Did you know Christmas was once banned in Scotland? In 1640, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed by Parliament, and – although this was overturned in 1686 – it was almost 300 years until Christmas Day became a public holiday in 1958!
But the Scots have more than made up for lost time, with a whole host of Christmas celebrations to enjoy today. Take your pick from some of the best Christmas events in Scotland below.
Christmas events in Edinburgh
One of the most famous Christmas events in Edinburgh is the traditional European Christmas Market. Stalls stretching from The Mound to East Princes St Gardens offer artisan handicrafts, toys, Christmas decorations and tasty seasonal treats. Check out the Scottish Market too – a feast of local food and drink including fresh fish, locally produced sausages, craft beer and Edinburgh Gin.
Another must-see attraction is the Street of Light. Watch a choreographed canopy of 60,000 lights twinkling down George Street in time to orchestras, live bands and choirs. It’s free, but you do need to book the shows you want to see.
Keep the kids busy with an afternoon’s ice-skating, or send them off into the Christmas Tree Maze, while you turn Arctic explorer and climb the ice wall. You’ll barely have any time left for Christmas shopping!
Christmas events in Glasgow
Indulge in all things fun and festive in Glasgow, starting with the Christmas Lights Switch On. Tickets are allocated by ballot but if you weren’t lucky enough to bag one, you can still admire the installations in George Square until the end of December.
Head down to the Christmas Market in St Enoch Square for handmade toys and treats, quirky gifts, global cuisine and some warming mulled wine, before hitting the Style Mile to pick up fashionable presents from independent boutiques. Trés chic.
Work of some of those seasonal goodies by taking part in the Santa Dash – join thousands of Santas in a 5k run around the streets of Glasgow to help raise money for charity. Not a runner? Get your skates on and try a triple Salchow at the open-air ice rink in George Square, next to the giant Christmas tree, instead. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
Christmas events in Inverness
The Highland capital is one of the best places to experience Christmas. Kick off your stay with a trip to the Winter Wonderland in Whin Park to meet Santa – and some of his reindeer – before enjoying the fairground or strolling around the illuminated forest.
Find unusual stocking fillers at the Victorian Market or search for a rare first edition at Leakey’s Bookshop, said to be the largest second-hand bookshop in Scotland, housed in a converted church.
For the ultimate Christmas experience, visit the nearby national park where you can hand-feed wild reindeer at Cairngorm Reindeer. Meet the herd on the mountainside, stroke their velvet soft noses and try to remember all of Santa’s little helpers – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Rudolph… err, Frank?!
Travel in comfort this Christmas
Instead of struggling onto a train or plane this festive season, let us take you there in style on our sleeper service. When you book a bunk on a MegabusGold route, you’ll get a comfy night’s sleep, complimentary breakfast and plenty of luggage space for carrying all those Christmas presents.
Book your Christmas travel >