Top Things to do in Edinburgh Over the Festive Season

Experience Christmas the Scottish way

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  • 17 December 2018
  • • 4 min read

Heading to the Scottish capital for the festive season this year? Well you’ve make a fantastic choice, because there’s nothing quite like Christmas in Edinburgh! Princes Street Gardens gets taken over by Edinburgh’s Christmas, with a huge fun fair, Christmas market and ice rink popping up for people to get all their festive feels. And just when you thought Christmas was the biggest festivity in the city, New Year’s Eve comes around and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay makes the city go wild! If you happen to be around for New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, boy are you in for a treat!

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Scotland goes all out at Christmas, but it’s the Edinburgh Hogmanay that locals are really waiting for! This winter event takes place every year on New Year’s Eve, and lasts for three days, starting on 30th December and going right through to the evening of New Year’s Day. The event begins with a Torchlight Procession on the 30th, gathering hundreds of local Scots along with drummers and fanfair to walk through the city with fire-lit torches. Then the real party starts on New Year’s Eve, transforming the city into one giant street party, hosting multiple live bands, street performers, iconic fireworks over Edinburgh Castle and way more. There’s a reason Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is world-famous, making the city one of the best places in the world to be for New Year’s Eve.


Edinburgh’s Christmas ties in all the festive happenings going on in the Scottish capital. A huge funfair, ice rink, Christmas Market, theatre shows, concerts, a silent disco and way more is all on offer in Edinburgh for Christmas 2018. Check out the 24 Doors of Advent, a free event that allows the public to discover what’s behind some of the city’s doors that are usually kept firmly closed. The unique buildings are definitely worth following, have a look at the website to find out what door will be opened on which day before the 25th.


As part of Edinburgh’s Christmas, the oval ice rink on St Andrew Square is one festive activity you don’t want to miss. Glide around the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge from just £5 before popping into the Scandinavian style ski chalet in the middle of the rink for a hot Rekorderlig cider.


The Christmas Market on East Princes Street Gardens is the biggest festive market in Edinburgh for 2018. The European festive markets has been coming to Edinburgh every Christmas for the past 20 years, selling unique gifts, bespoke pieces and handmade crafts. Follow your nose to the smell of delicious festive foods from around Europe and indulge in a hot cup of mulled wine whilst going from stall to stall. The market will be staying open up until 5th January 2019.


Fancy doing something a little fancy in Edinburgh for Christmas? The Dome is a stunning bar right by St Andrew Square, with Christmas making it look EVEN more special than it does on any other day of the year. An enormous (and we mean enormous) Christmas tree, adorned in thousands of baubles and lights, towers high right in the middle of the bar. Sit down with a cocktail or gin and tonic, even if it’s just for one, to get all your Christmas feels, check out the jaw-dropping tree and have a peek inside the Graeco-Roman style A-listed building. You will be in awe!


Tick haggis off your foodie bucket list at one of the best Scottish pubs in Edinburgh. A trip to the Scottish capital won’t be complete without sampling the local delicacy, and at Christmas the pubs will feel more warm and cosy than ever. The Arcade Bar, Haggis and Whisky House is a great place to stop and try a classic plate of haggis, neeps and tatties at an affordable price. Otherwise, The Halfway House is another of our favourites, serving the dish up at a bargain price of just £7.50! Wash it down with a local beer or a glass of Scottish whisky and you won’t even feel the cold when you step outside!

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