Every winter Edinburgh enjoys holiday illumination which attracts many visitors. Edinburgh Christmas lights are an essential part of the holidays and a favourite winter entertainment for families. There’s still plenty of holiday fun planned in the capital, so let's dive into the details!
Edinburgh’s Christmas (November 17, 2023–January 6, 2024)
Edinburgh’s Christmas is the number-one celebration of the season, with dazzling lights and magical rides in the heart of the capital city. George Street hosts one of the major Christmas light installations and shows—Light Night. This popular free event features choirs from all over Scotland and fantastic fireworks. The finale of the afternoon is a spectacular pyrotechnical display, marking the official switch-on of Edinburgh’s Christmas lights, accompanied by Santa’s “flying” visit. Additionally, check out East Princes Street Gardens, hosting a traditional Christmas Market. Find something special and festive at the stalls, which offer all sorts of local products, gifts, and delicious goodies.
Castle of Light (November 24, 2023–January 3, 2024, selected dates)
Another atmospheric location to experience the festive season is Edinburgh Castle. The iconic historic landmark hosts the Castle of Light event on selected days between late November and early January. Take all of the family to enjoy the illuminated walls of the castle and explore its hidden treasures with the famous red lion Rex.
Christmas at the Botanics (November 16–December 30, 2023)
Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden is one of the best spots to enjoy the Christmas spirit in the city. A one-mile sparkling path features over a million twinkling lights, unusual tree canopies and the famous Glasshouses filled with Christmas colour. Don't miss unique, larger-than-life glowing incandescent flowers and illuminated tree sculptures. Kids will enjoy the sparkling snowflakes, stars, reindeer, gingerbread men and a visit to Santa and his elves.
Spectacle of Light at Dalkeith Country Park (unconfirmed in 2023)
The illuminated Spectacle of Light trail through Dalkeith Country Park takes the visitors across the winding river with cozy lantern and sparkling starbursts. Once there, make sure to go to viewing platforms in Fort Douglas for excellent views of the colorful light carpet and the Orangerie. The magic of Fort Douglas being all lit under the stars and the journey amongst the tree canopy in the Sky Maze—what beautiful your Christmas memories can be! To make your experience even better, the park offers mulled wine, hot chocolate, marshmallow toasting, and hot foods in Fort Douglas. If you want to chill out, book a table for seated dining at Restoration Yard.
Santa and his elves pay a visit to Dalkeith Country Park to give kids a genuinely magical experience: each child gets plenty of time to tell their dearest dreams and wishes. They also get a chance to get a photo (a socially distanced one) with Santa and to receive an under-the-tree gift. Please note that Santa has to keep a two-meter distance from all the visitors to keep everyone safe and healthy. Santa’s Grotto admission ticket also includes same-day access to Fort Douglas.
Beecraigs Festive Forest (December 1–23, 2023)
Beecraigs Country Park near Linlithgow promises a spectacular and magical festive experience. The location is simply perfect as it offers panoramic views over Edinburgh, the Forth Bridges, and the Lothians. Here you can witness one of the most powerful laser shows in the UK's and stunning lighting effects. Follow a trail through the forest to see holiday illuminations and special effects with sounds brought by some of the country's most innovative lighting design professionals.
Enjoy family-friendly fun for all ages with magical characters and go on fun rides. For true dreamers, there is Santa's Grotto, where they can post their letters to the North Pole and meet Santa with his elves. If you want to grab a bite, there is a variety of delicious festive foods and drinks, including mulled wine, cider, hot chocolate, toasted marshmallows, had roasted chestnuts.
For the tickets and latest updates, please check with the official websites (see External Resources below.) Also, take a look at the map suggesting the best accommodations nearby.