FEATURE – Edinburgh’s Christmas 2012

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Edinburgh’s Christmas 2012 – Winter in Edinburgh

Edinburgh at Christmas

Edinburgh’s Christmas is recognised as one of the best places in the UK to spend Christmas and we couldn’t agree more. With over 6 weeks of activities in the capital, there really is something for everyone. The Dome is covered with decorations galore and we’re already getting excited about Santa coming to town. If you’re looking for information on New Year celebrations, you can read our Hogmanay article which is broken down day by day.

Reviews and photos (updated )

Light Night

At 5pm on Thursday 29th Novermber, Light Night will start and Edinburgh will sparkle once again. If previous years are anything to go by, this is a truly spectacular family-friendly event that includes the lighting of the Christmas tree at The Mound. See the Christmas Parade arrive onto the Mound with a giant Santa leading you up to the wondrous Christmas Dream Machine, a tribute to Edinburgh’s history of invention.

Afterwards, a Christmas Brazilian Samba band will make its way along Princes Street at 6 pm, as action moves to St Andrew Square Garden for an after show, featuring acts including finalists of Edinburgh’s Got Talent, the cast of Dirty Dancing, the drums of Clanadonia and a fire spectacular from Flame Oz.

Added 29/11 – our feature on Light Night

The 10th Santa run takes place this year

Other Christmas Events

The official Edinburgh’s Christmas programme has launched and we are already excited. Christmas activities wont just be centered around the gardens this year, but will also feature in St Andrew Square and along the length of Rose Street. Highlights include:

The full programme from Edinburgh’s Christmas can be found on their website with up to date opening times and prices. You can download a PDF of the programme. You can like Edinburgh’s Christmas on Facebook and follow them on twitter @EdXmas.

Things to do

Edinburgh’s tourist attractions are open throughout the winter (with the exception of Christmas day, but the Edinburgh Zoo does remain open on the 25th). You can check out our full list of things to do in Edinburgh (with full and honest reviews). If you are bringing children to town this festiva season, you may wish to look at our guide of child friendly activities.

A great view from the Scott Monument in the winter

Some tourist attractions such as Mary King’s Close, Camera Obscura, the National Museum of Scotland and Dynamic Earth are not weather dependent. No matter how cold/rainy/snowy it is in Edinburgh, these leading tourist attractions are open all winter. The excellent Royal Yacht Britannia is worth a visit and on the weekend of 8th and 9th December there will be complimentary mulled wine and shortbread for all visitors. The yacht always looks stunning with its Christmas decorations.


Edinburgh has a magnificent choice of shows to attend in the coming weeks. There’s something suitable for everyone in the following theatres:

The Moscow State Circus is back in Edinburgh this winter with their latest show in the big top at Ocean Terminal. Read our preview.


You can also check out what’s on at the Queen’s Hall this Christmas. The Edinburgh Playhouse is playing host to the touring Dirty Dancing musical from 4th December until 12th January 2013. The Usher Hall has a variety of shows to choose from. Be sure to check out what’s showing at The Filmhouse and The Cameo cinemas in December, they always have an excellent festive programme.

Christmas markets

Other December Edinburgh events

Unfortunately Jenners recently announced that they wouldn’t be having their popular Santa’s Grotto this year, but they have put up their famous Christmas tree. Thankfully, Santa Claus will be paying Ocean Terminal lots of visits this year. We will add times and dates of his visits here as soon as Santa knows his final schedule. Santa arrives at the Gyle Shopping Centre on Wednesday 14th November, with his grotto opening the same day at 6.30pm. All children visiting Santa receive a present in return for a small donation that goes to Radio Forth’s Cash for Kids. More information. Please see our St Andrew’s Day in Edinburgh article for events on 30th November and the first weekend in December. Many tourist attractions are offering great deals and there are plenty of free events to choose from.

Saturday 1st December

Sunday 2nd December

Saturday 8th December

  • Royal Yacht Britannia will have their Christmas tree up and there will be complimentary mulled wine and shortbread for all visitors.

Sunday 9th December

Saturday 16th December

Wednesday 19th December

Saturday 22nd December

Sunday 23rd December

More events to be added in due course! Have you got an event you would like us to feature?  Feel free to contact us.  (Fees apply). This feature is only for Christmas related events. Please see our Hogmanay feature for events after 25th December.

Winter in Edinburgh

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