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7 Christmas break ideas in Scotland’s seven cities

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Calton Hill, Edinburgh

In all of Scotland’s cities, the jingle of sleigh bells and the aroma of mulled wine wafting through the air is enough to put any Scrooge in the mood for Christmas. It might be cold outside, but Christmas city breaks in Scotland are simply magical. And here is why:


Edinburgh's Christmas markets © George Clerk

Edinburgh’s Christmas markets © George Clerk

From November to January, fall under the Yuletide spell at Edinburgh’s Christmas. Just imagine: fairy lights twinkling in the trees; bustling markets selling all kinds of festive goodies; and warm drinks and delicacies from across Europe. Enjoy panoramic views of the capital from the top of the Big Wheel, or brave a twirl on the 60-metre-high Star Flyer.

Bring in 2018… at the one and only Edinburgh’s Hogmanay! This year, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man will headline the concert in Princes Street Gardens – be quick, it’s one of the hottest tickets in town.


Glasgow at Christmas time

Over in Glasgow, the fun never stops at Glasgow Loves Christmas. This year’s festivities include the fabulous Style Mile Carnival (26 November), the epic 5K Santa Dash (10 December), and markets at St Enoch Square (9 November – 22 December) and George Square (25 November – 29 December).

Get into the festive spirit… at some of Glasgow’s lively pubs. Listen to fiddle tunes with live folk sessions beside the roaring fireplace in the Babbity Bowster or stay warm on a chilly winter’s night inside Stravaigin, which serves up some delicious Scottish food.


Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen

Up in Aberdeen, the granite buildings sparkle and song fills the north easterly air during Aberdeen’s Winter Festival with carol concerts and a special performance from Michael Ball and Alfie Boe (11 December) on the 2017 programme. Wrap up warm and head to the Christmas Village for some merriment.

Warm up… with a dram of single malt. Try one of the ‘Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire’ at one of the city centre’s whisky bars, such as Illicit Still or CASC (which stands for Cigars, Ale, Scotch, Coffee).


Christmas market at Slessor Gardens, by Dundee’s waterfront

Ah, Dundee – a cool, creative and cultural city which is always up for making Christmas memories with you! A city known for inventing marmalade, The Beano and Grand Theft Auto – see if you’ll have a bright idea this Christmas!

Stay indoors… with a visit to the fascinating gallery, The McManus, go stargazing at the Mills Observatory or enjoy a live show once darkness settles at the Rep Theatre.


Chocolates at the Legends of Grandtully, Perthshire

If there’s ever a time and a place to indulge, it’s Christmas time in Perth. Starting with the Christmas Lights Switch On on Saturday 18 November, winter festivities will crop up across the city, making winter a simply wonderful season to make a trip to the ‘Fair City’.

Stocking fillers… can be found at Perth’s Chocolate & Gin Street Festival on 18 – 19 November, which will feature a huge variety of producers, gin tastings and chocolate workshops. The Highland Chocolatier in Pitlochry is a must-visit stop for fans of the cocoa bean.


Inverness Cathedral © Colin Keldie

The Highland capital’s beautiful architecture looks particularly magnificent in the low winter light, and with plenty of festive frolics and fantastic shopping events this winter, you’ll be sure to find perfect pressies for everyone.

Tuck into a festive feast… at one of Inverness’ top restaurants. Try the innovative menus at the Mustard Seed or have a hearty roast dinner at the Dores Inn on Loch Ness.


Wallace Monument, Stirling

With a mighty castle overlooking cobbled streets, and the magnificent Wallace Monument looming in the distance, Stirling’s backdrop is a wonderful place to embrace the city’s biggest ever winter festival programme, with exciting Hogmanay celebrations and a street parade featuring Santa’s reindeer taking place this year.

Go on a winter wander… and admire age-old landmarks in the city centre, or venture into the surrounding countryside and take in the breathtaking views from the top of Dumyat Hill.

Find out more about Scotland’s Christmas & Winter Festivals or start making plans for unforgettable Christmas holidays or Hogmanay breaks in Scotland.



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