Five of the best Christmas markets in Scotland

Looking to get into the Christmas spirit? Well, there can be few better ways than soaking up the sights, sounds and fun of Scotland's Christmas markets.

Published 13th Nov 2017
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

As the big day is nearly upon us, it’s the perfect time to ditch the hustle and bustle of retail shopping and instead enjoy something a little more traditional.

Scotland is playing host to a multitude of Christmas markets over the next two months, offering everything from home-made crafts and seasonal produce to traditional Scottish cuisine and European street food. We take a look at just a few worth visiting this festive season.

Edinburgh Christmas Markets

(18th November - 6th January 2018, 10am until 10pm, East Princes St Gardens, EH2 2HG)

Picture: TSPL

Scotland's most famous Christmas Market once again returns to East Princes St Gardens with a whole host of seasonal fun and unique shopping experiences.

Bespoke Christmas items, traditional food and drink and festive experiences await as the European Market returns with its crafters, artists, gift shops and gastronomic delights.

Close by you'll also find Santa Land, an outdoor ice skating rink and a fairground meaning there is a variety of entertainment and experiences for everyone to enjoy.

(17th November - 24th December 2017, George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PF)

There will be not one but two markets this year in the capital as the traditional Christmas market makes it's way to George Street.

Offering traditional stalls and plenty of festive fare, this new market will be the perfect accompaniment for the original German market in the Princes Street Gardens. You can also embark on an Ice Adventure with the immersive walk-through experience nearby.

The Glasgow Christmas Markets

(9th November - 22nd December, Mon - Wed 10am - 8pm, Thurs - Sat 10am - 9pm, Sun - 10am - 7pm (bar area closes at 9pm),  St Enoch's Square, Glasgow) 

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Glasgow's Christmas Market at St George's Square. Picture: Flickr
Glasgow's Christmas Market at St George's Square. Picture: Flickr

Glasgow's Continental Christmas Market opens this month in the city's St Enoch's square, bringing the best of traders and stalls from all over Europe.

Featuring traditional flavours and produce from countries like France, Germany and Italy, there are also guests from further afield (including a special visitor from the Finnish part of Lapland).

Try Gluwhein from the wonderful Gluhwein House, operated by Markus Kochems from the Mosel valley, or grab some continental beers from the Bavarian bars.

(25th November - 29th December, Mon - Sun 10am - 10pm, Closed Christmas Day, George Square)

This year also sees double the fun, as a second market arrives in George Square (sadly no open air ice skating this year though) offering the additional fun of live entertainment, the big wheel and funfair rides.

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This year on 3rd December you can also check out the Urban Christmas Market at Drygate with loads of fun stalls for buying Christmas gifts beer and food to take the stress out of high street shopping.

Perth Winter Wonderland

(Several dates over November and December, City Centre, Perth)

During November and December, Perth's city streets are transformed into a winter wonderland and the perfect place to indulge in some festive fun.

As well as its eclectic range of independent shops and cafes, Perth is hosting several traditional Christmas markets where you can pick up something that can’t be found on the high street. Their Alpine chalet-style stalls and heated marquee is perfect for the December weather and makes browsing the freshly-cooked artisan street foods stalls with a glass of mulled wine that bit more enjoyable.

Make sure to grab your Santa hat and join in the spectacle of the Santa run, which takes place in the city on the 9th of December, and keep an eye out for Pitlochry's Christmas Tree Festival if you want to enjoy that Yuletide feeling early - though dates for this year's event have yet to be confirmed they usually happen on the 2nd and 3rd of December and this year, Pitlochry Church of Scotland's own Christmas Tree will be a collection of items to help those who are homeless at Christmas. They would welcome donations of Hats, Gloves, Scarves, Blankets and Sleeping Bags.

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Aberdeen Christmas Village

(Friday 17 November - Sunday 31 December, Monday - Friday, 12pm - 10pm, Sat - Sun, 10am - 10pm, Broad Street, AB10 1AB)

The Aberdeen Christmas Village returns for its third year, bigger than ever with a number of market stalls in the quadrangle at Marischal College, offering stocking fillers such as traditional wooden toys, crafts and confectionary and German treats like Bratwurst and great beer, there will also be a series of events and parades on Union Street, an open air ice rink, fairground rides and a carol service.

Picture: Aberdeen City Council

FINE Christmas Food and Drink Market

(Thursday 23 November, 6pm - 9pm, Friday 24, Saturday 25 November, 10am - 6pm, Sunday 26 November, 12pm - 8.30pm, Marischal College)

The FINE Christmas Food and Drink market will be celebrating all of the best produce from Aberdeen and the North East, with a diverse collection of exciting and innovative producers such as organic growers to distillers, farm shops and craft bakers, specialist tea and coffee merchants, bespoke luxury confectioners, chutneys, seasonal pickles, sauces and oils.

There will also be a number of additional markets: 

Christmas German market (Jäger Haus) - Union Square - Saturday 9 November - Thursday 4 January 2018, 11am - 10pm (food served 11am - 9pm )

Belmont Street Market - Saturday 25 November and Saturday's 2, 9, 16, 23 December, 9am - 3pm

Etsy Made Local – Aberdeen Foyer Restaurant and Gallery - Friday 1 - Sunday 3 December, 11am - 4.30pm - Thistle Street Market

Glamis Castle Christmas Market

(8th, 9th and 10th of December 2017, 10:30am - 5:00pm, Glamis Castle, Angus)

For two days in September Glamis Castle is transformed into the fairytale setting for a Christmas wonderland. Picture: Wikimedia
For two days in September Glamis Castle is transformed into the fairytale setting for a Christmas wonderland. Picture: Wikimedia

Celebrate Christmas in a fairytale setting with this magical market on the castle grounds, immensely talented crafters showcase their wares (perfect for a last minute spot of Christmas shopping) while local producers lay on some delicious food and drink.

Tour the castle, visit Santa's Grotto or enjoy a unique drive-in screenings of Elf and Home Alone.


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