Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice. You can now search our website to see what businesses are open and signed up to the Good to Go scheme. Find more advice on exploring Scotland during Covid-19 on our dedicated page.

Events

Christmas & Winter Events in Scotland

Winter is the most wonderful time of year, even when you're stuck indoors. The outdoor ice rinks, the Christmas markets and the aroma of mulled wine might be on hold this year but businesses across the country have been working hard behind the scenes to bring you a glittering array of virtual events.

In 2021, Scotland will be ready to welcome you back with great events, unique entertainment, shopping experiences 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.

Christmas & Winter Events across Scotland's Cities

When it comes to Christmas & winter events, Scotland's cities know how to stand out from the crowd. Although many of the festivities will be moving to online this year, here is just a flavour of what events to look forward to and what the cities have in store for 2021.

Edinburgh

Santa's Advent Stories, 1 - 24 December 2020 - Are you sitting comfortably? Kids will be able to enjoy a festive bedtime story from the man himself.

Santa At Home, 23 November - 24 December - Children might not be able to meet Santa in person this year but that doesn't stop him from getting to meet with them virtually. Santa and his elves have been working hard behind the scenes to bring Santa At Home, offering a digital Zoom call with up to six children on each session, live from the North Pole. Get ready for your kids to ask Santa what is on their wishlist including the most important question of them all, whether they are on the naughty or nice list? Use code HOHOHO20 for a 20% discount on bookings.

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 champagne for Christmas and New Year toasts, 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.

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. With coordinated opening times and restricted numbers, 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.

What to look forward to in 2021

Edinburgh's Christmas - Running from November to January, 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 whether it's the enchanting torchlight procession, the famous Hogmanay street party and spectacular firework display or a toe-tapping ceilidh and concert in Princes Street Gardens.

Celebrations might be different this year but that doesn't mean we can't have a good time! For the first time ever, Edinburgh's Hogmanay are bringing the party online from the 28 December 2020 - 1 January 2021 with a whole host of virtual events to look forward to.

Over three nights, a series of free, online shows will be hosted on edinburghshogmanay.com with fans from all over the world able to enjoy a visually spectacular event!  Narrated by an incredible group of Scottish talent, the line-up included actors David Tennant, Lorne MacFayden and Siobhan Redmond; Scots Makar Jackie Kay and Celtic fusion band Niteworks.

When the clock strikes midnight, gather your friends and family virtually to raise a toast to a much brighter 2021 where we hope to celebrate in style again.

Aberdeen

HAAN Design Pop up @ the Art Gallery, 5-7 December 2020 - 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, 30 November 2020 - 6 January 2021 - Head to St Nicholas Kirkyard for an important reminder of what Christmas is all about and get the chance to see the new arrival.

Festive Trail - Aberdeen's City Centre will come to life with a brand-new festive makeover for 2020, complete with Christmas trees and fairy lights to help showcase the NUART work to its best effect.

What to look forward to in 2021

  • See brightly coloured lights shoot and crackle across an inky black sky, all to a sweeping musical score, at Aberdeen's Fireworks Night.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Follow a parade of bands, festive characters and floats down Union Street and cheer as one by one the lights are turned on at the Christmas Lights Switch On Parade.
  • Help welcome Father Christmas to Aberdeen at the city's eagerly anticipated Santa and Reindeer Parade.
  • 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.
  • Get into the festive spirit with a pantomime at the Aberdeen Arts Centre or His Majesty's Theatre.
  • Enjoy some spellbinding musical performances at the Music Hall.
  • Join the city in celebrating the beginning of the new year with a spectacular fireworks display fired from the rooftop of His Majesty's Theatre. Dance the night away at the Hogmanay Ceilidh held in the Beach Ballroom or enjoy a superb blend of traditional Scottish music and song at the Aberdeen Music Hall's ever popular Hogmanay Concert.

Glasgow

What to look forward to in 2021

Glasgow Christmas Markets - Get ready to welcome back Glasgow's Christmas Markets in 2021, with two traditional markets at St Enoch Square and George Street.

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.

Hogmanay - Get ready to party well into 2022 at some of Glasgow's hotspots for a Hogmanay party and ceilidh like no other!

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:

What to look forward to in 2021

Christmas

  • Inverness' winter festivities begin with the Christmas Lights Switch On, usually held late November. Watch the city light up.
  • 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.
  • Panto? Oh yes you can! Catch a traditional performance of rib-tickling family entertainment or Christmas show at Eden Court Theatre, or attend one of the carol singing services held at various venues across Inverness - there might just be mulled wine and mince pies on the go, too!

Hogmanay

  • A RED HOT NIGHT TO REMEMBER - 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.

Perth

Oh Yes We are! A Quest For Long Lost Light and Laughter, broadcast live from Perth Theatre, 11 - 24 December 2020 - Even as restrictions continue, there's no stopping Perth Theatre bringing some festive joy into the comfort of your own home. Get your annual Panto fix with the theatre's first live interactive online panto via Zoom. Get ready to boo the baddies, cheer the hero and take part in the big sing-along.

What to look forward to in 2021

Perth Festival of Chocolate - You're in for a sweet treat when you attend the Perth Festival of Chocolate. Get ready to stock up on goodies from artisan chocolatiers and get chocolate gift ideas. See tasty chocolates being created at cooking demos by skilled chefs and chocolate chefs and for the wee ones there's lots of cocoa-themed fun to be had at the kids' tent.

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.

Christmas Light Switch On - Nothing gets you feeling festive like seeing Christmas illuminations! See the city shine during the Christmas Light Switch On, which takes place in late November.

Santa Run - Ho-ho-go! Take part in the Santa Run. Take part in the 2k race through the streets of Perth plus it's free to sign up. You'll deserve a mince pie after that!