Perth winter festivals

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The A to Z of Winter in Scotland
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Download our A to Z of Winter in Scotland guide now for attractions, events, activities and more!

  • Looking up to a dark stage of performers who are back lit by sport lights. Above the stage there are bright orange fireworks.
    Christmas Lights switch-on event, Perth
  • Looking across the Tay to the 'Fair City' of Perth at night
    The 'Fair City' of Perth at night

A five-month programme packed with events in Scotland’s newest city promises to make this year’s Perth Winter Festival the biggest and best yet.

October’s Paranormal Festival began the season in spooky style, followed by a Halloween parade and fun family events taking place through the town on 31 October. Look out for history and horror tours of the city across the season. The excitement continued on 5 November with Bonfire Night firework celebrations in the city’s South Inch park.

Other highlights in November include the Royal Scottish Country Dance Festival and The Handmade Show, a special chance to get some unique gifts at Horsecross Plaza.

Santa parade and Christmas Light Switch On

On 22 November, the magic of Christmas begins with another outdoor event, the Lights Switch On Festival. Santa will arrive at St John's Shopping Centre to meet and greet children before taking part in the grand Santa parade in the late afternoon.

The city centre will be bursting with great things to do, including fun rides, watching street entertainers and fireworks. The Lord Provost will switch on the lights with the help of a rather special guest, who will is to be revealed nearer the time.
Then the live music and entertainment will continue into the evening as special acts (to be confirmed) take to the stage to perform. Look out for other fun things to see and do across the weekend, including ice sculpting and film-themed street displays to admire.

Chocolate festival

If that’s not enough, the Perth Festival of Chocolate will also be taking place from 22 - 23 November. Enjoy market stalls selling everything from mouth-watering cocoa treats to chocolate-scented candles, as well as workshops and demonstrations to enjoy.

Winter markets

There will be many more opportunities to purchase gifts, treat yourself and stock up on food in the run up to Christmas, including a Scottish themed St Andrews Day market on November 29, farmers markets on December 6 and December 20, and the Traditional Christmas Market held from 27 November - 22 December. If you are looking for Christmas gift inspiration, Perth’s excellent selection of independent shops and markets offers a fabulous shopping experience as does the St John’s Shopping Centre.

Hogmanay, Burns Night and Chinese New Year

Watch the flames at the traditional Comrie Flambeaux Hogmanay celebration on December 31 and start January with a free ceilidh on the streets in Pitlochry on the afternoon of 1 January. A traditional Viennese Gala concert will take place on 7 January, and then the celebrations of Scotland’s National Bard take place on and around  Burns Night on 25 January. On 24 January, there will be a traditional Burns Supper at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, including poetry, haggis and whisky.

February sees the end of the Perth’s Winter Festival with the Scottish Celebration of Chinese New Year in the city centre, including a parade and Chinese street market. There’ll be dragons and fireworks and most likely an appearance by the 2015 zodiac animal – the goat.