Edinburgh at Christmas time is truly magical. Each year Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay (i.e. New Year’s Eve) come up with an exciting array of events to get everyone in the mood for the holiday season.
Scotland’s capital is a fanastic place to visit at any time of year, but there’s something special about the city during the festive season.
Edinburgh Christmas Market
East Princes Street Gardens, Princes Street, Edinburgh
Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic city centre, with stunning views of Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument, and the city’s iconic skyline, East Princes Street Gardens hosts the free to enter traditional Christmas Market. Featuring around 70 stalls with some of the best local and international producers selling everything from handmade gifts, bespoke products, to tasty treats and delicious drinks. East Princes Street Gardens will also be home to the Big Wheel, Scotland’s largest ferris-wheel standing at 46m tall, offering a unique perspective of the city. The top of East Princes Street Gardens will also see the Forth 1 Big Wheel, Star Flyer, Helter Skelter and Techno Power.
Edinburgh Christmas Ice Rink
George Street West and Castle Street
George Street will be home to the spectacular Edinburgh’s Christmas Ice Rink, a vital part of any Christmas visit. This year’s rink will be even bigger than last year and will once again be undercover, allowing more visitors than ever to enjoy the majestic Georgian skyline of Edinburgh’s New Town from the ice. Once you’ve skated your way around the rink, warm up with a hot drink or treat from food stalls in the George Street warming zone. Why not hop on one of the traditional fairground rides, including a double carousel, or wander through the Artisan Christmas Market, or get those last minute Christmas gift from Edinburgh’s shopping scene. Local producers Local Motive will also bring their Christmas Market to Castle Street from Nov. 25 to Dec, 22.
The Meadows to City Centre
Celebrations are returning and will be in full swing this Hogmanay, including the 30th anniversary of the much-loved Torchlight Procession on Dec. 29, when 20,000 people carry torches to shine a light on homelessness. The annual sell-out event raises money for social projects in Edinburgh and across Scotland. A new start location at the Meadows provides a feast of live street theatre, fire performers, pipe bands and drummers to get celebrations hyped, before Vikings from Shetland’s “South Mainland Up Helly Aa’ Jarl Squad” lead the procession, creating a stunning river of fire weaving its way through the streets of the capital’s historic Old Town.
The Castle of Light
Edinburgh Castle, The Esplanade, Edinburgh
Taking place from late November to early January, The Castle of Light returns to Edinburgh Castle with an “immersive” walking tour using light projection and storytelling to delve into the history of Scotland’s most popular attraction. Delve into “Magic and Mystery” as a tapestry of all-new projections transforms Edinburgh Castle’s walls, buildings and ramparts with projected light and sound into a 60-minute historical walking tour. A team of local designers with long-time experience working with light and the moving image have created a show that draws on the history, geology, mythology and drama of the castle to “excite, entertain and enlighten”. Rex, the lion rampant, will be there to guide families and unravel the mysteries of the castle, including background to The Honors of Scotland (also known as the Crown Jewels).