Inside the Christmas Markets in Scotland

festive tree holiday decorations scottie dog
©VisitBritain / Scott Salt

Searching for festive fun this year in Scotland? Visit the festive Christmas Markets across the country from Glasgow to Aberdeen for festive cheer, shopping, and plenty of entertainment.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

edinburgh christmas market at night lights festive
Credit: Underbelly

The Edinburgh Christmas Market is definitely the premier place to go in Scotland. The market is held for six weeks from mid November until early January. It is very much the center of Scottish festive fun as the entire center of the city sets out to celebrate in a big way. This is the home of the biggest of all the Scottish Christmas markets.

Most of the stalls set around the High Street, Parliament Square, George Street, Castle Street and The Mound. Some of the market areas are more specialized than others.

Bring plenty of bags to fill up with goodies such as arts and crafts, foodie treats, and traditional or bespoke Christmas products. Market goers can find crafts, food & drink at the Scottish Market on George Street.

Stalls with a more international flair can be found in the Mound Precinct. Search out artisans selling hand made tweed and tartan accessories, leatherwork, chocolates, and sweet treats.

Children’s Christmas Market

If you are looking for gifts for the little ones, then the Children’s Market may be the place to go. The Children’s Market is part of Santa Land in Lower Princes Street. The tree maze, Santa’s Grotto and Elf workshop will help keep the kids amused while you shop.

Pair the experience with gorgeous views of Edinburgh Castle in the background, and easy access to some of the city’s major attractions.

There is plenty of entertainment too. Options include pop up bars fairground rides, a skating rink, and lots of decorated festive lights. There is also a festive program over at Edinburgh Zoo.

Nearby Attractions

It is worth combining your stay in Edinburgh with the four-day Hogmanay event surrounding New Year. This event is the biggest festival in Scotland complete with processions, fireworks and concerts.



Plan ahead if you want to take part in events such as the tree maze or fairground rides. These have to be booked in advance under Scotland’s COVID regulations.

Aberdeen

Aberdeen, Scotland’s Granite city, takes on a very different ambiance at Christmas time, with red and green glistening lights everywhere. Festive celebrations are very much community dominated with local craft stalls at the Christmas Village. There is also the food and drink market, which includes craft bakers and specialist confectioners.

Relax and enjoy a drink while listening to live music. Watch dance shows and nativity plays or take a turn on the open-air ice rink set against the beautiful backdrop of Marischal College.

Drumlanrig Castle

Drumlanrig Castle beautiful blue sky
Drumlanrig Castle

One of the most dramatic of all Christmas Markets in Scotland is located at Drumlanrig Castle, near Dumfries. Spectacularly lit up in brilliant shades of green and red, the Castle hosts a Christmas Garden Trail as well as a marquee hosting the Christmas market with stalls. Visitors will find wares from local artisans, food and drink.

There is lots of entertainment too with horse & cart rides taking eager children to Santa’s Grotto, and choir services within the grounds.

Glasgow Christmas Market

glasgow christmas market windmill
Credit: VisitBritain/Scott Salt

The Glasgow Christmas market is much reduced in size this year, as the large George Street market was cancelled due to the effect of COVID and COP26.

This Christmas Market in Scotland is the only market taking place in Glasgow is St Enoch Square, located close to George Street. Browse among German style festive chalets selling an array of internationally themed gifts, plus piping hot food & drink such as Gluhwein, Greek food, Dutch pancakes and exotic burgers like crocodile, wild boar, hellfire wings, salt & chilli chicken.

As this location is regarded as being an inside event, social distancing is required together with evidence of vaccination & negative COVID tests.

woman serving cider at glasgow christmas market
©VisitBritain / Scott Salt

Perth

Heading north to Perth, the annual Winter Festival Market is combined with the city’s farmer’s market, focusing on food & drink plus internationally inspired products.

One of the most unusual aspects of the Winter Market is the one day only Christmas Barket, an event especially for dogs.

An irresistible attraction for both dogs and their owners, there are treats galore and the opportunity to visit Santa Paws. Find Santa Paw gifts, and countless edible treats.

Wildwoodz Adventure Park

The Wildwoodz Adventure Park, just outside Inverness, takes on a new ambiance when it is taken over by a Christmas market early in December.

This Christmas Market is in Scotland contains over 60 festive stall holders. These stalls sell patisserie, seafood, teas, coffee, handmade breads and cheeses, cakes and tablet. Tablet is a gritty sweet type of fudge that is positively irresistible. This is the place to find crafts such as jewelry, tweed accessories and tartans that are perfect for festive gifts.

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