Edinburghs Christmas Hogmanay

Make sure your Christmas is a real cracker – celebrate it in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh truly sparkles during the festive season.

Each year from late November until early January, the city centre comes alive with a wide variety of family-friendly activities and events.

This year’s exciting programme runs from 25 November 2022 to 01 January 2023.

Whether it’s a traditional pantomime, an after-dark light trail with warming hot chocolate, or a trip to a Christmas market, there’s plenty going on to ensure the whole family have a merry little Christmas – read on to discover more!

Edinburgh’s Christmas

Experience all the fun of the fair at Edinburgh’s Winter Festival.

Practise your moves on the ice at the popular ice rink on George Street or take in breathtaking festive views of the city from the spectacular heights of the Big Wheel – an unmistakable landmark during Christmas in Edinburgh, it’s a fantastic way to take in the panoramas of the city’s UNESCO Heritage Old and New Towns and admire Edinburgh in all its sparkling glory.

Nestled in the heart of the city, the traditional Christmas Market in Princes Street Gardens has a range of European and Scottish food & drinks, unique crafts, clothing and gifts for the home and is a lovely place to browse for some special Christmas gifts.

Be dazzled by the festive illuminations on George Street, stop by St Andrews Square for the charity installation Festival of Kindness, then round off the evening one of several free family-friendly festive events which are taking place at the Ross Bandstand.

And, of course, Santa Claus will be taking up residence once again in West Princes Street Gardens at an all-new Santa Experience, where he will be creating unforgettable festive memories for children. And not forgetting man’s best friend, this year’s programme also includes some special sessions where dogs can meet Santa and get their own special treat!

Be sure not to miss taking a picture of the majestic Christmas tree on the Mound, which each year is donated by Norway’s Hordaland County Council.

For all the latest info and to book tickets visit the Edinburgh Winter Festival website >

Festive Light Trails

Experience stunning visuals, larger-than-life illuminations, trees drenched in jewel-like colour and sparkling tunnels of at one of the many festive light trails that are taking place throughout the city.

The perfect way to lighten up the dark winter nights, book your tickets now for Castle of Light, Christmas at the Botanics and Dalkeith Country Park’s Spectacle of Light for a truly magical family-friendly experience.

Christmas Fares & Markets

Nothing beats a wander through a Christmas Fare or Market to get you in the Christmassy mood!

As well as the traditional Christmas Market on Princes Street, you can stock up on unique gifts at a variety of festive markets and fairs, including Hopetoun House Christmas Fair, Castle Street Christmas Market, Summerhall Christmas Market, Assembly Rooms Christmas Fair and Jupiter Artland Christmas Fair.

Of course, there are some great markets all year round that are perfect for picking up that ideal Christmas gift. Stockbridge, Leith and Grassmarket are all local favourites, showcasing the best in local produce, crafts and gifts. While for even more foodie treats, head down to Castle Terrace every Saturday from 9am to 2pm for the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, where the stallholders often grow or rear what they sell.

Have a Night at the Theatre
For many of us, a trip to see a live show over the Christmas period is a must.

From the traditional side-splitting pantomime and the beauty of ballet, to the top-tapping delight of live music, there’s a packed line-up of shows to choose from in Edinburgh at Christmastime.

Sign up to newsletters from city theatres such as The Festival Theatre, Usher Hall, Edinburgh Playhouse, The Royal Lyceum and The Queen’s Hall to be one of the first to hear about this year’s performances.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
(Image Credit: Roberto Ricciuti)

Nothing quite New Year – or Hogmanay as it’s known in Scotland – and Edinburgh does Hogmanay better than most with a multi-day festival to celebrate the changing of the year.

Generally regarded as the most important Scottish holiday, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival dates back to 1993 and has evolved to become one of the greatest outdoor celebrations of New Year’s Eve in the world.

This year’s events include a glittering Night Afore Concert on 30 December in Princes St Gardens, the world-famous Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party and Concert in the Gardens on 31 December – all against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

However you want to bring in the New Year there’s a celebration for you in Edinburgh. Discover more in our Guide to Celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh >

From dancing the night away at a traditional ceilidh, to first footing and redding the house, there are a number of customs associated with Hogmanay – discover how many of these you have done (or get in some practice before this year’s celebrations!) in our guide to Having a Traditional New Year in Edinburgh >