Edinburgh does Christmas beautifully and Christmas time is all about spending time with your loved ones. So what better way to do that, then getting out of the house and enjoying all the Christmas activities and things to do that Edinburgh has to offer?
There are so many things to do and despite the freezing wind and icy temperatures, you don’t want to miss out on them. You can see the Christmas markets, go to the country parks and so much more. You could always go and take the little to Santa when you’re out and enjoying everything that Edinburgh has to offer at Christmas. Have a look at my list of where to meet Santa in Edinburgh this year. There’s something for everyone there. Even breakfast at the Hardrock cafe for dads!
The kids will love all the sparkling and festivities this year and it’s truly a magical time for them. So I’ve rounded up the best options for the whole family to enjoy together in Edinburgh over Christmas. Unfortunately there isn’t an ice rink this year, but hopefully, it’ll return next year again.
Edinburgh Christmas Market
The Edinburgh Christmas Market is one of the best ones in the UK. There are lots of rides for the whole family, stalls to buy food and drinks. Don’t forget all of the German food and Scottish retailers that sell their merchandise. There is also a Santa land at the lower princess street gardens which is filled with rides for the little ones and market aimed at children.
- When: 16 November – 4 January
- Times: It opens mid-afternoon until 10 pm most nights
- Where: It’s located in the city centre, by Princess street
- Prices: It’s rather expensive, but something you should visit at least once with your family
Dalkeith Country Park
They have so much offer at Christmas, it’s great fun for the whole family. If you would like to know more about how they can meet Santa there, have a look at one of my last posts. Besides meeting Santa and seeing his grotto, they also have Christmas workshops for little ones and adults and of course the spectacle of lights. It is one of their highlights this year and one activity you don’t want to miss.
Explore the Fort at night whilst the whole park is illuminated by bright lights, enjoy mulled wine and hot food. There are pixie lanterns, illuminated parasols, giant mirror balls in trees and even a sky maze to enjoy.
- When: 7 – 8 December / 13 – 15 December / 17 – 23 December / 27 – 31 December / 2 – 5 January
- Where: Dalkeith Country Park
- Prices: £9.90 per child, £15.75 per adult, £44.55 per family ticket (2+2) (loyalty cardholder)
- Prices: £11.00 per child, £17.50 per adult, £49.50 per family ticket (2+2) (non-loyalty cardholder)
A Family Enchanted Christmas at Lauriston Castle
One for the history fans amongst us. See how the castle has been beautifully decorated and watch the Edwardian time come to life. There are crafts, an Edwardian magic lantern show, a trail outside the castle, storytelling and of course Santa tales.
- When: 1 December
- Where: Lauriston Castle
- Prices: £8 per person (includes Christmas Nibbles)
Christmas at the Botanics
This is one of the most popular events Edinburgh offers over the Christmas period. The Winter Light Trail at the Botanical Gardens is a really popular event every Christmas season. The kids will be mesmerized by all of the lights and decorations and there is even a scented fire garden. There is also the option to see and his elves. And of course, there is hot cider, mulled wine and hot chocolate for you to enjoy on your walk.
- When: 22 November – 29 December
- Where: Royal Botanic Gardens
- Prices: £11 per child (4-16 years) / £17 per adult / £52 per family ticket (2+2) / Children under the ages of 4 & carers go free
Children’s Classic Concert: Santa’s Workshop
This is a lovely little story to watch that’s mostly presented in songs, it’s great fun for the kids to watch. It’s about a person who landed his dream job at Santa’s Workshop. But not long into his job everything starts going wrong. Santa gets stuck in the chimneys, the toys come to and not to forget all the present wrapping that’s left to do.
The Concert features many songs from popular Christmas movies and sing-alongs. It’s packed with festive spirit and features dancers from the Manor School of Ballet.
- When: 8 December
- Where: Usher Hall
- Prices: Between £7.50 – £10.50 per child / Between £11.50 – £16.50 per adult / Between £35-45 per family ticket (2+2)
Christmas Tree Maze
We might not have big corn mazes in the UK, but Edinburgh has a great Christmas Tree Maze instead. Make your way with the kids through the maze to find Santa’s hidden workshop. If successful the elves might give you a little treat for finding them.
- When: 16 November – 4 January
- Where: Santa Land, East Princes Street Gardens
- Prices: From £4.50
A Christmas Fairy Trail
Last but not least a Christmas Fairy Trail. This isn’t directly in Edinburgh it’s about 30 minutes east of the city, at the Archerfield Walled Garden in North Berwick. Nevertheless, I really wanted to include this as it’s something different and magical.
There is a 1.5km enchanted trail and as you make your way around, you will see performances from the woodland creatures, magical light installations and you might even meet some of the creatures and fairies. Let’s not forget the fairy disco, light show, and firepits for some s’mores.
- When: 6 – 24 December
- Prices: £11 per child, £15 per adult, £48 per family ticket (2+2) / Under 2’s are free
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