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Edinburgh's Christmas Market, Princes St Gardens


Winter Festivals in Edinburgh

Although the usual festivities are on hold for this year, there really is no excuse to bring some festive cheer into the comfort of your own living room. Edinburgh's Christmas and Edinburgh's Hogmanay have come up with an exciting array of virtual events to get everyone in the mood for the holiday season. From Zoom calls with Santa to browsing gift ideas at the Christmas Neighbourhood market, there is lots to keep you occupied while at home.

Edinburgh's virtual winter events

Santa's Advent Stories 1 - 24 December 2020

The countdown to Christmas is well and truly on! Make sure your kids are sitting comfortably as they get ready to listen to a festive bedtime story from the man himself.

This Christmas, Santa Claus and his team of elves are calling on a few extra little helpers from within Edinburgh and the Lothians to send in a story filled with festivity, hope and fun. If you consider yourself to be a budding writer, make sure to enter by Sunday 22 November 2020 on the Edinburgh Christmas website. You never know, your story might be the winning entry and read out at Santa's grotto in the North Pole.

Santa At Home 

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 6 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?

Neighbourhood Market

If you're looking for the perfect gift to give to family or friends this Christmas, make sure to visit the online Neighbourhood Market. 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.


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.

What to look forward to in 2021

A trip to the Capital might not be on the cards this year but it will be ready to welcome you back when the time is right. Tumble into a magical winter wonderland in the centre of a fairytale city. Edinburgh's Winter Festivals bring Edinburgh's Christmas and Edinburgh's Hogmanay together in a magical explosion of twinkling lights, enchanting sounds, mouth-watering flavours and lots of fun and laughter. 

Running from November to January, Edinburgh's Christmas offers no shortage of things to see and do this 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.

Younger kids will love Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens, a festive fairground with six fun rides and a children's market full of gifts and toys. Try to find the Elves' Workshop hidden in the Christmas Tree Maze, or visit Santa's Grotto to meet the man himself!

St Andrew Square will be hosting an oval ice rink, looping around the Melville Monument - hire a pair of skates and spin across the ice behind a gorgeous backdrop of the glittering city.

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

Calton Hill son et lumiere show 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 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.