With the streets ablaze with Christmas lights and one of the world’s most epic New Year celebrations drawing thousands of revelers to the city, winter makes for an atmospheric time to visit Edinburgh.
Despite the chilly nights and overcast skies, winter in Edinburgh is jam-packed with festivities, kicking off with St Andrew’s Day (in honor of the patron Saint of Scotland) on November 30th. Christmas celebrations take center stage throughout December, with Europe’s largest open-air ice rink, a vibrant Christmas market and Santa’s grottos enveloping the city in festive cheer, but the real event of the year is New Year’s Eve, known as Hogmanay in Edinburgh. A mammoth 4-day event, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is the biggest in the country with an epic torch-lit procession, an open-air Ceilidh (a traditional Celtic party) and a huge music concert and fireworks display, as well as a myriad of street parties and entertainment.
Catch your breath in January by watching Edinburgh’s famous ice hockey team in action because by the end of the month the party atmosphere will be back in full force. Burns night, held on January 25th celebrates the life and times of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns and Edinburgh will be getting in the mood with plenty of Scotch whisky, poetry readings and bagpipe renditions. Don’t forget to tuck into Scotland’s most peculiar delicacy, haggis – it’s a Burn’s Night tradition, typically doused with a healthy splash of Scotch whisky.
Winter in Edinburgh isn’t just about donning some sparkle and partying the night away – make sure you take time to experience the city at its most magical. Take a hop-on hop-off tour of Edinburgh so you can warm up between sites. Wrap up warm and head to the top of the nearby Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat where the panoramic views will show the vast city glistening beneath a layer of frost.