Festive Events & Christmas Celebrations in Edinburgh 2017

Whether you are a confirmed Christmas lover or closer to Ebenezer Scrooge, winter nights in Edinburgh can be wonderfully atmospheric. From the twinkling lights over the Old Town, to the sights, sounds and flavours of countless festive market stalls, the city is a magical place on a frosty evening. Here are just some of the best events, experiences and places to visit and shop in Edinburgh as we look forward to Christmas 2017.

2017 Edinburgh Christmas Markets (18th Nov - 6th Jan 2018)

Bright lights and a bounty of Scottish and Continental gifts at the annual market (Image: Edinburgh Christmas Markets Facebook Page). 

Bringing a wide array of goods and seasonal cheer to the city, Edinburgh's festive markets make for a wonderful day or evening out, not to mention a fine way to wrap up your Christmas shopping. Handmade gifts are especially prevalent, whether you find beautiful lanterns and decorations, or a range of winter wear and traditional crafts. The food and drink are reason alone for a browse, and with a special German Market present each year, a cup of warming Gluhwein is also a must.

Visitors can find all the festive traders at two main locations this year (George Street, until the 24th December, and East Princes Street Gardens until 6th January).

Ice Adventure: A Journey Through Frozen Scotland (17th Nov - 24th Dec 2017)

Cool creativity on George Street (Image: This is Edinburgh Facebook page).

Featuring a stack of talented sculptors, this event brings a wide selection of snow and ice sculptures to George Street. You can see the artists live at work creating a special gallery of characters and creatures, including icons from Scottish history and folklore, immaculately cast in the cold stuff. Temperatures are specially kept at -10C to keep all the artworks from melting over the festive period. There are sure to be plenty of surprises and photo opportunities in store, right up until Christmas Eve.

2017 Christmas carol services, choirs & concerts in Edinburgh

For anyone who enjoys a taste of Christmas past, few things capture the essence of the festive season in Scotland better than live music. If you are visiting Edinburgh in December there are several evocative concerts in 2017, featuring some beautiful locations. On December the 10th, the Clarsach Society bring spellbinding renditions of traditional favourites to Queen's Hall with their Harps of Gold Christmas Concert, with all profits going to good causes. A little later in the month, there are Carols By Candlelight at Bristo Church (December 16th) too, with traditional songs and a few surprises for good measure.

Outdoor Ice Skating

For anyone looking for a romantic evening out in the city, cruising around the historic St Andrew's Square is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two. Booking is sensible as it can get busy, but there are a range of dates available, from late November right up until January 2018. Click here for bookings and availability.

Edinburgh's Giant Advent Calendar

A daily surprise awaits every day in December this year with the Giant Advent Calendar (Image: Edinburgh's Christmas 2017 Facebook Page). 

If the thought of another cardboard calendar with chocolates seemed dull, Edinburgh has a much grander way to count down the days to Christmas this year. A giant advent calendar will be projected onto General Register House, with a special location revealed each day. Including Murrayfield and Edinburgh Festival Theatre, a range of intriguing visits will be available, allowing access to various fascinating, seldom-seen facets of famous Edinburgh places.

Christmas Events for Grownups: La Clique Noel

For those who get tired of fairgrounds and all things childish at Christmas, Edinburgh also has a selection of more grownup entertainment. Especially hotly anticipated is a special show straight from disgruntled Edinburgh Fringe promoter David Bates. Forget the stereotypical Christmas pantomime; La Clique is a heady mix of genres, featuring live music, cabaret and burlesque, and has already been a hit from Paris to Adelaide. This winter it is Edinburgh's turn to host this deliciously daring show. Packed with funny and jaw-dropping performances, it runs from December to Hogmanay and early January. Find further details and tickets here.

Edinburgh Christmas Parties and Events at Prestonfield House Hotel

For the very best of seasonal food, cheer and festivities, we are hosting a series of excellent Christmas parties, lunches and afternoon teas here at Prestonfield House Hotel, Edinburgh. From our elegant grounds to the glittering Ballroom, guests can expect a wonderful ambiance and the best in Scottish hospitality. We are also one of the select few fine dining restaurants open on Christmas Day in Edinburgh. Booking is essential. Find full details of our Christmas events here.