Edinburgh's Christmas - Market
© Matt Beech

Edinburgh’s Christmas

During the festive season Edinburgh becomes a sparkling winter wonderland. Whether you want to embrace all things traditional, or seek new ways of celebrating the holidays, there’s no shortage of things to do to keep all the family merry and bright.

Edinburgh’s Christmas runs from mid November until the beginning of January, with a wide variety of family-friendly festive activities and events taking place in the city centre. There are four main sites to explore – East and West Princes Street Gardens, George Street and St Andrew Square.

Keep up to date on this year’s festivities with Edinburgh’s Christmas.

Edinburgh Christmas Market, East Princes Street Gardens

With the soaring Scott Monument and the city’s majestic skyline as its backdrop, East Princes Street Gardens hosts the traditional Christmas Market.

Free to enter, shoppers can browse around 70 stalls featuring everything from clothing and jewellery to handmade gifts for the home. And when hunger calls, the tempting aromas from the various local and international food and drink stalls are sure to tempt you.

The market is also where Scotland’s largest ferris-wheel, the Big Wheel is found. Standing at 46m tall, it offers a unique view of the city. Thrill seekers can also enjoy an exciting selection of rides including a Helter Skelter and Starflyer.

Festive Family Funfair, West Princes Street Gardens

Home to the Festive Family Funfair, West Princes Street Gardens has rides and attractions, as well as a variety of festive food and drink stalls.

There’s plenty of opportunities for festive photos, with illuminations, including the Winter Windows Schools Art Project. Don’t miss a trip to the garden’s Ross Bandstand for a variety of community-focused and family-friendly events.

Ice Rink, George Street and Castle Street

The popular Ice Rink is found on George Street with an undercover rink, so you can enjoy the fun no matter the weather. Toddler skating sessions and relaxed sessions (with softer lighting and sound) are available on designated dates. Afterwards, warm up with a hot drink from the food stalls.

George Street also has traditional fairground rides and food and gift stalls, while the LocalMotive Castle Street Christmas Market is a great place to stock up on Christmas gifts.

Visit Santa, St Andrew Square

Santa and his elves can be found at Santa’s Stories on St Andrew Square – ready to treat all those on the nice list with a magical storytelling experience.

The Square also welcome Social Bite’s Festival of Kindness, featuring the Kindness Tree and Gift Donation point, dedicated to helping those most at need.

Discover more about Edinburgh’s festivals

Edinburgh has a jam-packed festival schedule all year around. Whether you love the arts or are mad about science, there’s a festival for you.