Chinese New Year Edinburgh 2020 Guide – Events and Accommodation

Chinese New Year 2020 Edinburgh Guide and Burns & Beyond 2020 Guide - Discover how to spend Burns Night and Chinese New Year in Edinburgh and check out the range of holiday apartments in Edinburgh Greatbase Apartments Edinburgh offered.

Chinese New Year 2020 Edinburgh Guide – Events and Accommodation

2020 marks a special year between Scottish and Chinese Culture because the Lunar Chinese New Year and Robert Burns Night both fall on the same date – 25th January 2020 – which only happens every 76 years. No matter whether you’re a local in Edinburgh or a tourist visiting the city, this guide will provide you with insights into the events and accommodation you can enjoy to celebrate Chinese New Year and Robert Burns Night.


Enjoy Scottish and Chinese Culture in One City

Robert Burns and Burns Night in Edinburgh

Robert Burns Night 2020 Edinburgh

Robert Burns was a renowned Scottish poet and lyricist who is considered the most famous pioneer of the Romantic Movement in Scotland. His works also inspired the founders of liberalism and socialism and so he became a cultural icon in Scotland.

On 25th January every year, Scots will come together to commemorate the life and contribution of Robert Burns with a traditional Burns supper and a series of local events.

This year, Burns & Beyond with Johnnie Walker will host a programme showcasing traditional Scottish and contemporary Scottish arts and culture in Edinburgh and across Scotland from 21st January 2020 to 1st February 2020.


Chinese Lunar New Year in Edinburgh

Chinese New Year Celebration Edinburgh

Chinese Lunar New Year is considered the most important festival in Chinese culture. Also known as the Spring Festival, it originated during the Shang Dynasty (17-11 century BC) and many customs and rituals continued through the generations.

Chinese Lunar New Year is an occasion for Chinese families and friends to gather together for a reunion meal and spend time together during the festive period. It also symbolises hope and blessing for the forthcoming year. Some other traditions include spring cleaning, putting red scrolls with complementary poetic couples at the gate, and festivals with lion and dragon dances.

This year, Edinburgh has the largest celebration for Chinese New Year in Scotland, from Tuesday 21st January until 6th February. The Edinburgh Chinese New Year Festival is part of a wider partnership between Burns & Beyond and Johnnie Walker and marks the first time Scotland will have a coordinated programme of special events and initiatives celebrating the cultural highlights of Scottish and Chinese culture to welcome in the Year of the Rat.


Event Highlights

Here is the list of events that visitors to Edinburgh can enjoy in celebration of Chinese Lunar New Year and Robert Burns Night.


1. Edinburgh Official Chinese New Year Concert

The Chinese New Year Concert, held at the Usher Hall, will reflect the optimism of the Year of the Rat. It will include performances from the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh Singers, as well as Chinese folk pieces performed by Chinese artists Guizhou Song and Dance Troupe.

Dance Troupe has toured over 20 countries, including the UK, France, Japan, Russia, and Canada, promoting Guizhou traditions and artistic exchange around the world. They will perform a variety of songs and dances that portray the unique folk customs and styles in Guizhou, China for the audience.

Edinburgh Official Chinese New Year Gala Music Concert 2020 at Usher Hall

Photo Credit: Scotland China Education Network

  • Date: 21st January 2020
  • Time: 19:00
  • Location: Usher Hall, Lothian Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2EA
  • You can book tickets here.


If you are looking to stay within a minute’s walk of the Usher Hall, our centrally located Usher Hall Views apartment could serve as a comfortable self-catering home for you. 

Usher Hall Views


2. Year of the Rat Celebration Concert

Music SymbolMusicians from Tianjin University of Finance and Economics will perform a selection of pieces based on traditional Chinese folk music. The troupe consists of ten musicians playing a range of instruments including the Erhu, Chinese Zither, Drum, Pipa and Suona horn. The event will be held in the Lecture Theatre of the Science Building in the Royal Botanical Gardens.


  • Date: Thursday, 6th February 2020
  • Time: 19:30 – 22:30
    Location: Lecture Theatre, Science Building, Royal Botanical Gardens, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR
  • You can book tickets here.


Stockbridge is a vibrant area in Edinburgh’s New Town. Our Cheyne Street Apartment provides a comfortable sleep for a group of six only a short walking distance from Princes Street and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Cheyne Street



3. Chinese Lanterns at St Giles’ Cathedral: Burns and Beyond 2020

To celebrate Burns Night and Chinese New Year falling on 25th January 2020, Edinburgh’s famous St Giles’ Cathedral will feature over 400 Chinese lanterns. There are a variety of FREE daytime events including workshops, tours and concerts to provide you with a unique experience under the canopy of lanterns from 23rd January to 1st February 2020.

St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh, High Street, Royal Mile

  • Date: 22nd January to 1st February 2020
  • Daytime entry: 9:00 – 17:00 (Mon – Sat); 13:00 – 17:00 (Sun)
  • Location: St Giles’ Cathedral, High St, Edinburgh, EH1 1RE


4. Evening Illumination at St Giles’ Cathedral: Burns and Beyond 2020

Apart from the free daytime events at St Giles’ Cathedral, you can enjoy an evening illumination and soundtrack in this historic building. The illumination will create a spectacular sensory experience along with a programme of daytime and evening performances and events, with tickets costing £5.

  • Date: 22nd January to 1st February 2020
  • Time:  Each evening 17:30 – 20:00
  • Tickets: £5.00 (including booking fee)
  • Book tickets here.


5. Giant Lanterns: Lost Worlds

Lanterns symbolise vitality, joy, good fortune and the wish for a bright future. Why not spend a day out at Giant Lanterns: Lost Worlds in Edinburgh Zoo to enjoy the bespoke displays created by Chinese craftspeople from Sichuan? The theme for this year is Lost Worlds, transporting you back in time to meet dinosaurs and all kinds of prehistoric creatures! There are over 600 brand new, beautifully crafted lanterns lighting a magical trail through the zoo. 

  • Date: 15 November to 26 January 2020
  • Time: 16:00 – 21:00
  • Location: Edinburgh Zoo, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS

Edinburgh’s West End is a lively and centrally located area that has lots of local shops and traditional pubs and restaurants. Princes Street is but a few minutes’ walk away. Why not stay in our William Street Lane Apartment or Rutland Square Studio to enjoy the lively scene at the West End? You can reach Edinburgh Zoo in 20 minutes by Lothian buses 24, 26 or 31 from these two apartments.

William Street Lane

Rutland Square



6. Chinese New Year: Family Activities and Performances

The National Museum of Scotland will hold free family-friendly activities and performances to celebrate Chinese New Year. You can drop in for a fun selection of traditional activities to celebrate the Year of the Rat, starting with a spectacular Lion Dance, and enjoy live performances and demonstrations throughout the day.

National Museum of Scotland

  • Date: 25th January 2020
  • Time: 11:00 – 16:00
  • Location: National Museum of Scotland (Grand Gallery, Level 1), Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF

You can try your hand at calligraphy, make a lucky red envelope, dress up in traditional costume, learn about the Chinese zodiac animals and use the trail to find those hidden around the museum. You can also enjoy a musical celebration of both Burns Night and Chinese New Year by Chinese and Scottish traditional musicians. The Musical Finale will be held at 15:45 at the National Museum of Scotland. 

You can click here for more information.

Looking for a spacious apartment with a well-equipped kitchen in Edinburgh’s Old Town? Royal Mile No.1, Royal Mile No. 2 and Royal Mile Heart are located in the quiet courtyard just off from the famous Royal Mile and any could be the perfect holiday home for you. 


Royal Mile No. 1

Royal Mile No. 2

Royal Mile Heart


7. Burns & Beyond Culture Trail 2020

This is an event that you shouldn’t miss if you love music and want to explore Scottish and Chinese culture. Burns & Beyond brings you a culture trail to let you enjoy eight venues with a four-hour pass on Saturday 25th January. With this culture trail ticket, you can explore Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns as you move from one venue to another, enjoying live music and performances by artists from across Scotland and beyond.

Each venue hosts a short show lasting approximately thirty minutes which is repeated throughout the evening so you can experience a feast of entertainment all in one night. 

Here are the event details of Burns & Beyond Culture Trail 2020:

  • Date: 25th January 2020
  • Time: Evening (varies depending on the venue)
  • Click here to view more information.


#1 Culture Trail: KT Tunstall & Friends

  • This is a specially curated evening of live music and chat in association with Lidl as part of the Burns & Beyond Culture Trail.


#2 Culture Trail: Blue Rose Code at Greyfriars’ Kirk, Greyfriars Pl

  • The songs of Ross Wilson aka Blue Rose Code address universal themes of love, loss, travel, home, accepting the past and embracing the future in a deeply personal way. 


#3 Culture Trail:  Lucky Middlemass’s Tavern at Assembly Rooms – Ballroom

  • You can enjoy an evening of live music and spoken word, featuring: Kinnaris Quintet, Rozi Plain and Nadine Ashai Jasset.


#4 Culture Trail: NEU! REEKIE! presents at Freemasons Hall, 96 George Street

  • Stanley Odd (full band)
  • Kevin Williamson with Kixx Collective & Craig Lithgow
  • Michael Pedersen, Davie Miller (FiniFlex/Tribe) & Carla J Easton collide


#5 Culture Trail:Whisky Tasting With Johnnie Walker

  • Johnnie Walker Ambassador Nigel Robertson will be your guide as you discover the distillation and taste behind some of Johnnie Walker’s most famous brands, including Black label / White Walker / Green Label / and Gold Label.


#6 Culture Trail: Gilded Balloon Basement, Rose Street

  • This venue holds a rapid-fire comedy set with a stellar line-up of talent from Scotland and beyond! Featuring Gareth Waugh, Christopher Macarthur-Boyd, Marjolein Robertson, Susan Riddell, Jamie Dalgleish and the legendary Scott Capurro.


#6 Culture Trail: Out Of The Ordinary & Ramrock Records

  • You will enjoy a riotous musical night to remember at the Liquid Rooms, 9C Victoria Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2HE.


#7 Culture Trail: Lanterns Illuminations at St Giles’ Cathedral

  • You can use the ticket to enjoy the evening lanterns illuminations at St Giles’ Cathedral, which together with its stunning architecture and soundtrack makes for an unmissable sensory experience.


#8 Culture Trail: Silent Adventures – Scotland Vs The World

  • You can enjoy non-stop dancing in a secret venue on the Culture Trail with the kings of the Silent Disco, Silent Adventures, and Edinburgh’s legendary DJ, The Great Calverto.


8. A Royal Mile Special: Chinese New Year

You can celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 with a special Year of the Rat-themed tour of the Royal Mile highlighting interesting characters from Scottish history. The tour guide will reveal the stories from prior Years of the Rat and the historical events that shaped Edinburgh’s past and our people, city and country.

From grand monarchs to our own Mercat Cross, bold New Town plans to riotous public executions, you’ll connect with the past with your Mercat storyteller as they guide you through the twisting tales and wynds of Scotland’s stories.

Edinburgh Old Town - Chinese New Year Celebration

  • Tour Date: Sat 25 Jan, Sun 26 Jan, Sat 1 Feb, Sun 2 Feb
  • Tour Time: 11:00 A.M.
  • Contact:  01312255445
  • Email:
  • Price: £14 (£12; Children £9; Family £27)

Want a luxurious stay in Edinburgh? Royal Mile Mansion located at 50 North Bridge is elegant and spacious and equipped with the best of modern amenities. You can enjoy your meal while overlooking the Royal Mile, Tron Kirk, and the Bridges.

Royal Mile Mansion


9. Chinese New Year at the Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience is going red for Chinese New Year. Its Silver and Gold whisky tours will be available in Mandarin and Cantonese on 25th January 2020. Scottish tapas with a Chinese twist and a whisky cocktail celebrating both Chinese New Year and Burns Night will be served.

  • Date:  25th January 2020 
  • Contact: 0131 220 0441
  • Location: The Scotch Whisky Experience, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE

If you are looking for grand accommodation next to Edinburgh Castle and the Scotch Whisky Experience, Ramsay Garden could be an ideal choice. This expansive holiday apartment has four comfortable bedrooms, a luxurious living room and a well-equipped kitchen. It can accommodate up to eight people.

Ramsay Garden


10. The ‘Not-So-Traditional Burns Supper’ 

If you want to celebrate Burns Night with a not-so-traditional Burns Night Supper, you can do so on 24th January. This event sees a night of comedy, live music and delicious food and drink with the hilarious Scott Gibson, plus a delicious three-course meal from award-winning local restaurant Urban Angel. To top it all off there will be an exhilarating ceilidh finale from the incredible Kilter Ceilidh Band.

Edinburgh Urban Angel facade

Urban Angel Restaurant


  • Date: 24th January, 2020
  • Time: 19:30  – 23:30
  • Venue: Freemason’s Hall, 96 George Street
  • Ticket: £50 (Including booking fee)
  • You can book the ticket here


11. Bairns’ Burns Supper: Family ceilidh dancing

You can join the incredible Kilter Ceilidh Band and some superb ceilidh callers for an entertaining, relaxed, child-friendly event. This all-ages event promises fun for all, and the kids can get an authentic taste of a Burns Supper with haggis.

Edinburgh Freemasons Hall facade

Freemason’s Hall, 96 George Street, Edinburgh

  • Date: 25th January 2020
  • Time: 12:00  – 13:00 
  • Venue: Freemason’s Hall, 96 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3DH.
  • Price: Free; just turn up with your dancing shoes ready.

For those unfamiliar with Scottish ceilidh dancing, watch the video below for a demonstration or see our blog post for more information.



12. The Ceilidh House: Tam O’Shanter at the Scottish Storytelling Centre

The Scottish Storytelling Centre brings you a family event on this special day. You can celebrate Burns Night and Chinese New Year with your family and friends for a special improvised ceilidh telling of Tam O’ Shanter in a friendly, lively, and enjoyable setting, with the chance to participate or just sit back and enjoy the fun!

  • Date: 25th January 2020
  • Time: 19:30 – 22:00
  • Venue: Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR
  • Price: £10.00 
  • You can buy tickets here.


13. Museums in Mandarin & Collections in Cantonese

You can come and explore the highlights of the collections and museum with the Museums in Mandarin and Collections in Cantonese teams in St Cecilia’s Hall and the Anatomical Museum.

Tours are free but ticketed.

St Cecilia's Hall Edinburgh

St Cecilia’s Hall, Niddry Street, Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1NQ

  • Date: Fri 24 Jan and Sat 25 Jan (Times & prices vary)
  • Location: St Cecilia’s Hall (0131 650 2600), Niddry Street, Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1NQ; Anatomical Museum (0131 650 1000), Doorway 3, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG.


14. Scottish Textiles Showcase

A showcase of work by Scottish artisans and woolen mills at which you can enjoy a free dram. Entry is free too!

Scottish Textiles Showcase Edinburgh

Photo credit: @scottishtextilesshowcase Instagram

  • Date: 20th Jan 2020 to 2nd February 2020
  • Time: 10:00 – 19:00
  • Location: Tron Kirk, Hunter Square, EH1 1QW
  • Find out more here.


15. Tartan Meets Tradition Chocolat Lock In

Hotel Chocolat is holding a chocolate-tasting event in its Frederick Street store to celebrate Burns Night and Chinese New Year. This event is perfect for chocolate lovers.

  • Dates:  20th Jan 2020, 22nd Jan 2020, 24th Jan 2020, 25th Jan 2020
  • Time: 18:15 – 19:15
  • Price: £10 for admission
  • Location: Hotel Chocolat, 7a Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2EY.


If you are looking for a holiday apartment within 10 minutes’ walk of Princes Street, our Cobbled Lane Mews or Heriot Row Apartment will delight you. The city’s best New Town and Old Town attractions are within short walking distance of each property. 

Cobbled Lane Mews

Heriot Row


Visiting Edinburgh in 2020?

If you plan to visit Edinburgh in 2020, why not enjoy your holiday in a charming self-catering apartment with Greatbase? Our holiday apartments are centrally located with well-equipped kitchens and comfortable bedrooms. You can enjoy your holiday in style and feel completely at home. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment on this post or contact us directly using the details at the top of the web page. You can discover more about our holiday properties here.


Would you like to know the best things to do for Valentine’s Day in EdinburghClick here to see how you can celebrate a special Valentine’s Day with your loved one.


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