With just over a week until Christmas Day, the people of Edinburgh are switching on their out of office, ticking off the last of their gift lists, and looking for the best holiday events to bring out their festive cheer. Although a number of the capital’s Christmas activities have already been and gone, there’s still plenty of things to do in Edinburgh across December to ensure the run up to the big day leaves you bursting with excitement for Santa.
Here are our top things to do in Edinburgh for Christmas and New Year 2021 …
1. The Edinburgh Winter Windows (on display until 4th Jan)
Displayed across Edinburgh’s West Parliament Square, Leith’s Kirkgate Plaza, and Craigmillar Library (to name a few locations), this annual children’s design project is spreading cheer across the city via colourful stained-glass windows. 2021’s theme was ‘Connections and Kindness’, asking Edinburgh’s school children to consider the connections made (and kindness received/given) during the pandemic.
Learn more: www.edinburghschristmas.com/winter-windows
2. Edinburgh Castle of Light (runs until 9th Jan)
There’s still time to visit historic Edinburgh Castle for their unforgettable Castle of Light experience; an enchanting spectacle of colour and Scottish Storytelling set across the old walls of the building themselves.
Learn more: www.edinburghcastle.scot/castle-of-light-hidden-treasures
3. Edinburgh Magic Fest (runs until 30th Dec)
Following a 2-year pause, the Edinburgh Magic Festival is back to promote magic as an art form by wowing visitors with performances (and magic lessons!) across the city. Unearth the incredible magic that’s fooled some of the most brilliant and creative people who have ever lived in Kevin Quantum’s ‘The Trick That Fooled’ or attend a supernatural workshop with Magician Gary James. Learn more: magicfest.co.uk
4. Edinburgh Christmas Market (runs until 4th Jan)
This year, the Edinburgh Christmas Market has popped up across 2 locations in the city center: East Princes Street Gardens and the west end of fashionable George Street. Whilst the gardens market has kept to its traditional gifting, mulled wine, food, and fair-ride attractions, the new George Street addition boasts a winding ice-rink accompanied by mince pies and refreshment stalls.
Learn more: www.edinburghschristmas.com/christmas-market
5. Castle Street Fair (runs until 23rd Dec)
Complimented by its dramatic castle backdrop, the Castle Street Market is one of the city’s most established small fairs. Friendly gazebos selling foodie gifts, locally produce goodies, and festive treats add a merry touch to the city’s Christmas goings on.
Learn more: www.localmotivemarkets.co.uk/castle-street-fairs
6. King’s Panto: Sleeping Beauty (runs until 26th Jan)
Shake off the tiredness brought on by dark nights and head out with the family to catch a pantomime inspired by a sleepy tale of good versus evil.
Learn more: www.capitaltheatres.com/sleeping-beauty
7. Waverley Festival Village
Edinburgh’s newest festive arrival, perfect for those feeling apprehensive about indoor celebrations! The little village is a (walk-in only) rooftop bar on top of Waverly Train Station. The team are serving up spirits from local producers (such as Edinburgh Gin), craft beers, and tasty hot food by Pizza Geeks.
Learn more: www.festivalvillage.co.uk
8. The Best of Scottish Comedy, The Stand Comedy Club
Edinburgh most famous comedy station has invited the best comics on the contemporary Scottish circuit to entertain both visitors and locals alike across the Christmas and Hogmanay period. Each night has a different line up of 4 comics, accompanied by table service and an interval. Previous guests include Frankie Boyle and Kevin Bridges.
Learn more: www.thestand.co.uk
Looking for a luxury stay during your visit to Edinburgh? Conveniently located in a central West End location, The Bonham Hotel allows guests to experience Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations in a luxurious and relaxed setting.
And, if you’re heading to the city for a last-minute girl’s weekend, you might find our recent blog useful: How to Plan a Luxury Girls Weekend in Edinburgh