Taking over the old watchtower in St Cuthbert’s Graveyard on Lothian Road, this new Edinburgh pop-up promises Christmas street food, warming drinks and plenty of entertainment.
Street food and local drinks
Open until 2 January, the Watchtower pop-up will serve a range of food and drinks from the converted cemetery watchtower, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.
Visitors can enjoy burgers and hot dogs from Fired Up Food, and ‘build your own’ pizzas from Woodburns Street Food.
There are also traditional Polish dumplings to try from Dead Good Pierogi, with fillings including cabbage and foraged mushroom, haggis, or cheese, potato and onion.
At the bar, visitors will find drinks from local favourites, Stewart Brewing and Daffy’s Gin, as well as festive mulled wine, mulled rum and hot chocolate.
Live music in the graveyard
In addition to enjoying festive food and drinks, visitors can also listen to a variety of local musicians and buskers in the outdoor courtyard.
Watchtower hope to provide a ‘micro festival’ in the heart of the city for both locals and visitors this Christmas.
“This winter, weâ€™re offering people an alternative to the corporate madness that has currently taken over Edinburgh,” explains organiser, Niall Macdonald.
“We also want to provide buskers in the city with a safe and friendly environment where they can ply their trade.”
Open daily from 12pm to 10pm, Watchtower will have a relaxed atmosphere, allowing people to drop in an enjoy good food, drinks and music throughout the day.
To make things extra festive, there are also real Christmas trees available to buy at the market.
Revitalising open spaces
But why the unusual location?
In addition to being a quirky talking point, hosting their pop-up in a graveyard highlights an important issue for Watchtower.
“Like many cemeteries across the country, St Cuthbertâ€™s Kirkyard is suffering, not only at the hands of weathering and erosion but also from limited resources, anti-social behaviour and a lack of awareness of their value as local green open spaces,” explains Macdonald.
“Despite its busy city centre location, the site feels secluded and secret.”
The team hope to revitalise the space, and raise awareness of the problem of public spaces being gradually privatised.
“Our goal is to reintroduce both locals and visitors to a much neglected inner city space by staging pop-up events, and co-ordinating a joined-up approach to revitalising the space so that it can become a well-loved community resource, as well as a â€˜must-seeâ€™ visitor attraction,” says Macdonald.
Watchtower (which began as a pop-up during the 2017 Fringe) are working together with St Cuthbert’s Church to create an experimental community arts project which offers “real people, real food, real music and real prices”.
â€¢ Watchtower is open from 9 December to 2 January in St Cuthbert’s Graveyard, Lothian Road, EH1 2EP. For more information, visit facebook.com/EdinburghWatchtower