10 ways to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Edinburgh


With its winter markets and extravagant Hogmanay events, what better way to celebrate the festive period than in the Scottish capital. When visiting Edinburgh here are just 10 ways to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

Edinburgh’s Christmas

Over a six-week period the city centre is transformed into the soul of Edinburgh’s Christmas. As well as one off shows and ongoing theatre productions, there’s an ice rink, fairground rides and a number of attractions. It is also of course, the place where you will find the real Father Christmas.

Scottish Market on George Street

There are markets all year round in Edinburgh, but when it comes to Christmas they take on a whole new meaning. Stock up on some locally sourced produce for that Xmas dinner, or you might find the perfect Christmas tree.

European Market in the Mound Precinct

Although you can visit a market any old weekend, during the festive period there’s nothing better than embracing mainland Europe’s take on it all. With the Germans being famous for hosting some of the biggest Christmas Markets in the world, expect it to get crowded when thing start to happen in Edinburgh.

Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens

Take the children along to Princes Stree Gardens, where they are transformed into a little Santa Land. Ride the Santa train, slide down the Helter Skelker, go around on the merry-go-round and of course, meet the great man himself.

The Torchlight Procession

Starting in the Old Town before ending with the fireworks upon Calton Hill, the Torchlight Procession has been a long-standing tradition. Featuring around 8,000 torchbearers, in excess of 30,000 spectators look on as they walk the streets.

New Town Ice Rink

Venture into the New Town and take to the ice, on this temporary open-air skating rink.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

The ultimate way to see in the New Year is at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. Expect three days of partying, pop-up bars and live entertainment, culminating in one of the biggest firework displays you’re ever likely to see.

Loony Dook

Join hundreds of eager swimmers as they delve into the cold Firth of Forth sea on New Year’s Day. If you’re not brave enough to take part, it’s still a fun event to watch.

St Giles Cathedral

If you’re wishing to celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas, then places of worship don’t come much more impressive than St Giles Cathedral. Check online for dates, times and if you need to book your place.

La Clique

First making its appearance as part of the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004, La Clique returns for another year with its Xmas special. The theatrical production features an array of circus, comedy, burlesque and cabaret acts.

Find somewhere to stay in Scotland this Christmas, check out our accommodation in Edinburgh. We have a wide range of private rentals at Eventful Stays, but remember to book early for this time of year.