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Edinburgh's winter festivals

Date Posted: 28/11/14

Edinburgh's winter festivals

As we plough into December, we're entering a very exciting period for Edinburgh, with a number of very exciting festivals that are sure to thrill visitors. The capital of Scotland goes all out with a veritable Christmas present stuffed full of yuletide themed events that carries on until the end of January. Here, we go into detail about Edinburgh's winter festivals, so you know not to miss out this year.

St Andrew's Day

The first celebration - taking place this weekend just in case you're interested in taking off for a spontaneous couple of days - is St Andrew's Day. This is a celebration of Scotland's patron saint, and the fun generally consists of several exciting events. It all gets underway on November 30th in - where else? - St Andrew Square in the centre of town, which celebrates with an extraordinary programme that includes ice skating, live music and Scottish dance workshops.

The themed events stretch well into next week, too, with a variety of parties and celebrations taking place in various venues across the capital. So if you've got a few days off to be used before your holiday renews, this could be the perfect opportunity to experience some real Scottish culture.


By the time December starts, the city is well into celebrating the festive season. You can't miss the giant Christmas tree from Norway, erected every year on top of the Mound. George Street and Princes Street in the centre are even more picturesque than usual, if possible, with the addition of thousands of sparkling fairy lights and yuletide decorations. Be sure to bring a camera.

Other attractions include the Starflyer, Big Wheel and a programme of shows in the Paradiso Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square. Throw in an expanded Santa Land in East Prince Street Gardens which has a Christmas Tree Maze, Santa Train and Santa’s Grotto and various paid family attractions priced between £1 and £4, and you've got a lineup capable of keeping you and the family happy for an entire weekend. Traditional panto is also very popular in the capital, as are Christmas carol services at St giles on the Royal Mile.


Nobody knows how to celebrate New Year like Edinburgh. The annual Hogmanay celebrations go out of their way to involve everyone with a giant street party, a concert with big-name acts including Lily Allen in front of the castle, and a torchlight procession through the city. Beyond this, a candlelit concert at St Giles Cathedral is also immensely popular for those who want to take a slightly more traditional approach to the celebration. In total, that's three days of celebration surrounding one entirely magical evening. The fireworks on the night itself are also pretty spectacular.

Burns Night

Although it takes place at the end of January, you'll probably hear talk of Burns Night before Hogmanay has even started. A citywide commemoration of Scottish poet Robbie Burns, this annual holiday is very traditional and it's well worth being in the country at this time of year if you're a lover of literature. The full programme for 2015 has yet to be announced, but you can count on it being fun.


Posted by Hayley Brent

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