Inclusive festive events in Edinburgh in 2022

24 November 2022


Christmas is the perfect time for everyone to enjoy some festive cheer with their loved ones. That’s why we’ve pulled together this list of inclusive festive events so families with additional needs can enjoy the very best of what Edinburgh has to offer throughout the festive season.

Tickets for all events should be purchased in advance online.

1. Santa's Stories 

Make you little one’s day by taking them along to West Princes Street Gardens where Santa and his elves have set up home in Santa Land. Santa’s Stories is a group session, although each child will have the chance to meet Santa and receive an early Christmas gift.

Relaxed Performances are designed for children with additional needs, learning disabilities, sensory or communication disorders. These sessions will have smaller group sizes, dimmed music with no flashing lights or loud noises, a fully accessible wheelchair grotto and staff fully trained in disability awareness. Relaxed sessions are running from 26 November – 24 December.

Audio described sessions are available on selected dates from 01 – 22 December.

A British Sign Language interpreter will assist Santa and his elves in delivering Santa’s Stories on 06 and 16 December.

Address: West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, EH2 2HG

Book a trip to see Santa's Stories here > 

2. Santa’s Daytime Grotto & Grotto Express 

Breakfast With Santa At Edinburgh Zoo

Back by popular demand, Edinburgh Zoo is once again welcoming not just Santa, but Mrs Claus for a both a daytime and night-time festive experience.

Hear about life at the North Pole, then meet Santa himself at his Daytime Grotto, or have an after-dark adventure at the Grotto Express. Running from  5pm – 7:30pm on selected days from 02 – 24 December, wee ones will have 10 mins to meet and chat with Santa and Mrs Claus.

Santa can use British Sign Language and the grotto area is fully wheelchair accessible.

Address: 134 Corstorphine Rd, Corstorphine, Edinburgh EH12 6TS

Book your grotto experience at Edinburgh Zoo here >

3. The Santa Experience 

40 minutes drive from the centre of Edinburgh, the beautiful Archerfield Walled Garden in East Lothian will be welcoming Santa and his elves for The Santa Experience

Write and post a letter with your Christmas wishes, then join Santa for a group story, before meeting him in his cabin, where each child will receive a gift.

A quieter version of The Santa Experience with smaller group numbers takes place on 09 and 16 December. (At time of writing, all slots are fully booked, however it is possible to register your interest by signing up online to a waiting list). 

Address: Archerfield Walled Garden, Archerfield Estate, Dirleton, EH39 5HQ

Sign up here for the chance to see Santa at Archerfield Walled Garden > 

4. Lidl on Ice 

Edinburgh Christmas Ice Rink

It’s time to get your skates on and show off your coolest moves at Lidl on Ice. This alpine-inspired rink is located at the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. 

Relaxed sessions with lower capacity, ambient lighting and sound, no flashing or moving lights aim to provide a quiet and calm atmosphere. Ice Marshalls will be on hand to provide guidance where required. Available on selected dates and times from 07 – 23 December.

Address: West George St between Castle Street and Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, EH2 4JZ

Book your session on the ice here > 

5. Christmas at the Botanics

 Christmas At The Botanics 2022

See Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens burst into festive colours as the festive favourite Christmas at the Botanics returns with a magical natural trail. Expect trees drenched in jewel-like colours, dancing waterside reflections and sparkling tunnels of light.

A quieter, lower capacity session takes place on 07 December. Commencing at 4pm before the trail opens to the public, visitors will be able to able to explore the illuminated before darkness fully descends.

Address: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20a Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5LR

Plan now and book your tickets to Christmas at the Botanics here > 

6. Castle of Light: A Kingdom of Colours

Castle Of Light 22 Edinburgh Castle

Back for its third year, the majestic Edinburgh Castle will once again be beautifully illuminated for the magical Castle of Light: A Kingdom of Colours

Experience immersive illuminations which guide you throughout this medieval fortress in a kaleidoscope of colours, all while telling the story of the castle.

On 08 December, additional staff will be on hand to offer arrange of support to visitors with access requirements.

Hosted in connection with the Audio Description Association of Scotland, a visually impaired tour with audio takes place at 4.30pm. BSL tours with interpreter take place at 5.15pm & 6.45pm

The autism accessible 7pm time slot will provide a quieter experience for visitors, with noise cancelling headphones.

Limited capacity will apply across all time slots. Guests are welcome to bring a torch.

Address: Edinburgh Castle, The Esplanade, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG

Reserve and book your tour of Castle of Light: A Kingdom of Colours here > 

7. The Panto: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

For many of us, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to a pantomime.

Expect magical scenery, outlandish costumes and hilarious slapstick comedy with The Panto: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Festival Theatre.

An audio description performance and BSL interpretation take place on 07 and 13 January. A touch tour where guests can touch and handle some of the show’s set, props and costumes is also running on these dates.

There is a relaxed performance on 04 January. Aiming to create a calm environment, guests will be able to move freely around the theatre, which will have dimmed lighting. A break-out space will have a live stream of the show.

Address: Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Book your night at Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs here > 

8. Sinbad the Panto

SINBAD The Brunton

Get ready for an epic journey filled with nail-biting drama, dastardly pirates and ferocious creatures at Sinbad the Panto at the Brunton Theatre. Located in Musselburgh, Lothian Buses services 26 and 44 run a regular service from Edinburgh city centre. 

A BSL Interpreted performance takes place on 16 December, an audio description session on 17 December and a relaxed performance on 28 December.

Address: The Brunton, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6AA

Book your tickets to Sinbad the Panto here > 

9. An Edinburgh Christmas Carol

This year’s Royal Lyceum Theatre’s festive performance, An Edinburgh Christmas Carol is a re-telling of the Christmas classic tale, but with a special Edinburgh twist.

A captioned performance takes place on 03 December, audio described & touch tour on 09 & 10 December, BSL interpreted on 14 December and relaxed performance on 15 December.

A visual story guide is available here >

Address: Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AX

Check availability and book your tickets to An Edinburgh Christmas Carol here > 

10. Scottish Ballet's The Snow Queen

With live music by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, The Snow Queen is the ultimate Christmas treat. Embark on a magical journey through a wintery fairy-tale forest to the icy Snow Queen’s palace.

A relaxed performance takes place on 08 December.

Address: Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Book your tickets to Scottish Ballet's The Snow Queen here >  

11. My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady Edinburgh Playhouse

The charming feel-good musical My Fair Lady arrives at Edinburgh Playhouse this winter. Join Henry Higgins as he tries to transform Eliza Doolittle into a cultured member of high society.

There is an audio description performance on 15 December, BSL interpreted on 20 December and captioned on 05 January.

Address: Edinburgh Playhouse, 18-22 Greenside Place, Edinburgh EH1 3AA

Have a night at the theatre. Book your tickets to My Fair Lady here > 

12. Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder

A TARDIS Landed In The Grand Gallery At The National Museum Of Scotland Photo Stewart Attwood 2 (Image Credit: Stewart Attwood)

Moving into the New Year, take a journey through TV history and explore the science behind the global hit television series with National Museum of Scotland’s new exhibition, Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder

Relaxed viewings are available on 08 January, 05 February, 05 March, 02 April and 18 April. There will be limited capacity and loud interactive videos will be muted.

Address: National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF

Plan ahead and book your 2023 tickets to Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder here > 


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