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.

From 17 November 2023 until 06 January 2024, Edinburgh’s Christmas will see a wide variety of family-friendly festive activities and events taking place in the city centre. There will be four main sites to explore – East and West Princes Street Gardens, George Street and St Andrew Square.

Edinburgh Christmas Market, East Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh Christmas Star Flyer - overlooking Edinburgh from seat on Fairground ride
© VisitScotland, Kenny Lam

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 will also be able to enjoy an exciting selection of rides including a Helter Skelter and Starflyer.

The Christmas Market is open daily (excluding 25 December) from 18 November 2023 to 06 January 2024.

Festive Family Funfair, West Princes Street Gardens

Two ladies enjoying festive food inside a festive cabin at Edinburgh Christmas Market
© VisitScotland, Kenny Lam

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

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

West Princes Street Gardens is open daily (excluding 25 December) from 18 November 2023 to 06 January 2024.

Ice Rink, George Street and Castle Street

St Andrews Square Ice Skating

The popular Ice Rink returns to 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 will also have traditional fairground rides and food and gift stalls, while the LocalMotive Castle Street Christmas Market (open 18 November to 24 December) is a great place to stock up on Christmas gifts.

George Street Christmas Market will be open from 18 November 2023 to 06 January 2024 (excluding Christmas Day)

Visit Santa, St Andrew Square

Santa and his elves will be setting up 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.

Santa’s Stories is available from 18 November to 24 December. St Andrew Square will be open from 18 November 2023 to 06 January 2024 (excluding Christmas Day).

Discover other things to do in Edinburgh this Christmas:

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.