Hailed as the leading festival city in the world, Edinburgh certainly knows how to party and put on an event. When the Christmas season approaches, expect to find amazing festive shows, lights, music, and holiday celebrations to bring the Christmas spirit to the Scottish capital.
If you’re planning to visit the city during the yuletide season, check out the spectacular Christmas markets in Edinburgh. Prepare for sensory overload, with plenty of visually-appealing sights, aromatic offerings, and exquisite food options to savor. They’re also filled with family-friendly events and entertainment opportunities in several traditional locations.
Additionally, Christmas shopping in Edinburgh is a huge deal. It’s part of the tradition, which is why it’s a favorite activity when exploring the city’s Christmas markets. You don’t have to feel burdened by your shopping bags if you have other adventures planned. You can store them at a secure Bounce luggage locker in Edinburgh.
Princes Street Gardens
Great surprises await you in central Edinburgh as West and East Princes Street Gardens transform into a winter wonderland. Established in 1820, Princes Street Gardens is one of the significant urban parks in the heart of the city, separating the historic old town from the new town. It remains beautiful year-round but becomes a special setting for Edinburgh’s Christmas Market from the end of November to December.
East Princes Street Gardens will host a variety of market stalls selling food, drinks, jewelry, different handmade products, arts and crafts, and more. Head to West Princes Street Gardens, and you’ll find Santa Land, an outdoor adventure site featuring fairground rides and kid-friendly activities, like Bumper Cars, and the Christmas Tree Maze. The Princes Street Gardens Christmas Markets also has an ice rink, a Ferris wheel called The Edinburgh Eye, and other exciting attractions.
What to do near Princes Street Gardens
You’ll likely spend an entire day enjoying everything that the markets have to offer. But if you have more time to spare and discover other tourist sites, check out the National War Museum, Scottish National Gallery, Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle, just a short walk from the Gardens.
St Andrew Square Christmas Market
Include St Andrew Square Christmas Market in your holiday itinerary in the capital of Scotland. Each year, the square is surrounded by food and drink stalls, entertainment, and twinkling Christmas lights, creating a magical winter wonderland in one of the exciting Edinburgh Christmas markets.
St Andrew Square is a prestigious location in New Town. It features an outdoor café and stunning gardens that become more lively by the end of the year as the Christmas Market opens. It also has seasonal street food, live music, boutique craft stalls, and more.
What to do near St Andrew Square Christmas Market
There’s never a dull moment at St Andrew Square Christmas Market. But if you’re looking for something else to do and other sights to see, swing by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It’s an art gallery and museum housed in one of the most remarkable buildings in the city.
George Street Christmas Market
An upscale, neo-classical street in New Town is another destination for a fun-filled Christmas celebration in Edinburgh. Though a smaller Scottish market, George Street has everything to make your holiday entertaining. It features rides for kids, Ice Adventure, Santa’s Grotto, and more. The prices of rides vary, so be sure to double-check before heading down there.
If you’re looking for local products like Scotch wines, tartan scarves, and Harris Tweed, George Street is one of the best Christmas markets in Edinburgh to go to. You can also stroll through the street and admire the glowing decorations and festive delicacies.
Visitors love shopping walks along the street no matter the season, so coming here for the Christmas market will be true retail therapy. It also has several prominent grand architectures that make a charming backdrop to spice up your social media photos.
What to do near George Street Christmas Market
Since George Street is a central thoroughfare in New Town, you’ll find plenty of amazing attractions around. It is close to numerous shops and restaurants and connects St Andrew Square with Charlotte Square. Apart from the cultural sights nearby, it’s a short distance from Edinburgh Playhouse.
Castle Street Christmas Market
One of Edinburgh’s most well-established Christmas markets is set on Castle Street. It’s a pedestrian street in New Town, crossed by Princes Street and George Street. Since 2007, Castle Street Christmas Market has been a prime destination for locals and visitors during the winter season to shop, have fun, and spend quality time with friends and loved ones.
This festive outdoor market features bright-colored gazebos where designers, vendors, and producers display and sell their products. You’ll find everything from delicious food and drinks to spectacular gifts and souvenirs. Fun fair rides, ice skating, and other festive activities are also expected this Christmas in the heart of the city.
What to do near Castle Street
Castle Street is one of the city’s most beautiful locations. It’s a stone’s throw away from the intricate Ross Fountain, overlooked by the iconic Edinburgh Castle in West Princes Street Gardens. It is also close to the Scottish National Library and the Victorian Gothic Scott Monument.
Visit Edinburgh for Holiday Season
Edinburgh Christmas Markets are known as one of the country’s top holiday events. It starts at the famous East Princes Street Gardens, taking you to some of the gorgeous streets in the city centre. It covers the parks and gardens, highlighting some of the city’s legendary green spaces and beautiful outdoor venues. It’s a free event, so there’s no need to worry about buying.
If unsure when a specific Edinburgh Christmas market start date is, just check out the capital's schedule of events and activities website for a quick update.
Now you are ready to enjoy the Christmas markets in Edinburgh. For more things to do in Edinburgh, check out these other guides: