Aberdeen Christmas Markets: An honest review.

Every year we look forward to going to the Christmas markets. It’s one of our family Christmas traditions, we really enjoy it and so do the kids, but this year? Seriously disappointed.

So what’s changed?

The location. It’s now on Broad Street beside Marischal College, the last few years it’s been at Union Terrace which was bigger but a bit of a pain if that was your bus/travel route. The location isn’t a massive deal, it’s closer to the St Nicholas & Bon Accord shopping centres so possibly better for passing trade- but it was dead when we were there today. Comparing it to previous years it was the quietest I’ve seen it.

The size. This year it is so much smaller. A disappointing amount of stalls compared to other years, more than half of the food and decoration/shop type stalls were gone, I’m guessing due to lack of space. The main attractions for most people, the ice rink and the wee gazebo cafe are still there. But correct me if I’m wrong- I only saw two stalls that were not selling food, whereas last year they were loads of lovely stalls selling quirky, unique Christmas things.

The price. The cost is shocking- I remember the ice skating being expensive, but the rides that Cadonas provide were ridiculously expensive. £10 for 10 tokens, expensive but not too bad. It cost 2 tokens for 1 shot on a ride per person. And they make you pay for an accompanying adult! So it was £4 for Lilly to go on to the carousel and for me to hold her. I did argue the point with the employee who was working the ride and was told “that’s the rules. Adults have to pay too.” What made the Christmas markets so great for us last year was the rides. I spend the same amount of money but Lilly got on 5 times because we didn’t need to pay for me to hold her. So the kids got on two rides this year, we were in and out within 15 minutes after having a wee look around the stalls and going on two rides. A different story to the good couple of hours we spent there on previous years.

If you’re local from Aberdeen, you’ll be familiar with people saying “Aberdeen just has nothing!” And we finally get something decent in our city center and it doesn’t last. I’m honestly so disappointed. Loads of people have told me that the markets were awful this year, but we had the best time the last few years I honestly didn’t believe them. If you haven’t been already I wouldn’t waste your time. I won’t be going back next year, I reckon we will go to Edinburgh instead.


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