Though the days are darker and the nights are longer, Edinburgh is a city that comes to life during December.
It's one of the best cities in the world to celebrate the festive season- brimming with sparkling lights and fun activities, not to mention the bustling pubs where you can coorie in and enjoy a Christmas beverage!
Here are five fun things to do in Edinburgh in December that we know will make you fall in love with winter in the city.
5 Things to do in Edinburgh in December
1. Go ice skating
The ice rink is back this year in Edinburgh! Glide up and down Edinburgh's famous George Street in New Town- it's the perfect idea for date night, or fun with the family.
As a general rule, this activity is 12-years +, but there are also toddler sessions available. Visit the Edinburgh's Christmas website for days and times.
Opening dates: 18 Nov 2023 to 6 Jan 2024
Where: West George Street between Castle Street and Charlotte Square
Cost: Tickets from £5.00 (skate hire is included in the price of your ticket).
2. Visit the Christmas Market
Edinburgh is home to one of the best Christmas markets in the world!
Sip on mulled wine as you explore the Christmassy stalls filled with creative crafty gifts; go for a spin on the the classic vintage rides or admire Edinburgh's sparkly cityscape from the Big Wheel; or eat your body weight in crepes and cinnamon doughnuts.
The Edinburgh Christmas markets are a must-do activity if you're in the city during December!
Opening dates: Fri 17 Nov 2023 to Sat 6 Jan 2024
Where: Activities take place across the city centre, including Princes Street, St Andrews Square and George Street.
Cost: Entry is free
3. Castle of Light
Every year Edinburgh Castle puts on an extraordinary lighting display. This is Castle of Light's fourth year, and the theme is magic and mystery.
You'll be transfixed as a tapestry of projections and illuminations dance across the castle walls, and enchanted by the colourful installations spread throughout the grounds!
Tickets must be purchased in advance from their official website.
Dates: 24 & 25 November. 1st-3rd, 8th-10th, 15th-17th, 21st-23rd & 27th-30th December. 2nd & 3rd January
Times: 4.30pm to 9pm (last entry between 7.30pm & 7.45pm)
Cost: £22 for adults; £16 for concession; £12 for children age 7-15; Under 6's free; family passes available.
4. Go for cocktails at The Dome
The Dome Bar and Restaurant on George Street is famous for its Christmas decorations; every year the restaurant turns into a giant Christmas tree both inside and out, with fairy lights and decorations donning every nook and cranny.
Its become somewhat of a tradition for Edinburghers to head to the bar for cocktails, or enjoy a nice meal in the restaurant- and anyone with an Instagram account waits patiently to snap the pillars twinkling with fairy lights!
Where: 14 George Street
5. Celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh
Edinburgh's Hogmanay Festival has a variety of events across the city, including a torchlight procession, a street party, a concert in Princes Street Gardens, a candlelit concert at St Giles Cathedral, and fireworks to ring in the new year.
You can check out all their events here.
When: Friday 29 Dec 2023 – New Year’s Day 2024
Where: Various places across the city centre