The festive season really is the most wonderful time of year in Scotland – with Christmas markets, outdoor ice rinks and the aroma of mulled wine, our winter festivals have something for everyone. 

Scotland is ready to welcome you back with great events, unique entertainment, shopping experiences, Christmas craft fairs and festive cheer to warm up winter nights. From St Andrew's Day celebrations, a magical Christmas, a sparkling Hogmanay and Burns Night festivities, Scotland knows how to celebrate in style. 


If you’re looking for the best Christmas events and winter festival activities to enjoy in Scotland, look no further. When it comes to festive celebrations, Scottish cities know how to stand out from the crowd. Here is just a flavour of what events to look forward to and what the cities have in store.

Christmas Services and Events in Edinburgh 

Santa's Advent Stories - Are you sitting comfortably? Kids will be able to enjoy a festive bedtime story from the man himself.

Santa At Home - Thanks to the super fast broadband now installed in the North Pole, Santa can now meet children of all ages in a personalised Zoom sessions where they can ask that all-important question: are they on the naughty or nice list? Last year, lucky boys and girls were received a free recording of their session they can treasure forever. Stay tuned for further details...

Neighbourhood Markets - Give a helping hand to local businesses this year while you browse through a selection of artisan products from across the City. From delicious savoury and sweet treats to handcrafted gifts, you will never be short of gift ideas for family and friends.

Shopping - Whether you're looking for high-tech gadgets from leading department stores or a designer outfit from the boutiques in Multrees Walk, you'll find that Edinburgh's city centre is a great place for shopping. You can also take time to search for the perfect gift thanks to extended festive opening hours, with many stores opening until 8pm or later. Be sure to pay a visit to the new St James Quarter, the city's newest retail district where you can browse a superb array of high-street and designer labels, as well as the John Lewis department store.

Royal Mile Christmas - This year the Royal Mile's attractions and shops have come together and decked the halls with festive decoration to bring some much-needed Christmas cheer this winter. Enjoy a magical day out in Edinburgh as you rediscover hidden gems and well-loved attractions. Make sure you take your camera along with you to snap up some amazing photos of Edinburgh in winter and share them on social media using #MagicMileMoments. The traditionally busy Royal Mile offers a tranquil and magical experience this Christmas.  From history and heritage to whisky and walking tours, there's plenty for the whole family to enjoy.

Edinburgh's Christmas - Edinburgh's Christmas offers no shortage of things to see and do in winter. Enjoy panoramic views of the capital from the top of the Big Wheel, spin around on the charming carousel in East Princes Street gardens or brave a twirl on the 60-metre-high Star Flyer. The festive markets in the city centre are a popular highlight of Edinburgh's Christmas. Enjoy delicious food and drink and traditional crafts at the Scottish Market on George Street, pick up unique gifts and goods at the European Market in the Mound Precinct, or choose presents for the wee ones in the Children's Market, part of Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay - When it comes to Hogmanay, Edinburgh certainly knows how to put on a show. This year's festivities are back with a bang with tickets now on sale for the Torchlight Procession, the Scottish music programme at Greyfriars Kirk, and Party at the Bells, a fresh take on the world-famous Hogmanay Street Party. Designed for a reduced audience of 30,000 people, 7,500 tickets will be available at a discounted price for Party at the Bells for those with an EH postcode. The iconic Hogmanay fireworks display will also return at midnight against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. 

Find out more about Christmas and winter festivals in Edinburgh.

Winter Festival and Christmas Activities in Aberdeen

HAAN Design Pop up @ the Art Gallery - Support local and national artists this Christmas at the HAAN Design Pop at Aberdeen Art Gallery, showcasing high-quality arts and crafts gifts.

Nativity Scene at St Nicholas Kirkyard - Head to St Nicholas Kirkyard for an important reminder of what Christmas is all about and get the chance to see the new arrival.

Christmas Tree Switch On - Join the Lord Provost and a special guest at the Christmas Tree Switch On and see a beautiful spruce, gifted to the city by its twin town of Stavanger in Norway, sparkle with twinkling lights. In previous years, a parade of bands, festive characters and floats down Union Street has taken place.  

Aberdeen Christmas Village - Savour a magical winter wonderland at the Christmas Village, which includes an open-air ice rink with the beautiful backdrop of Marischal College, a selection of local craft stalls to pick up that special Christmas gift, attractions to keep all the family entertained and of course festive food and drink.

Christmas Carol Concert - Sing along to carols accompanied by music from the talented Bon Accord Silver Band at the Christmas Carol Concert held in the David Welch Winter Gardens.

Hogmanay Ceilidh - Dance the night away at the Hogmanay Ceilidh held in the Beach Ballroom  to the music of the Hipflask Ceilidh Band.

New Year Gala Concert - Celebrate the arrival of a new year with musical adventures from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at Aberdeen's Music Hall.

Find out more about Christmas and winter festivals in Aberdeen.

Glasgow Christmas Markets and Events

Glasgow Christmas Markets - Glasgow's beloved annual festive market returns to St Enoch Square. Browse the traditional festival chalets festooned with goods from traders around the globe and Scotland, as well as stalla serving piping-hot food and drink.

IRN-BRU Carnival Glasgow's IRN-BRU Carnival is Europe's largest indoor funfair! Escape the cold for a few hours and enjoy thrill rides, games, stalls where you can win prizes and tuck into delicious food. Please note that tickets must be booked online in advance.

Hogmanay - Get ready to party at some of Glasgow's hotspots for a Hogmanay party and ceilidh like no other!

Find out more about Hogmanay events happening in Glasgow and the 10 Best Hogmanay Nights Out in Glasgow from The List.

Winter and Christmas Events in Inverness

Shopping - Those perfect pressies for your loved ones aren't going to buy themselves! Inverness' city centre is ideal for stocking up for Christmas, and you'll find also find some incredible seasonal craft goodies on offer. Check out the list of shops to help kickstart your Christmas shopping:

Christmas Lights Switch On - Watch the city light up as Inverness welcomes the festive season.

Whin Park Winter Wonderlands - Take the family to Whin Park for some festive frolics at the Winter Wonderland in December. Meet Santa and his reindeers, walk amongst the beautifully lit trees and enjoy the thrills of the fairground rides.

Eden Court Panto - Panto? Oh yes you can! Catch a traditional performance Cinderella at Eden Court Theatre and enjoy the rib-tickling hilarity.

Red Hot Highland Fling - Inverness knows how to see in the New Year. At Hogmanay, the city hosts the popular, family-friendly Red Hot Highland Fling celebration in the Northern Meeting Park - Scotland's biggest free Hogmanay party! Dance your way to 'the bells' with lively Scottish music from brilliant performers.

Find out more about Christmas and winter festivals in Inverness.

Perth Winter Festival and Christmas Events

Winter Markets - Make sure your larder is stocked up for the winter with the finest produce from Perth's fields and browse the stalls at Perth's regular farmers' market and the Winter Festival Market.

Santa Santa 5K - Ho-ho-go! Take part in the Santa Run, a 5km fun run taking runners through the streets of Perth City Centre, crossing the River Tay and finishing on the North Inch. It's free to sign up and you might receive a mince pie after crossing the finishing line!

Find out more about Christmas and winter festivals in Perth.

Dundee's Christmas Events

Christmas in Dundee - It’s time to celebrate the festive season in Dundee, as the city launches an exciting timetable of festive celebrations which the whole family can enjoy. Running all the way through to early January, head to City Square for the ultimate Christmas selfie, then follow the brand-new illuminations down to Slessor Gardens where you’ll find a big wheel, ice skating rink and Christmas markets filled with local vendors to explore.

Find out more about Christmas in Dundee.