The Best Things to See and Do at the Edinburgh Christmas Market

As one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe, this iconic Scottish festival transforms Edinburgh into a fairy tale city each and every festive season. With over 2 million visitors annually, the Edinburgh Christmas Market has grown tremendously since it began at the turn of the millennium.

Edinburgh Christmas Market 2023 Dates and Times

The Edinburgh Christmas Market 2023 runs from November 17th until January 6th, 2024 and this six-week festival brings Christmas charm to Scotland’s capital during the height of the festive season.

Market Opening Hours:

  • Monday–Sunday: 10am–10pm

The market stays open late into the evenings when Edinburgh Castle and the old town are lit up, creating a nostalgic Christmas atmosphere.

The Fairytale Location of Edinburgh’s Famous Christmas Market

The Edinburgh Christmas Market takes place in East Princes Street Gardens, situated right against the backdrop of the majestic Edinburgh Castle. The Gothic spires tower over the market stalls, ice rink and fair rides, creating a magical fairy tale setting not to be missed.

Nearby Calton Hill also offers breathtaking views over the Edinburgh Christmas Market and the old town skyline, particularly special at sunset. The charming location makes the Edinburgh Christmas Market a truly Instagram-worthy experience during the season.

Unique Attractions at the Edinburgh Christmas Market

As well as the traditional market stall delights, Edinburgh offers many special attractions:

  • Live Performances – Listen to traditional Scottish music and watch Highland dancers while staying warm with a cup of mulled mead (try it!)
  • Artisan Whisky Tasting – Sample fine Scotch whiskies and get gifting inspiration for loved ones
  • Traditional Storytelling – Hear ancient folktales from master Scottish storytellers in cosy forest huts.

Insider Tip: Weekday mornings are the best times to catch unique shows before crowds arrive.

Must-Try Food and Drink in Edinburgh

Indulge in these delicious Scottish treats whilst you meander your way through the market:

  • Freshly baked mince pies, shortbread cookies, and sticky toffee pudding.
  • Warm spiced cider and mulled Irn Bru.
  • Smoky Scotch broth, haggis rolls, and meat pies.

Best Food Stands:

  • The Wee Highland Bakery – Award-winning cakes, tarts, and pies.
  • G&T Bothy – Scottish gin samplers and craft cocktails.
  • Cranachan Kitchen – Sweet whipped oats topped with raspberries, honey, and whisky cream. A Scottish dessert staple.

Shopping for Rare Scottish Gifts and Souvenirs

Find truly authentic Scottish gifts and goods at the Edinburgh Christmas Market:

  • Woollen scarves, hats, and mittens from local artisans. Stay toasty during an Edinburgh winter – a must!
  • Ornaments handcrafted from natural materials like wood, granite, clay, and horn.
  • Shortbread, fudge, tea tins, and Scotch whiskies to gift to friends and family a taste of Scotland.
  • Celtic-inspired jewellery forged by local Edinburgh jewellers.
  • Framed prints and paintings by Edinburgh artists.

Tips to Maximise Your Edinburgh Christmas Market Visit

With so much to see and do, follow this 1 day itinerary to make the most of your visit:

  1. Start with a coffee and mince pie from the Wee Highland Bakery.
  2. Ride the carousel or ice skate when the market opens to beat crowds.
  3. See the Scottish storytelling show at 11am in the forest huts.
  4. Have a hearty lunch at Cranachan Kitchen. Try the signature cranachan!
  5. Shop for locally made woollens and whisky gifts.
  6. Catch some Scottish music or highland dancing in the evening.
  7. Wander the market at night when Edinburgh Castle is magically lit up.

Even during peak times, use the full market hours from morning to evening to avoid overwhelming crowds. Focus first on what’s important to you, then simply wander and explore the market. Savour a cup of mulled wine and the energy of the Edinburgh Christmas Market!

Experience the Magic of Edinburgh’s Famous Christmas Market

The Edinburgh Christmas Market brings fairy tale charm to this historic city each festive season. From exciting attractions to delectable Scottish foods and gift shopping, it’s a magical event that makes Christmas in Edinburgh a truly unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re travelling with family, friends, or a loved one, our Edinburgh’s Serviced Apartments offer a range of options to add to your Christmas getaway. Situated in the heart of the historic Old Town near Edinburgh Castle, it’s a perfect location to immerse yourself in Edinburgh’s Christmas activities. Wrap up, and come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year at one of Europe’s best Christmas markets! Edinburgh is waiting for you.

clock icon November 3, 2023
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