December is here, and it’s officially acceptable to put up your Christmas tree. With the Christmas markets staying for the month and the city fully livening up just in time for Christmas, there are plenty of exciting events happening around the Scottish capital. So, hold onto your mulled wines, because we’ve gathered a sensational list of terrific things to do in Edinburgh this December.
1. Indulge in striking cocktails at the freshly refurbished Copper Blossom
For those looking for some seriously good cocktails and swanky decor, Copper Blossom is the place to be. Having just reopened at the end of November with a brand new look, the spot offers a whole new level of cocktails accompanied by small plates perfect for sharing. What is more, Copper Blossom is inviting guests for a wee Christmassy feast, starting from £23.95 for a two-course meal between Mondays and Wednesdays, and £28.95 during the rest of the week.
This festive season, get merry and immerse yourself in the holiday feels by enjoying seasonal music meticulously performed under twinkling candlelight. A special performance of our favourite Christmas movie soundtracks like Home Alone and Love Actually will be the theme of the concert, where a string quartet will give the famous tunes an exceptional remake. The experience will take place at Nicholson Square on December 16 and 21. You can book your tickets here.
Christmas at the Botanics is back for another year, and this time, hosting Edinburgh favourites such as the tunnel of sparkling lights, the colourful projection onto the front of Inverleith House and the captivating Christmas Cathedral, brand new light installations will be unravelled throughout. The one-mile trail is running between November 16 and December 30, taking guests on a magical journey filled with festive joy and childhood wonder. Christmas at the Botanics attracted around 90,000 visitors last year, and the trail will certainly remain a hit this year.
The good old days have been brought back to NQ64 Edinburgh, an arcade game bar with all the nostalgic feels and more: from classic arcade games to old-school consoles, the neon-lit spot is a true treat. Located on Lothian Road near Usher Hall, NQ64 Edinburgh takes visitors back in time with its time capsule-like bar concept. The space is dotted with arcade games throughout and even has a separate wee room for Guitar Hero. Moreover, one of the best parts of NQ64 is that you can sip on creative, game-themed cocktails while bashing those buttons in a competitive strike with your mate. You don’t need to book, just turn up, buy some tokens and you’re good to go, however, they are also taking Christmas bookings for the time being.
Encore, a Moulin Rouge-inspired late-night speakeasy bar within the Parisian-style, West End Brasserie restaurant, is opening its doors this December. Guests can expect a laid-back and bouncing atmosphere, offering live music and performances. Try out the Bohemian-style cocktail menu that will remind guests of visiting the French capital’s most iconic neighbourhoods.
The award-winning musical Wicked is flying back to Edinburgh Playhouse for six weeks from Tuesday, December 7, 2023 to Sunday, January 14, 2024. The world-famous West End and Broadway musical phenomenon, tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz and is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. Wicked imagines the backstory and future possibilities in the lives of beloved characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and reveals the decisions and events that shape the destinies of two unlikely university friends on their journey to becoming Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
This winter, snowfall will dust the oriental paradise of Tattu Edinburgh and the restaurant’s cherry blossoms will shimmer and sparkle alongside projections of the artic sky on the walls to create an immersive dining experience known as The Great Snow this festive season. This December, Tattu will be bringing winter to Edinburgh minus the drop in temperature and allowing guests to step into an enchanted winter scene and be transported to China’s northernmost point, Mohe, nicknamed China’s ‘Arctic town’. You can expect to feel fully immersed in the Northern Lights as you enjoy a festive meal, while the restaurant’s wall art comes to life with a dazzling show of The Aurora Borealis.
As the first year in a long time with the festivities in full swing, the excitement for the upcoming season can be sensed in the air as you walk through the streets of Edinburgh. The nostalgic traditions of Christmas markets that come back every year have us in our festive feels, as well as provide something to look forward to in the dark days. While it wouldn’t be a Christmas without visiting the main Edinburgh Christmas market, there are still plenty of charming Christmas markets to visit around Edinburgh. The main market will run between November 17 and January 6 and will see its traditional locations on Princes Street, West Princes Street Gardens and George Street.
Other noteworthy markets to visit are the Jupiter Christmas Fair at Jupiter Artland on December 3 & 4, the Leith Christmas Brewery Market on December 17 & 18, and the Leith Witchcraft Market on December 10. And to check out our list of the best Christmas markets in Edinburgh, click here.
Castle of Light: A Kingdom of Colours is going to bring a whole new side to the famous Edinburgh landmark with a cheerful light trail within the castle grounds. Castle of Light will run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November 24 until January 3, excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Bursting with colour and spectacular illuminations, guests will be able to witness the Magic and Mystery theme throughout the 60-minute light trail, such as kaleidoscope patterns on St Margaret’s Chapel.
10. Attend a Queen-themed bingo rave
The infamous Bongo’s Bingo is hosting festive Queen-themed Bongo’s Will Rock You shows at Edinburgh’s 02 Academy. If you’ve never been to a bingo rave before, it’s as crazy as it sounds, where chaos meets organised rebellion in the form of an honest game of bingo. Guests can expect all of Queen’s biggest hits and loads of all-time Christmas classics, as well as crazy prizes and dance-offs. The remaining dates for December are 21, 30 and New Year’s Eve, helping ravers to see out the year, Bongo’s Bingo style.
It’s official, Edinburgh Hogmanay is back with the iconic Street Party to welcome in 2024 with a bang in the city centre. Expect DJ soundtracks, giant screens, funfair attractions and a complete selection of street food & drink throughout the arena. What is more, around 40,000 visitors from around the world are expected to attend the event, so come early!
We have found the perfect spot for all your meaty, dessert and cocktail needs, and it’s Gordon Ramsay Bread Street Kitchen & Bar. Located at St Andrew Square, Bread Street Kitchen & Bar is a place of effortless splendour, where classic British cuisine meets modern signature touches. If you’re there for the signature Beef Wellington experience or to indulge in the large cuts, the portions are generous and are created to be shared. However, the spot is also offering festive menus this December. Indulge in a three-course festive set menu for £40 per person, including a traditional roast turkey. Festive cocktails are also up for grabs, such as the Cognac Mulled Wine with Martell VS Cognac, winter spices, mulled red wine, or the Christmas Peach with Monkey 47 Black Forest Gin, Peach Liqueur, orange, cranberry.