Christmas festivities in Edinburgh are held in St Andrew Square, East Princes Street Gardens, Festival Square, and West George Street. For a month and a half, one of the most beautiful cities in the United Kingdom transforms into a winter wonderland and hosts events and attractions for people of all ages. The program of the celebration features paid and free shows, carousels and roller coasters, balloon rides, ice skating, reindeer rides, Santa Train, Santa’s Grotto, an ice wall for adventurous climbers, the Big Wheel, the 60-metre Star Flyer, Christmas Tree Maze, and more.
One of the most exciting free events that take place during Edinburgh’s Christmas is called 24 Doors of Advent. It is held from December 1–2, allowing locals and tourists to peep behind usually closed doors throughout the city of Edinburgh. Every day, a new door opens for attendees to explore what’s behind it. Venues that participate in the event include the Chapel of St Albert the Great, Royal Lyceum Theater, BT Murrayfield Stadium, and more.
The Edinburgh Christmas market is held under the Mound (an artificial hill in the center of Edinburgh), along Princes Street Gardens. It is divided into three themed markets. The European Market is held in the Mound Precinct, the Scottish Market takes place in St Andrew Square, and the Children’s Market is part of Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens.
At Edinburgh’s European Christmas Market you can buy unique Christmas gifts and goods such as beautiful Christmas tree decorations, handmade Christmas gifts, scented candles, toys, etc. It provides a unique shopping experience. The Scottish Market offers traditional crafts made by local craftsmen. Here you can also taste delicious food and drinks including Scottish and German traditional cuisine, local sausages, fresh seafood, unique chocolate, and more. Drinks offered at the market include craft beer, gin, mulled wine, and famous Scotch whisky (note that Scotch whisky is spelled without the letter “e”, while Irish whiskey is spelled with the letter “e”).
The Children’s Market offers an impressive selection of toys and other presents for the wee ones. This market is part of Santa Land which also features a Christmas Tree Maze, Santa’s Grotto, the Santa Train, and family-friendly rides Carousel, Race-a-Rama, Helter Skelter, Reindeer Ride, Ice Wall, a Roller Coaster, and Crazy Cars. Here kids can meet Santa, participate in contests and special activities, and have a really good time.