A guide to all things Christmas in Edinburgh


We have just entered December and you bet we’re going to get mad Christmassy with this post. This will be my third December in Edinburgh, so I am pretty well accustomed to spending Christmas here at this point. In this post, I will be highlighting my top 5 favourite things to do in Edinburgh at Christmas time. Let’s get into the festive spirit, friends.

Visiting the Christmas market

The Edinburgh Christmas market is pretty special. It is one of the biggest Christmas markets in the U.K and is often heralded as one the best. With its rides, stalls and gallons of mulled wine, you cannot help but feel somewhat festive as soon as you step foot in this magical wonderland. Open from 10 am – 10 pm most days in the lead up to Christmas (and into the New Year), there are plenty of chances to experience it for yourself! It does start to get very busy on the weekends and evenings as December progresses, so my advice would be to visit during the day.

Pubs, pubs, pubs

One of my favourite things to do as the days get shorter and colder is to visit some of the best pubs Edinburgh has to offer. These pubs are super cosy and a perfect end to a long winter walk (also there is always a great selection of dogs). Here are my top 3:

  1. Dagda Bar – one of the best pubs in Edinburgh, small and cosy with the loveliest staff. The beer is good and reasonably priced.
  2. The Canny Mans – this wonderful old pub is in Morningside and is so beautiful. Great selection of drinks, especially whiskey!
  3. Argyle – another old-style pub in Marchmont. Great people, great drinks and super cosy!

Botanic gardens and other winter walks

What’s better than a frosty walk in Edinburgh’s botanic gardens? Yup, nothing. The gardens are wonderful all year round, but at Christmas, they put on a special festive lights show in the evenings. However, if you don’t fancy spending money on the lights show, the grounds are free to enter from 10 am-4 pm all holiday season!

As well as the Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh has many other lovely wintery walks to offer. You can catch the X95 Borders bus from Surgeon’s Hall to Lord Ancrum woods. Or explore Dean Village and Stockbridge (especially on a Sunday to visit the market). Or maybe even a crisp walk up Arthurs seat combined with a visit to Duddingston. For more walk information you can go to the following page:

The Magnificent seven walks around Edinburgh | The Bruntsfield

Edinburgh University Carol Service

A must-attend for any student (and others) of Edinburgh University. The carol service is happening on the 8th in McEwan Hall at 6pm. If you’re not in the festive mood yet, you will be after this concert… AND it’s FREE! It promises to be a wonderful occasion and celebration of all things Christmassy.

Watch the 2019 University Carol Service below:

Christmas dinner

Ok, so I admit this isn’t Edinburgh specific, but who doesn’t love a Christmas dinner?! It’s so easy to make a roast anyway. Add some sprouts and some stuffing and you’ve got a Christmas specific roast. Fear not though, if you don’t fancy cooking there are loads of pubs/restaurants offering Christmas food this season. Here are a couple of options (book quickly though!):

  • Sheeps Heid Inn – This lovely pub is situated in the picturesque Duddingston and offers a roast dinner every Sunday.
  • The Salisbury Arms – A slightly more upmarket and expensive pub situated very near the Commonwealth pool, but absolutely lovely nonetheless.

Obviously there are many more things you can do in Edinburgh this festive season. Edinburgh really does go all out over the Christmas period, so I encourage you all to take a break from revision and essay writing to experience it!

About Liv

Philosophy PhD student Liv is the Philosophy Social Media Ambassador (Research Focus) at the University of Edinburgh. Keep an eye on the School of PPLS Instagram account and the Philosophy at Edinburgh Twitter account for more updates from Liv.

This post was originally published on PPLS Student Blogs
Christmas is coming: A guide to all things Christmas in Edinburgh | Student Blogs

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