St Andrew’s Day 2020: history and traditions of Scotland

Today is St Andrew’s Day, the National day of Scotland!

But do you really know who is the patron saint of Scotland?

Also known as ‘Là Naomh Anndrais’ in Scottish Gaelic, St Andrew was a fisherman and one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. According to the legend, in the 18th century, after his relics were brought over to Kinrymont in Fife, the town became a major destination for medieval pilgrims and was later re-named St Andrews. It is said he was crucified in 60 AD on an X-shaped cross, rather than the “T” shaped cross of Jesus as he didn’t see himself as worthy enough to die as Jesus did.

This is why the Scottish flag’s symbol is an X. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

The Scottish Parliament made St Andrew’s Day an official bank holiday in Scotland in 2007.


Nowadays the traditional celebrations involve ceilidh dancing, eating haggis neeps and tatties, and enjoying Scottish music and culture. More recently it has also meant supporting our local Scottish communities on the day, whether through acts of kindness or by finding new local businesses to enjoy.

This year the traditional activities will not go ahead but the communities across Scotland are being encouraged to celebrate the 30th November in different ways. Here below you can find a couple of this year’s initiatives:

  • One Million Word of Kindness: #OneKindAct campaign is asking people to send king messages to their friends, family and neighbors in order to spread the kindness and connection across the country
  • Get Yer Kilt On: it’s a tourism initiative organised by the Fife Tourism Partnership. You can support it by wearing your kilt or something pattern tartan and then share your pictures on social media using the #GetYerKiltOn hashtag. To find out who the winner will be and for more information on the prize check out the Welcome to Fife social media’s page.

St Andrew’s Day is the right opportunity for everyone to wear their kilt and share the kindness which is part of what makes us who we are as a country.

#StAndrewsDay #ScotlandNationalDay #GetYerKiltOn #WeAreScotland


Top Activities in Edinburgh this December

Edinburgh is starting to feel very festive! Here are our tips on the activities you and your family can enjoy this December. Tune in to a festive story as part of the Edinburgh’s Christmas digital programme from the comfort of our centrally located York Place apartments, explore one of the festive activities at the popular Edinburgh Zoo and Botanic Garden, or simply get to know Edinburgh a little more with Edinburgh Bus Tours.

Edinburgh’s Christmas

Edinburgh’s Christmas programme comes in a new revised form this year. Although moving digital, it aims to lift our spirits up and bring a much-needed festive cheer to our homes.  

As part of Santa’s Advent Stories, Santa Claus will read a story before bedtime every day of the Advent directly on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website. Writers of all ages are encouraged to submit their entries with festive stories and a winning one will be selected by Santa himself! 

Edinburgh’s Christmas Neighbourhood Market is an online initiative to showcase a variety of local businesses and support their activities during these challenging times. We can all support the independent businesses of Edinburgh by buying our Christmas gifts locally. 

To find our more visit the official website here.

Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Nights  

Edinburgh Zoo is a great place to visit for adults and children alike but this Christmas you are in for a special treat. Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Nights are back from 20th November to 3rd January with availability on selected nights only. Embark on an enchanted light trail around the zoo all the way to the North Pole and visit Santa’s workshop. Feel the festive spirit and enjoy the luminous projections and fairy lights! 

Edinburgh Zoo is a short drive away (3.5 miles) from our York Place apartments, or alternatively there is a direct public transport link (number 26) with a bus stop directly on York Place. 

For further information and to buy tickets visit the official website here.

Christmas At The Botanics 

The Royal Botanic Garden is a favourite spot of many locals and visitors and their popular Christmas At The Botanics event is returning this season – running on selected evenings between 2nd December and 3rd January. They have prepared a festive trail of light that will cheer up the whole family. Experience the tunnel of light, the laser garden, watch mesmerizing light projections displayed on the historic Inverleith House and wander along giant luminescent sculptures and much more! 

The Botanic Garden is within walking distance of our York Place apartments – about 1 mile away and can be a part of a nice day out combined with a walk via the Water of Leith walkway, Inverleith Park and Stockbridge. 

For further information and to buy tickets visit the official website here.

Edinburgh Bus Tours 

Are you looking for a family fun day out? Look no further, Edinburgh Bus Tours allow you and your family to see the main visitor attractions at your own pace – you can hop-on and off as you like and explore your preferred sights. The tours leave from St. Andrew’s Square, which is a short walk away from our York Place apartments. A great way to learn something new about Edinburgh and as a bonus you will be able to enjoy some great panoramic views from the top deck as the tour makes its way through the city. 

More information on the tours can be found here.

If you are staying at our apartments during December and have any questions about your stay or Edinburgh in general, please contact us on or give our team a call on 0131 556 3840 and we would be happy to help.