An Auld Scottish Tradition: Christmas at The Balmoral

The Balmoral Edinburgh

The Balmoral Edinburgh - Credit: Archant

In every festive-winter panorama of Edinburgh, there is one constant: the grand clock tower of The Balmoral, rising proudly above the capital. And this Auld Reekie landmark has an interesting tale to tell…

The Balmoral Edinburgh (c) Brett Young

The Balmoral Edinburgh (c) Brett Young - Credit: Archant

Edinburgh, 1895, and a competition is held to design a great railway hotel. The winning architects… raise an appropriately grand building, blending Victorian and Scottish Baronial styles. As a finishing touch, they add a tall, ornate clock and set it three minutes fast, so travellers won't miss their trains…

The hotel gradually became an iconic symbol of the Scottish capital, welcoming several Prime Ministers, the Queen Mother and icons including Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Paul McCartney. It was the place to be for a special occasion, or to make an occasion special.

Brasserie Prince By Alain Roux at The Balmoral Edinburgh (c) Marc Millar

Brasserie Prince By Alain Roux at The Balmoral Edinburgh (c) Marc Millar - Credit: Archant

Almost a century after opening, this landmark was reborn as The Balmoral - 'majestic dwelling' in Gaelic. The first of Sir Rocco Forte's soon-to-be legendary Rocco Forte Collection, it surpassed even its former glory while retaining its period charm.

Today, guests continue to enjoy The Balmoral year-round, but especially at Christmas, when it becomes the centrepiece of the season, located only moments from the capital's festivities. Warm and welcoming, each time guests step in from the frosty streets, they're greeted by a friendly kilted doorman, towering Christmas tree and if they're lucky, Lucy the resident terrier.

The Balmoral Edinburgh (c) Marc Millar

The Balmoral Edinburgh (c) Marc Millar - Credit: Archant

After a day of shopping, a festive Afternoon Tea under the dome of the Palm Court is a delicious treat. Coming in from an evening at the Festival of Light, a soothing spa session or dip in the pool may be just what's needed at The Balmoral Spa. Following a night at the theatre, families can warm up with a fabulous three-course menu at Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux.

Little guests feel the excitement, too. This festive season, special Wishing Trees will give guests the chance to leave their own wishes on special paper leaves. And meeting with Santa on Christmas Day, their gift of a wish may just come true.

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Once Christmas has passed and the presents have been unwrapped, it's time for Edinburgh's most prestigious festive event: The Balmoral's Hogmanay Gala Ball. A rousing celebration of all things Scottish, guests come from far and wide to enjoy fine food and wine, traditional performances and lively ceilidh dancing. Together, friends and families will welcome in the Bells of 2020 with a chorus of Auld Lang Syne, as fireworks soar above Edinburgh Castle.


It may seem early to start planning your family Christmas, but The Balmoral has been ahead of time since 1902. Book a Family Package over the festive

season at The Balmoral and receive 50% off an interconnecting or adjacent room for two children. This family offer includes daily breakfast,

complimentary meals for children under 3 and 50% off meals for 4-12 year olds. T: 0131 556 2414 E: W:

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