EDINBURGH’S Christmas is under renewed fire over the high cost of food and drink.
Visitors to the Capital’s markets have been shocked by the prices charged for burger, chips and a beer.
And while not exactly a “like-for-like” comparison, the price of sampling one or two of the more expensive offerings at the markets, as well as a drink, would cost the same as lunch at one of the city’s top eateries.
That comes on top of claims from disgruntled parents that the Santa Train is more expensive per mile than travelling on the Orient Express.
Organisers disputed that prices were keeping people away and promised to reveal “astounding visitor figures” soon.
They say the revamped market was in response to complaints some of the stalls had become tired and unloved.
However, there is mounting anger over the cost of the attractions – with both customers and stallholders claiming this year is “a total rip-off”.
The Evening News visited and found burgers and chips priced at £6 and £3 respectively at a van parked at St Andrew Square. Add in pint of beer for £6 and you will not see any change from £15.
By comparison, visitors could instead take a walk up to the posh Witchery restaurant and take advantage of a lunch deal or pre-theatre two-course meal for £15.95.
Discerning diners can opt between Assiette of Iberico charcuterie or Omlette Arnold Bennett for starters, followed by a mutton faggot with pea ragout or a wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil.
The plush surrounds are in stark contrast to the outdoor market, where sweet-tooths face paying £4 for a hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, and up to £7.50 for a crepe with two toppings.
Kerry Logan, 25, who works as a nanny and took children to the winter attraction, said the prices put her off getting food and drink.
She said: “I think the prices are a bit steep. When you add up going on a few of the rides, they’re £4 each and the kids just want to go on the next one, then the next one, it soon adds up. If you then look at adding food and drink, it becomes expensive. I think people are better off taking a packed lunch.”
Rakesh and Anisa Sund travelled up from London on Thursday for a short break after enjoying the occasion last year.
The married couple said the food and drink prices are “the same as London” and better deals could be found in Edinburgh’s restaurants.
Rakesh, 30, said: “It has ?become more expensive than last year. St Andrew Square seems to be more expensive than the rest of the market. It has changed from last year in terms of the layout and what’s here.”
Dozens of disgruntled customers have taken to social networks to complain about the pricey snacks and beverages.
It follows criticism about the price of rides – with a typical family of four asked to splurge nearly £150 on a day out – and that the market had become too dominated by alcohol sales.
The six-week festival is being run for the first time under a new partnership between London’s Underbelly and local firm Unique Events.
In February its organisers were jointly awarded the contract for both winter festivals, including Hogmanay, for the next three years, ending the six-year tenure for Durham-based firm She’s Gott It!
Stallholders have complained about paying double the rates of last year, leading them to put up their prices.
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