Festive Edinburgh

Assembly Hall Christmas Tree View Up The Mound

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.

Discover your own festive fairy tale this Christmas with Edinburgh’s magical winter programme!


Edinburgh's Winter Festival

Edinburghs Christmas Market Credit Matt Beech

(Image Credit: Matt Beech)

The festive season officially begins with the opening of the Edinburgh Winter Festival on 25 November.

Edinburgh’s first Christmas market took place in 1999 as the German Market, selling German sausages, waffles and pretzels. Since then it has grown to become of the UK’s most popular Christmas markets. With a wide of delicious food stalls, craft and gift stalls, as well as rides & attractions, Santa Land and an ice skating rink it’s offers something for all the family.

Discover more about Edinburgh’s Christmas & Hogmanay Celebrations > 


Curl up in one of Edinburgh’s cosy bars

Cosy Bar With Couples And Fire Laughing

The nights may be getting longer, but that just makes the perfect excuse to curl up in one of Edinburgh's warm and welcoming bars.

Read on to discover our guide to the Cosiest Bars in Edinburgh >


Find your new festive family tradition

Royal Botanics Christmas Lights

Whether it’s a sparkling light trail, a visit to Santa or a browse round Edinburgh’s Christmas markets, what better way to celebrate with family and friends than by checking out all the must-do things in the capital this Christmas.

Find fun for all the family in our guide to Festive Family Fun in Edinburgh


Visit a jolly man dressed in red

Santa At Edinburgh Zoo

Santa Claus is coming to town!

This may be his busiest time of the year, but Santa has still managed to squeeze in some time to fly round Edinburgh & the Lothians and set up his grottos all across the land.

Find out more in our guide to Santa’s Edinburgh Grotto Trail > 


Have a night at the theatre

Nutcracker At The Brunton

This festive season there’s an array of exciting performances taking place at Edinburgh’s world-renowned theatres.

From the traditional panto and the majestic beauty of ballet to modern interpretations of Christmas classics and live feel-good music, book your tickets now for a festive night of entertainment.

Read more in our guide to The Best Shows in Edinburgh this Christmas >


Enjoy a Festive Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh

Xmas Afternoon Tea Copyright Historic Environment Scotland(Image Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland)

What could be better than afternoon tea? How about festive afternoon tea!

Sip and munch your way through this traditional pastime with a festive twist at a range of Edinburgh bars, restaurants and hotels this Christmas.

Discover our top recommendations in our guide to Festive Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh


Shop at the Christmas markets

Hoptoun House Christmas Shopping Fair

There's nothing more festive than a Christmas Market, and Edinburgh has plenty to choose from.

Make a day of it as you browse between stalls selling crafts, gifts, homewares and clothing. Then warm up with a mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate, accompanied by some delicious festive fare.  

Find out more about in our Guide to Edinburgh's Christmas Markets >


Celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Hogmanay

There's nothing quite like New Year - or Hogmanay as it’s known in Scotland - and Edinburgh does it better than most with a 3-day celebratory festival.

Take a look at our suggestions to welcome in 2023 in our Guide to Celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh >