Eerie photographs show the deserted streets of Edinburgh where the annual Christmas market would now be thriving if it hadn’t been axed due to coronavirus fears.
Bleak images reveal an empty East Princes Street Gardens compared with scenes of bustling festive activity in years gone by.
More than two million visitors annually flock to the winter wonderland to enjoy fairground rides and stalls selling handmade gifts, bratwurst, mince pies and mulled wine.
But the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the attraction to be scrapped this year and disheartening comparison photos give a gloomy look at Christmas 2020 so far.
Councillor Adam McVey, council leader at City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Our utmost responsibility is to keep our residents safe.
“Following the latest restrictions and through the development of plans, it became apparent that activities for Christmas were not going to be possible.”
Charlie Wood, the Underbelly director, said: “We very much wanted to bring some festive cheer and light to Edinburgh this Christmas and to support local makers and producers, at the end of what has been a challenging year for everyone.
“Public health is our absolute number one priority, and with the ongoing uncertainty concerning Covid-19 and the possibility of further restrictions, we have taken the collective and very sad decision with the council, NHS Lothian and Scottish Government not to proceed with this year’s Edinburgh’s Christmas sites in the city centre.
“There will be no public events which might encourage gatherings of people at either Edinburgh’s Christmas or Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.”