Edinburgh's winter festivals

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  • Shoppers peruse the Christmas market stalls in Edinburgh
    The Christmas market in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
  • Looking on on a busy street packed with flaming torches making a river of light
    Princes Street at the start of the Hogmanay festivities (image courtesy of Unique Events)

Famous the world over for its hilltop castle, cultural festivals and Hogmanay street party, Edinburgh provides a magical backdrop for Christmas shopping, nights out and exceptional winter events.


The festive fun begins at Light Night on 23 November 2014 when a dramatic extravaganza will be performed on George Street. The city lights will then be turned on by a special guest, and the event culminates with live music and a spectacular firework display.

The winter events programme continues from 21 November to 4 January 2015 and includes parties and shows for all ages – the full programme is due to be announced later in the autumn, so check back soon for more details. 

Of course, no winter in Edinburgh is complete without Hogmanay on 31 December! This year’s programme includes the famous street party, a ceilidh, a concert in Princes Street Gardens, a spectacular fireworks display and more – book now to begin planning your unforgettable New Year in Scotland.  


Edinburgh is brimming with festive performances to enjoy, including including pantomimes such as Aladdin at The King’s Theatre from 29 November to 18 January and the Scottish Ballet’s Nutcracker at The Festival Theatre from 13 December to 3 January.

Children will love the fantastic adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG at The Royal Lyceum Theatre from 28 November to 3 January, or Julia Donaldson’s The Stick Man in the Spiegeltent in St Andrew’s Square from 22 November to 4 January.


Whether you’re looking for a gadget in a department store, a designer outfit from a West End boutique, or unique presents from a festive market, you’ll find that Edinburgh is a great place for shopping. You can really take time to search for the perfect gift thanks to extended festive opening hours.

Why not make a day of it, or even enjoy a city break in the capital? At Ocean Terminal in Leith you can combine Christmas shopping with a trip around one of the city’s top attractions – The Royal Yacht Britannia.

Things to do

There’s no shortage of things to do in Edinburgh in winter. Browse the Christmas markets on Princes Street and St Andrew’s Square or enjoy the Ice Rink, Big Wheel and other attractions on offer as part of Edinburgh’s Christmas, running from 21 November to 4 January.

Celebrate St Andrew’s Day at a traditional Scottish ceilidh on 30 November, or follow the Torchlight Procession through Edinburgh’s Old Town on 30 December. More activities and attractions are due to be announced later in the autumn, so check back soon for full details.