Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Festive Family Fun in Edinburgh

22 December 2016

 [Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015. Photography: Mike Davidson]

The festive season is a special time to spend with your family in Edinburgh, with lots of events and activities for everyone to enjoy. Take a look at our selection of Festive Family Fun in Edinburgh and start planning your family day out to get you in the mood for Christmas.

Pay a Visit to Santa Land

Santa Land Blog

[Image Credit: Edinburgh's Christmas]

Edinburgh’s Christmas fills East Princes Street Gardens with lots of festive cheer for families. Santa Land is open until 7th January 2017 and is packed with lots of affordable rides for children of all ages. You can also take a ride on the Santa Train and try to navigate your way through the Christmas Tree Maze as well as creating your own Christmas crafts at the Children’s Market. And of course there’s the chance to meet the man in red himself in the magical Santa’s Grotto.

To book tickets for the Santa Land attractions visit the Edinburgh’s Christmas website.

Catch a Christmas Show at the Theatre

Jack And The Beanstalk Kings Theatre 600X250

Edinburgh’s theatres have a great line-up of family friendly shows for the festive season. If you like a good old Christmas Panto then the King’s Theatre have it covered with Jack and the Beanstalk. Bringing back their Panto dream team Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott, you can expect colourful costumes, sing-alongs and plenty of slapstick. For a more traditional affair, The Lyceum presents C.S Lewis classic tale Alice in Wonderland. Be spellbound by the magical world of Wonderland with colourful sets, costumes and infectious performances. Meanwhile, in the Edinburgh's Christmas Festival Square Theatre, the world's most distinguished duo of time-travelling magicians Morgan & West present Charles Dickens' timeless classic in A (sort of) Christmas Carol Magic Show!

Find out what other shows are on this festive season >

Have a Royally Festive Time at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Holyrood Tree Blog

[Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queeen Elizabeth II 2015. Photographer: David Cheskin]

The Palace of Holyroodhouse will be decking the halls with stunning Christmas wreaths, garlands, sparkling lights and two incredible Christmas trees on display from 2nd December to 5th January 2017. Children can get into the festive spirit with special family activities every day. Pick up a festive trail to search for the hidden presents and visit the Family Room to make a wish on a very special wish tree.

All activities are free with the Palace of Holyroodhouse admission price and and if it's your first visit make sure you get your ticket stamped and you can go back for free as many times as you like for one year. Tickets can be pre-booked on the Palace of Holyroodhouse website.

Discover Christmas Past at The Real Mary King’s Close

Mary Kings Close Christmas Blog

[Image Credit: The Real May King's Close]

Explore a different side to the festive season with The Real Mary King's Close Christmas Tours from 18th to 22nd December. Your Victorian tour guide will take you through the narrow underground closes to tell you tales of festive faeries and spirits and explain how celebrations of the past evolved into the cherished Christmas traditions of today.

Places on the Christmas Tours are limited so pre-booking is recommended; you can book your tickets on The Real Mary King's Close website. Please note The Real Mary King's close is not suitable for children under 5 years old therefore they are not admitted.

Keep it cool with Dynamic Earth's penguins

Penguin Day Dynamic Earth (1)

Explore the frozen world of Antarctica and the wonderful world of penguins this winter at Dynamic Earth. Chill out in the Polar Extremes gallery, then make some new fluffy friends with a whole bunch of drop-in activities. Find out about all the different kind of penguins that live in Antarctica and how they are specially equipped to survive in these extreme environments. You can also make your very own penguin creation at the creative science table to take home. 

You can "chill out" with Dynamic Earth's penguins until the 8th January and these activities are included in your admission to Dynamic Earth. You can drop in to these activities from 10am-4pm daily. Find out more on Dynamic Earth's website

Be spellbound by Edinburgh International Magic Festival's Christmas Special

Magicfest Xmas

Wrap yourself in magic this Christmas at the first-ever MagicFest Christmas Show from the 27th to 30th December at George Square Theatre. A heart-warming mix of thrilling magic with a sprinkling of comedy, expect captivating performances featuring top magicians from throughout the UK and Europe. From cutting-edge illusions and mind reading to mesmerising sleight-of-hand magic and edge-of-your-seat levitation, this is one Christmas cracker not to be missed.

Find out what else is happening in Edinburgh this festive season >