10 Things to Do in Edinburgh in December For A Joyful Vacation

Activities to Do in Edinburgh in December

1. Shop at Edinburgh's Traditional Christmas Markets
2. Ride The Princes Street Ferris Wheel
3. Discover The Edinburgh Botanic Gardens Light Trail
4. Have Fun At Ice Skating Rink
5. Enjoy The Snowy Scenery Of Edinburgh Castle
6. Explore Royal Mile
7. Visit The Palace Of Holyroodhouse
8. Walk Around St Andrews Square
9. Enjoy At Hogmanay
10. Have Fun At Santa's Charity Run

The charm of the tourist destinations of Edinburgh comes to focus during the winter season with plenty of things to do in Edinburgh in December. Ranging from Christmas celebrations to the winter special, Edinburgh is brimming with fun and adventurous activities that exudes the feeling of festivity in the air. 

One of the best things to do in Edinburgh in December includes attending or participating in the Hogmanay, which is a three-day event consisting of concerts, street parties, and a torchlight procession. The visitors can explore the traditional Christmas markets and shop for their favorite items in Edinburgh or walk along the trail of lights at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens in December.

You can also contribute to the fundraising event of the Santa Fun Run and Walk by dressing up as Father Christmas. Besides all these exciting activities, you can also admire the tranquil blanket of snow on Edinburgh Castle that looks mesmerizing even from a distance.

Here is the list of the top things to do in Edinburgh in December:

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Enjoy The Snowy Scenery Of Edinburgh Castle

  • If you want to witness the first snow of the winter season, you can pay a visit to Edinburgh Castle.
  • Enjoying the snowy scenery on Edinburgh Castle is among the enchanting activities to do in Edinburgh in December since the castle is entirely covered with a white blanket of snow.
  • When you look at the castle, the setting on the castle’s hilltop exudes a majestic medieval fairytale glow, particularly from the Christmas markets and the twisting streets of the Royal Mile.

Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, United Kingdom.

Timings: 9.30 am to 5 pm (Monday to Thursday), 9.30 am to 4 pm (Friday to Sunday)

Visit The Palace Of Holyroodhouse

  • After enjoying your exploration walk along the Royal Mile, you can pay a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
  • It is one of the best things to do in Edinburgh in December as you get a chance to witness the working royal palace and its current royal connections with Bonnie Prince Charlie, Mary, and the Queen of Scots.
  • On your visit to the palace, you can even explore the oldest section of this regal building, i.e., the Queen of Scots Mary’s chamber.

Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, United Kingdom

Timing: 9.30 am to 6 pm (Thursday to Monday)

Shop At Edinburgh's Traditional Christmas Markets

  • The Christmas markets kick off from the start of November until the beginning of January, which makes it a great opportunity to explore and shop your heart out in December.
  • It is one of the most wonderful things to do in Edinburgh in December as the markets offer numerous things that you can gift your family on your way back home.
  • In these Christmas markets, you can purchase beautiful home decorations, discover a unique handmade item, and relish a hot drink in the festive atmosphere.
  • You can explore the Christmas Market on Princes Street, The Assembly Rooms, and Castle Street to enjoy the particular charm of each of these markets.

Ride The Princes Street Ferris Wheel

  • Also known as the Edinburgh Festival Wheel, riding the Ferris Wheel on Princes Street is one of the best things to do in Edinburgh in December.
  • This activity lets you rise above the surrounding buildings and admire the gorgeous views of the entire city of Edinburgh.
  • Through this ride, you can catch an aerial glimpse of the historic city center of Edinburgh, including the Firth of Forth and the Kingdom of Fife.
  • It also gives you sweeping views of the coastline in the North East and the Edinburgh rooftops while sinking down the wheel.

Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2HG, United Kingdom.

7 am to 9.35 pm

Discover The Edinburgh Botanic Gardens Light Trail

  • One of the most beautiful activities to do in Edinburgh in December is discovering the trail of lights in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden.
  • On your visit to this attraction, you will come across numerous flowers, dancing reflections, colored lights, illuminated trees, and musical effects that will surely fascinate you.
  • You can walk along the trail of lights through the garden to see the magical lighting unfold in front of your eyes. 
  • Capture aesthetic photographs with your loved ones with the twinkling background dotted with lush greenery.

Location: Arboretum Pl, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ, United Kingdom.

Timing: 10 am to 3.15 pm

Have Fun At Ice Skating Rink

  • If you are planning to visit Edinburgh in December, you should not miss the opportunity of having fun at the ice skating rink that is hosted every year between late November and early January.
  • You can enjoy this classic sport of the winter season with your friends and family at any of the ice skating rinks in Edinburgh and have a remarkable time.
  • No matter whether you are a novice or a professional ice skater, it is one of the best things to do in Edinburgh in December as you can even take skating lessons.

Location: George Street, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

12.30 am to 9.15 pm (Monday to Friday), 10.15 am to 9.15 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
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Explore Royal Mile

  • Among the other things to do in Edinburgh in December, exploring the Royal Mile is another worth considering activity to shop for your favorite winter outfits.
  • Starting from Edinburgh Castle and ending at Holyrood Castle, this street remains bustling with tourists at this time of the year due to the Christmas festivities.
  • You can indulge in the tasting experience of Scottish Whiskey or pay a visit to the different attractions on the street, including Camera Obscura, the Museum of Edinburgh, the Museum of Childhood, and the Writers Museum on this street.

109 The Royal Mile Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1SG, United Kingdom.

Walk Around St Andrews Square

  • Walking around St Andrews Square is another one of the worth considering things to do in Edinburgh in December, which consists of a vast array of clothing boutiques, tiny offices, the ritziest clubs, and the flashiest restaurants in the city.
  • On this square, you can see the nativity scene of the city that features traditional caroling in December, along with an ice skating rink, where people are enjoying their hearts out on the ice.
  • After enough strolling, you can curb your hunger with a delicious Scottish meal at any one of the restaurants in St Andrews Square.

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Enjoy At Hogmanay

  • The visitors can relish their hearts at Hogmanay, which is a three-day festival held in Edinburgh in December. 
  • It is one of the most magnificent things to do in Edinburgh in December as it allows you to indulge in concerts, street parties, and a torchlight procession.
  • You can even watch or participate in the Loony Deck if you visit the place on New Year’s Eve.
  • In this event, you can witness the brave hearts taking a chilling dunk in the Firth of Froth while other people dress in different costumes to entertain the audience.

Have Fun At Santa's Charity Run

  • One of the other remarkable activities that you must include in your list of things to do in Edinburgh in December is attending the charity event of the Santa Fun Run and Walk.
  • Whether you are traveling alone or with a family, you can race with the public and children in this charity event that is held every year in December.
  • All you need to do is dress up like a Father Christmas and race along the streets of Edinburgh to be the winner.
  • Through this activity, you can raise funds for the children while running, jogging, and walking along the West Princes Street Gardens.

People Also Ask About Edinburgh

  1. What are the best things to do In Edinburgh in December?

    1. Have fun at the Edinburgh Santa Fun Run
    2. Explore the different Christmas markets
    3. Watch a remarkable movie at Cameo Cinema
    4. Relish the musical performances at the Usher Hall
    5. Take your kids to the SantaLand
  2. Why should one visit Edinburgh in December?

    There are plenty of things to do in Edinburgh in December, which makes it an ideal time to visit the city this month. It is a fun time to explore the Christmas markets and decorations if you visit the city in December. You can avail yourself of cheap accommodation and enjoy the mulled wine while walking down Princes Street along with the other activities to do in Edinburgh in December. You should also visit this place to dive into the multicultural vibes of the atmosphere during this month.
  3. What is special about Edinburgh?

    Edinburgh is special for its architecturally fascinating buildings that exude different nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities. It is the top festival city in the world that attracts thousands of visitors to its festival events and programs, such as the World Cup and the Olympics. This place also serves as a great space for literature and food as you can taste the delicious coffee in The Elephant House, where JK Rowling has written the Harry Potter books. Exploring the Christmas markets is also one of the best things to do in Edinburgh in December.
  4. How to reach Edinburgh?

    By Air: Edinburgh Airport is the best option to travel to Edinburgh by air. You can travel from anywhere in the world to this airport to reach your ideal destination.

    By Rail: Edinburgh has some great rail connectivity from the neighboring cities, like Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, and Newcastle. You can board ScotRail from any of these cities to the Edinburgh Waverley rail station or Princes Street to reach Edinburgh.

    By Bus: Several buses operate from different cities to Edinburgh Bus Station on St Andrew Street in the middle of the city.
  5. How many days are enough to explore Edinburgh?

    A minimum of two to three days are enough to explore Edinburgh. Within this time frame, you can explore the different attractions and indulge in a variety of things to do in Edinburgh in December. You can even take a ghost or whisky tour or go on a hike to Arthur’s Seat within this time.
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