Christmas festivities across Scotland

Last updated: Thursday, 17 November 2022

Scotland is renowned across the world for its wonderful festive celebrations.

From traditional markets to fun-filled family events, no matter where you go, you’ll find something that will truly get you into the festive spirit.


Edinburgh's Winter Festival starts on Friday, 25 November and is sure to put everyone in the most festive of moods. The city will be adorned in beautiful Christmas lights and East Princes Street Gardens will play host to Edinburgh's Christmas once again. Alongside the markets there are rides and events with something for all ages. You'll find everything you need to know about Edinburgh's Christmas here .

Elsewhere in the city, we’ve found a couple of great events that are perfect for brightening up the dark evenings.

Edinburgh city centre at night at Christmas time

Christmas at the Botanics

Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens are magical all year round with their incredible displays, but when the winter nights draw in, the millions of twinkling lights and seasonal sounds will bring about all the warm and fuzzy feelings. The event runs on selected evenings from Thursday, 17 November until Friday, 30 December. Tickets must be purchased in advance via their website.

Getting there: Add PlusBus to your ticket for the easiest way to get from the city centre to the Botanics. Or if you fancy a walk, it takes approximately 30 minutes to walk from Waverley.


Aberdeen Christmas Village

The Granite City has lots of opportunities to get you into the festive spirit with plenty of events taking place in the run up to Christmas and New Year. All the festivities kick off on Thursday, 17 November with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree . Once again, Aberdeen’s twin town of Stavanger in Norway has kindly donated a magnificent 35-foot Christmas tree to stand proud on Castlegate. The switch on starts at 7pm. The Christmas Village also opens on this date, running until New Year’s Eve. You’ll find stalls selling local food and drink, arts and crafts, homeware and gifts here.

For more Christmas gift ideas, and to support a local charity, take a visit to Curated in the Quad . This market, housed within Marischal College Quadrangle, takes place every Friday to Sunday from 18 November to 18 December. Both the Christmas Village and Marischal College are a 10-minute walk from Aberdeen station.

A few days later, on Sunday, 20 November, the much-loved Christmas Lights Switch-on parade returns after a three-year absence. The parade starts at 5:30pm, travelling from Albyn Place to Castlegate.

Getting there: It takes less than ten minutes to walk to the Christmas Village from Aberdeen train station.

Aberdeen Christmas Village featuring an ice rink, helter skelter, Christmas tree and more attractions


Christmas at Eden Court

For the first time in three years, the Christmas markets are returning to Eden Court on selected dates in November and December. There will be a fantastic selection of Christmas gifts including food, arts, textiles and candles among many other things. The markets take place on 18, 19 and 20 November, and 2,3,4 December. Find out more about the markets here .

Getting there: Eden Court is a lovely 15-minute walk from Inverness train station through the town and along the banks of the River Ness.


Christmas Lights, Victorian Markets and Funfairs!

After a three year hiatus, Glasgow's Christmas lights are once again lighting up George Square from Sunday, 20 November. The actual light switch on event is ticketed with all tickets now allocated but everyone can enjoy the lights from Monday, 21 November.

Underneath the twinkling lights of George Square you'll find a magical Christmas funfair with a traditional Victorian carousel, helter skelter and 100ft observation wheel - perfect for admiring the views of a Christmassy Glasgow. The funfair runs from 1 December until 8 January. And if one funfair isn't enough, you'll find another one in St Enoch Square which opens earlier on Friday, 18 November and runs until Tuesday, 3 January.

Find out more about Christmas in Glasgow here

The Riverside Museum Christmas Fayre takes place on Saturday, 26 and Sunday, 27 November and features a unique setting for a Christmas market: a mock Victorian street where you can fulfill your Dickensian festive dreams. You'll find fair rides and food stalls there too. The museum is a 12 minute walk from Partick Station.

Glasgow city at night during festive period with fireworks in the sky

Irn Bru Carnival

If you love all the thrills of a funfair but don’t want to have to rely on the weather, then the Irn Bru Carnival is perfect. Taking place inside the SEC, it’s always guaranteed to be warm, dry and a whole lot of fun! It starts on Friday 23 December and runs until Sunday 15 January. There are autism-friendly sessions taking place on Friday 23 December between 3pm-5pm, and on Tuesday 9 January between 4pm and 9pm to ensure everyone can enjoy it.

Getting there: Trains run frequently from Glasgow Central Low Level to Exhibition Centre station, taking around four minutes. From there, it’s just a five-minute walk to the SEC via a covered walkway. Don’t forget, if you’re travelling with an Off-Peak ticket , you can take up to four kids with you for £1 return each with a Kids for a Quid ticket .


Christmas Shopping Fair

Make this year’s Christmas shopping an enjoyable experience with a lovely evening at Stirling Castle’s Shopping Fair on Tuesday, 6 December. Take your time to browse the stalls of local crafts, fine food and drinks, all accompanied by a brass band. A much more civilised affair than a rush around the shops on Christmas Eve!

Getting there: Stirling Castle is a fifteen-minute walk from the train station. As the event takes place in the evening, plan your journey using the ScotRail app to see if an Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak ticket is available for your route.

Santa's Little Astronaut

This joyous show aimed at children aged five and under takes place at the Macrobert Arts Centre from Tuesday, 6 December until Saturday, 31 December. Join Toni Tinsel as they try to save Christmas with the help of their friends. Find out more about the show and book your tickets here .


Christmas at The McManus

The McManus museum is holding a special festive afternoon on Saturday, 3 December between midday and 4pm. The whole family can take part in Victorian themed Christmas crafts, storytelling and carol singing. The perfect way to get you all in to the Christmas spirit. The McManus is a ten minute walk from Dundee station.

Exclusively Highlands Discovery Point Christmas Market

All of the goods at this market are lovingly handmade in Scotland. You'll find lots of delicious gourmet foods and a unique selection of jewellery, arts, ceramics, textiles and candles. The market takes place on Saturday, 26 and Sunday, 27 November between 10am and 3pm.

Dundee Christmas Market Winterfest

Once again, Dundee’s Slessor Gardens will be transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland for all the family to enjoy. Lace up your skates for a spin on the illuminated ice rink, enjoy a ride on the Santa Express or enjoy the stunning views over the Tay from the Big Wheel. And afterwards, enjoy a wander around the stalls before enjoying a warming drink at the Bavarian bar.

Getting there: Slessor Gardens is less than a five-minute walk from Dundee train station. Plus, we’ve got some exclusive discounts with hotels in Dundee if you fancy enjoying a festive weekend away.

Couple ice skating in Dundee at Christmas time with Big Wheel behind them


The festive season starts in Scotland’s newest city when the Christmas lights are switched on on Sunday, 20 November. Carol singers and pipe bands will provide the music. And if you fancy getting your heart rate up earlier in the day, you can join the Rotary Club of Dunfermline's Annual Santa Dash which starts outside M&S at 2pm.

On Saturday, 3 December, the Garvock Christmas Market , based at the Vine Conference Centre, will take place with lots of local and handmade gifts available. The venue is reachable by a short bus ride or 30 minute walk from Dunfermline Town Station.


Festive Fun Weekends

Santa drops by to take up residence in his grotto on Friday, 18 November before the festive season well and truly gets underway on Saturday, 19 November. Perth city centre will come alive with loads of fun-filled events taking place including the Christmas Parade which is always a favourite - this starts at 5:30pm from Thimblerow car park. New for 2022, Christmas markets will take place every weekend from 20 November until 4 December on King Edward Street and the High Street. And if you love a boogie, you won't want to miss the silent discos taking place at St Paul's. These take place every weekend from 20 November until 4 December. Tickets for the disco are free but do need to be prebooked.

Find out all about Christmas in Perth here.

Getting there: All of the events take place in Perth city centre, which is a ten-minute walk from the train station.

Get into the festive spirit
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Not had your fill of festivities yet? Well, no Christmas is complete without a trip to the theatre and a few shouts of ‘they're behind you’.

Check out what pantos are on this Christmas