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.
The Edinburgh Winter Festivals usually take place from November - January.
Previous years have featured festive favourites, including the Edinburgh Christmas Markets, Forth 1 Big Wheel, Lidl on Ice, the Christmas Tree Maze, toe-tapping concerts, merry carolling and much more for the whole family to enjoy.
Watch Edinburgh Castle transform into a winter spectacle with the Castle of Light. The event is a great way for the whole family to get into the Christmas spirit with enchanting installations, twinkling lights and colourful displays galore.
This festive season THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride Edinburgh arrives in Waverley Station. This immersive theatrical event is based on the popular 2004 film of the same name and conjures up the magical experience of travelling aboard this legendary train ride.
For our food and drink lovers, enjoy a festive meal at Ondine or enjoy a restaurant experience in the comfort of your very own home with Ondine at Home for Christmas. On Christmas Day, enjoy seafood delights including classic house smoked salmon, dressed lobster, langoustines and much more. Pick-up services are only available at the restaurant with last orders placed by 21 December 2023. To avoid disappointment order now by contacting email@example.com.
Welcome in the New Year with Edinburgh's Hogmanay, jam-packed with celebrations, parties, live music, traditions and much more to get involved in.
The festive season kickstarts in Glasgow from 19 November with the annual Christmas Lights Switch On at George Square.
Get ready for a month full of jam-packed fun before the countdown to Christmas starts. Glasgow Royal Concert Hall will take centre-stage with a musical extravaganza. Sway to the music of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra at The Rat Pack at Christmas, get ready to become dancing kings and queens at the ABBAMANIA Christmas Party or watch the star-studded Christmas favourite Love Actually with a full orchestra performing the soundtrack live to screen. Stock up on festive goodies or treat your loved ones to a special Christmas gift while you shop at Ashton Lane or the Christmas Fayre at House for an Art Lover. If you’re looking for lots of thrills, enjoy a day at the Irn-Bru Carnival, Europe’s largest indoor fun fair.
Watch George Square and St Enoch Square transform into a winter wonderland at this year’s Glasgow Winterfest. Browse the Christmas stalls for some festive goodies, dance the night away at the silent disco, enjoy seasonal drinks at the festive bars and much more. The kids will also be in their element with great funfair rides including the big wheel, helter-skelter and carousel.
Is it Panto time? Oh, yes it is! Glasgow is full to the brim with pantomime performances in December and January, most of which are most based on well-known children’s stories. Head to the Kings Theatre for Elf the Musical and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Tron Theatre for Aganeza Scrooge or enjoy a ballet performance of Cinders! at the Theatre Royal.
Check out other pantomime, theatre and musical performances:Pavilion Theatre
Treasure Island – 30 November 2023 - 14 January 2024
Musical Storytime – Christmas Crackers – 6 December 2023
Tortoise in a Nutshell – Ginger – 6 - 16 December 2023
Peter Pan – 29-30 December 2023
December 1 - 24, 2023
Transport yourself to a magical winter wonderland at Dundee's WinterFest @ Slessor Gardens. Let your hair down and have fun at the vintage funfair where you'll be able to enjoy views over the city's skyline on the Big Wheel. If that's not enough, head to the Bavarian bar for some festive drinks or get your skates on and make the most of the open-air WinterFest ice-rink.
Join in the festive fun at Perth's Christmas with events, markets and more to help add some much needed sparkle.
Get involved in the many gatherings and festivities this Christmas in Inverness, with events starting as early as November.
Enjoy Stirling's Christmas with markets, Christmas theatre shows, family-friendly events, Santa's Grotto and much more. Make sure you stay in the city to enjoy the festivities around Hogmanay too!
Stirling Castle is the place to be this Christmas! Experience the magic of Stirling Castle's Great Hall this festive season with a Christmas Afternoon Tea (certain dates only from 2 - 23 December). The hall also hosts the popular Christmas Shopping Fayre on 5 December. As if that wasn't enough, they're also running a festive wreath-making class on 10 December and an epic production of A Christmas Carol from 15-18 December!
The popular Aberdeen Christmas Village features an exciting line up of events and festivities; get into the festive spirit at Aberdeen Art Gallery at festive song pop-ups choir performances; visit Santa at Grampian Transport Museum; and bring in the New Year at the Beach Ballroom.
Scotland's newest city will be hosting its own variety of events this Christmas season that you and the wee ones will love.
MORE EVENTS ACROSS SCOTLAND
Head to Oban for a series of winter activities, films and light shows to celebrate the festive season at Oban Winter Festival.
Join in the celebrations at the Helensburgh Winter Festival, with street food, artisan stalls, a Santa Dash, a festival stage and more.
Celebrate the festive season at the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride with family-friendly crafts and live music. Good news, if you’re an Annual Pass holder, you’ll also be given free entry!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Scone Palace. Enjoy candlelit tours and see the staterooms beautifully decorated for Christmas, listen to your favourite Christmas carols from the Fair City Singers or get hands-on at the Walled Garden Winter Workshop led by Head Gardener, Brian Cunningham.
Visit The Japanese Garden at Cowden and tuck into a delicious 3-course meal in their cosy Tearoom and purchase lots of festive goodies at the Christmas Fayre. The little ones will also be given the opportunity to meet the jolly man in red with a special gift to take home too.
Bowhouse in Anstruther are back for another fun-filled Christmas market weekend. You’ll find an array of Scottish food and drink traders, meet the friendly Bowbridge Alpacas and the kids will be entertained with lots of festive activities, from wreath-making sessions to gingerbread decorating!
Another festive market day to add to your list is Solsgirth Home Farm in Dollar. You’ll be able to buy food and drink, arts and crafts, hand-made products and tasty street food, from the local area, the Hillfoots, Fife, and across Scotland. The kids will also get to tell Santa what’s on their Christmas wish list.
At Loch Leven’s Larder enjoy late night shopping, enjoy wreath making or don your Christmas jumper at the popular bingo night.
Glamis Castle have a whole host of festive events including its popular Christmas market, shopping experiences and festive lunches held within the State Dining Room.
Take a family trip to Beecraigs Festive Forest near Linlithgow. Walk along the woodland illuminated trail packed with stunning visuals and audio sound effects. Make sure to stop by Santa's Grotto and get your photo taken with the big man himself!
Magical Winter Nights returns to Brechin Castle Garden Centre in Angus for a dazzling winter extravaganza with brand-new lights, special effects and interactive light installations. During the cold winter nights, make sure to keep warm with a hot beverage and enjoy toasted marshmallows by the firepit.
Starry Nights at Dean Castle in Kilmarnock is the ultimate festive feast for the senses. From Santa’s Grotto to Scotland’s largest star-shaped tunnel, dazzling light installations and Christmas soundscapes across the park, this exciting event offers outdoor festive fun for all the family.