Leith Market (every Saturday, Dock Place, from 10am-5pm)
Sitting beside the Shore, Leith’s weekly market hosts predominantly food stalls as well as a few local makers.
Stockbridge Market (every Sunday, Saunders Street, from 10am-5pm)
Stockbridge is one Edinburgh’s busiest markets selling a range of street food and lifestyle products.
Edinburgh Farmers’ Market (every Saturday, Castle Terrace, from 9am-2pm)
Drop by Edinburgh Farmers’ Market to browse seasonal produce such as fruit, vegetables, locally sourced game, and more.
January is a great time to try something new. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over but the shorter winter days still linger so whether you’re looking to discover a new hobby or fulfil of a new year’s resolution, here are a few suggestions:
Introduction to Silver Clay Jewellery (19th January, The Arienas Collective, £115)
The Arienas Collective has a consistently great line-up of monthly workshops. This month they’re hosting an ‘Introduction to Silver Clay Jewellery’ which is a one-day workshop suitable for beginners where you’ll learn how to create your own silicone mould to use with silver clay. At the end of the session, you’ll have created your own pair of earrings, a stone-set pendant, and a moulded charm.
Matisse-Inspired Punch Needle Art Workshop (19th January at We Make & 23rd January Online, £35)
Looking to make something fun for your home? We Make is hosting a Matisse-Inspired Punch Needle Art Workshop where you’ll learn the basics of punch needle and create a piece of embroidery art inspired by Matisse Cut-Outs.
Sketching with the Edinburgh Sketcher (13th & 27th January, The Arienas Collective, £65)
Another Arienas Collective workshop to look out for this month is ‘Sketching with the Edinburgh Sketcher’. Join Mark, known locally as the Edinburgh Sketcher, for a beginner’s workshop of sketching. The 3.5-hour workshop will begin with familiarising yourself with the materials and practicing some basic skills. Then, Mark will bring you on one of his favourite local sketching tours to use your new found skills to create more detailed sketches.
Last, but not least, there’s always a host of businesses opening their doors for the first time in Edinburgh. Here are a few which have opened in December and will be opening in January. Why not pop along and welcome them!