Arts & culture

‘Castle of Light’ is the festive, after-dark experience we all needed

A new storytelling, immersive event at Edinburgh Castle will light up the world-famous landmark for eight weeks over the festive season

The ‘Castle of Light’ immersive experience has officially launched today, welcoming visitors after dark for a combination of storytelling, stunning visuals and state-of-the-art projections.

A selection of street food vendors, including Hector and Harriet, specialising in artisan blend barista coffee and unique home baked goods, the Prime Street Food wagon boasting restaurant quality bites and The Haggis Box, serving up traditional Scottish scran, will also be onsite. Benugo will be found serving food and drink outside the castle’s Redcoat Café, alongside an Edinburgh Gin cocktail bar serving mixed drinks.

21-year-old Paul Marshall was chosen by public nomination as the ‘wee treasure’ to switch on the blazing Castle of Light illuminations; also seen with his mum Celia Sweeney and Eric Dryden, executive manager of Edinburgh Castle. Credit: Rob McDougall

Following a national hunt for Castle of Light’s own ‘wee treasure’, 21-year-old Paul Marshall was selected as the winner to switch on this year’s event. Paul, who has a rare brain disease, was nominated by locals, family and friends as a ‘wee treasure’ due to his winning personality and devotion to helping others.

During lockdown, Paul became a familiar presence in the community as he cheered on the UK’s key workers on a Thursday evening from his front door. He became such a cheerful and welcoming part of the Edinburgh landscape during this difficult time that the bus drivers in the city gave him his own Lothian Buses jacket on his birthday to thank him for his support. He also received hundreds of cards from people in the community to help him celebrate his 21st.

Credit: Greg Macvean 

Credit: Greg Macvean 

Castle of Light’s creative director Andy McGregor, who is working alongside Double Take Projections, NL Productions and War Productions Ltd, in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, on this year’s event, said: “As Castle of Light: Hidden Treasures is all about putting a spotlight on the lesser-known stories from Scotland’s past, we wanted to find other unique stories about the special people who make up our country today. And we knew there would be some gems right on our doorstep.

“We were overwhelmed by nominations for Paul, who is clearly a shining star in the community. We can’t think of a more deserving person to help us light up the city with Castle of Light – just as Paul has done in his own local area with his unwavering support and joyful spirit.”

Castle of Light: Hidden Treasures will bring light, legend, mystery and magic to the capital for eight weeks through the festive season, from Friday 19th November 2021 to Sunday 9th January 2022 (on select dates, Thursday – Sunday). For more information and to get your tickets, visit