26 October 2023

Winter light trails in Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders

As the nights draw in, brighten them up with a walk round an enchanting illuminated winter trail.

From mighty fortresses to botanical gardens, wooded forests to animal-themed trails, prepare to be dazzled and enthralled by the enchanting illuminated trails adding a touch of sparkle to Edinburgh the Lothians and the Scottish Borders this winter.

  • Tip 1: As all these events take place outdoors, sturdy footwear and warm, waterproof clothing is recommended.

  • Tip 2: Tickets for all trails must be prebooked online.

  • Tip 3: Share your sparkly images with us on #ForeverEdinburgh!

Wondrous Woods

Set in the picturesque grounds of Gosford House in East Lothian, Wondrous Woods is a beautifully-lit trail meandering through ancient private woodlands and unseen gardens.

Starting at Gosford’s enchanting Lily Pond and Ice House, experience spectacular sound and lighting installations and savour the superb sight of Gosford House illuminated in all its glory.

Keep an eye open for magical mascot Woody the Owl and his friends.

Enjoy Wondrous Woods between 27 October and 19 November 2023.

Christmas at the Botanics

Follow a spectacular one mile trail through the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for an awe-inspiring interactive light trail. Discover trees drenched in jewel-like colours, larger-than-life illuminations, dancing waterside reflections, sparkling tunnels of light and magical festive sounds at the magical Christmas at the Botanics. Don’t forget to watch out for Santa along the way!

A quieter access session takes place on Wednesday 06 December at 4pm. Beginning at twilight before the illuminated trail opens to the public, this will have limited numbers to provide a relaxed atmosphere. 

Christmas at the Botanics is open on selected evenings between 16 November and 30 December 2023.

Five Sisters Zoo Illuminations

Located at West Calder in West Lothian, Five Sisters Zoo Illuminations will shimmer and sparkle once more with its popular after-hours light display.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a light show projection, tunnel of light, a festive market with crafts and gifts, food and drink stalls selling crepes, doughnuts, mulled wine and cider, plus marshmallow toasting. And, of course, there’s the chance to see all the animals in the zoo’s collection.

The route is mainly flat and is wheelchair, mobility scooter and buggy friendly. For visitors with additional support needs there will be a dedicated evening on Sunday 26 November.

Five Sisters Zoo Illuminations takes place on specific dates from 17 November to 23 December 2023.

Castle of Light: Magic and Mystery

See Edinburgh Castle come to light with the stunning Castle of Light: Magic and Mystery.

Let immersive illuminations and enchanting installations guide you through the castle grounds in a sea of twinkling lights and colourful displays at this all-new expanded show. You can also meet the Castle of Light guide, Rex the Lion, in the stunning surroundings of the Great Hall.

For those visitors that prefer a quieter experience, on Sunday 03 December there will be reduced capacity. There will also be specified slots for audio scribing, BSL interpretation and an autism friendly time slot.

Castle of Light: Magic and Mystery runs on select dates from 24 November 2023 to 03 January 2024.

Monteviot Lights

© Phil Wilkinson

The Scottish Borders’ first winter light trail arrives this November and is set to illuminate the natural beauty of the area. Incorporating Monteviot House and Garden’s natural surroundings and key features, Monteviot Lights is a captivating outdoor illuminated trail through 1.5km of beautifully lit gardens and woods. Pass through the magic doorway to encounter a symphony of twinkling lights, then follow the illuminated pathway winding through the grounds, leading to a captivating winter fairytale.

Wheelchairs and buggies can get around the trail. However, it is important to note that the route is uneven in places and does include a variety of inclines.

Entrance to the event is located at the Harestanes Visitor Centre and Playground on the B6400, around 0.8 miles from the A68, just over an hours drive from Edinburgh.

Visit Monteviot Lights from 30 November to 10 December 2023.

Beecraigs Festive Forest

© 21CC Group

Located in the picturesque Beecraigs Country Park by Linlithgow in West Lothian, 2km of woodland trail have been transformed into the magical Beecraigs Festive Forest.

Take a stroll down the longest light tunnel in Scotland, immerse yourself stunning visuals and audio effects, and experience one of the UK’s most powerful laser shows.

Pop in and see Santa in his forest grotto (additional admission fee applies), then dance the night away with DJ, musicians, choirs and carols singers. Watch stilt walkers and jugglers, browse the market stalls, then have a whirl on the children’s amusements and fun fair rides. A storyboard (produced in conjunction with Scottish Autism) is available for download prior to visiting.

Beecraigs Festive Forest runs from 01 to 23 December 2023.

What’s on in Edinburgh

Looking for more events to brighten up your winter? Take a look at our Events page.


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