Great Ideas for Christmas in Edinburgh


(CC BY-SA 2.0) by caitriana

Due to the worldwide fame of the Hogmanay celebrations, Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland are already a hugely popular destination for New Year’s Eve.

What you might not already know, however, is that Edinburgh is one of the best places in the UK to spend the Christmas season as well.

This is Edinburgh’s first Christmas after being named the top cultural and creative city of its size in Europe and, judging by the enormous success of the Light Night on November 23rd, it is unlikely to disappoint. Here are some ideas for things to do in Edinburgh over the holidays.

Catch A Performance

Unsurprisingly for the city that hosts a world-famous arts festival every summer, Edinburgh is almost always saturated with high-quality performances you can see, often for not too prohibitive prices. There’s lots of options for traditionalists, including the King’s Theatre pantomime production of Aladdin and the Cameo Picturehouse’s yearly showing of the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.

If you’re looking to push the envelope a little bit, however, you might want to wait until a few days after Christmas Day, when you can see Al Murray the Pub Landlord and his festive-themed show. He is a sure sell-out and joined every night by musical or variety act guests. Expect laughs and some audience participation and be sure not to sit too close to the front if you don’t want to get singled out!

Alternative Fun

The real star of the Christmas attractions in Edinburgh has to be its slightly unusual twists on traditional holiday activities. Notable is its life-size advent calendar, which takes place during the first 24 days of December, organised by Edinburgh’s official Christmas team and The Cockburn Association.

Instead of opening a tiny door to reveal a sweet, every day the city opens a different real door, giving the public temporary access to a normally locked building. Previous attractions this December have included the gorgeous Renaissance-style McEwan Hall and the picturesque Lauriston Castle.  

You can also have a great time at the Princes Street Gardens’ Christmas Tree Maze, which will be open into early January. While we don’t normally think of mazes as a festive activity, the Christmas period inspires festive twists on all kinds of activities, ranging from wintry mazes to festive-themed online slots UK such as Xmas Joker and Secrets of Xmas. This maze is a great option for anyone who can’t fit a tree in their home, although by the time you solve it you might have seen more than your fill of them for years.

Delicious Food and Drink

Nothing says Christmas like overindulgence! Edinburgh is known for its excellent and in a few cases Michelin-starred restaurants and the holidays is a better excuse than any to try one.

If you’re not looking to splash out for a whole meal, however, get a small taste of luxury at the Valvona & Crolla VinCaffe. This gorgeous spot is a respite for those overworked from Christmas shopping and offers a wide range of champagnes and prosecco, as well as a delicious menu of cakes and treats.

If you’re feeling creative, you could also make your own. Once a month during winter, an ice-cream parlour called Mary’s Milk Bar offers a “Sundae School”, teaching a handful of participants how to make chocolate truffles by hand over the course of two hours. A labour intensive but ultimately fulfilling way to spend an afternoon; at the end you’ll receive a certificate of your achievement and a box of your handiwork worth £20 to take home with you. Perfect for a thoughtful Christmas gift, although maybe one you might choose to give to yourself.


 (CC BY 2.0) by sethbaur


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