Christmas events Edinburgh 2020: all the festive light displays, Santa’s Grottos and winter festivities coming to Scotland's capital this year

Edinburgh Christmas market may be cancelled this year due to coronavirus restrictions, but there’s still plenty going on in the capital which all the family can get involved with

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 12:34 pm

From Botanical Gardens and Santa’s Grotto to an enchanted forest, here are six magical events taking place over the Christmas period in and around the city.

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Arboretum Pl, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ

Christmas at the Botanics allows visitors to wander beneath diverse tree canopies, with the experience enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics (Photo: Shutterstock)
Christmas at the Botanics allows visitors to wander beneath diverse tree canopies, with the experience enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics (Photo: Shutterstock)

Christmas at the Botanics allows visitors to wander beneath diverse tree canopies, with the experience enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics.

From lines of light in the laser garden, to giant luminescent sculptures set amongst the backdrop of the night sky, and giant baubles and snowflakes dotted around, there’s plenty to feast your eyes on.

Inverleith House will come to life with beams of light dancing across its exterior and the tunnel of light returning once again.

This is an evening event that takes place after the Garden closes, and is an outdoor trail which does not include entry into the Glasshouses.

Dates: 26 November to 3 January (closed 30 Nov, 1, 7, 8, 25, 31 Dec and 1 Jan).

Ticket price: Advance tickets - adult from £19, child from £13, family (2 adults, 2 children) from £60. Children under 4 and carers go free. Tickets will be dearer on the day.

For more information and to buy tickets visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh website.

Dalkeith Country Park, Via King’s Gate Dalkeith, Edinburgh, EH22 1ST

Santa and his elves will be making an appearance at Dalkeith Country Park this year.

Children will be able to meet Santa and get a free (socially distanced) photo with him, alongside receiving a gift. As part of the package you’ll also get free entry into Fort Douglas on the same day.

It’s worth noting that this year’s Santa’s Grotto will be socially distanced, so Santa will be two metres away from you and your children to help keep everyone safe.Dates: 28 November to 23 Dec 2020

Price: Loyalty Cardholder - £14.00. Non-Loyalty Cardholder - £17.50.

Dalkeith Country Park, Via King’s Gate Dalkeith, Edinburgh, EH22 1ST.

Dates: 5 December 2020 - 3 January 2021

The Spectacle of Light, also located at Dalkeith Country Park, allows visitors to follow the illuminated trail, which will go across the winding river with pixie lanterns reflected in the water below.

Enjoy Fort Douglas lit up against the starry backdrop of the night sky, siping mulled wine and hot chocolate as you go.

Tickets: Adult - advance tickets: £15.30, on the day: £18. Child (3 - 15) - advance tickets: £7.65, on the day: £9. Family (2 adults, 2 children) - advance tickets: £39.10, on the day: £46. Under 3s and disabled carers go free.

Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow EH49 6PL

Dates: 4 December 2020 to 24 Dec 2020

Beecraigs Festive Forest features one of the UK’s most powerful laser shows and superb lighting effects.

Set deep within the woods of Beecraigs Country Park, near Linlithgow, it offers panoramic views over the Forth bridges, Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife.

Follow a 1.8km trail through the forest where you will be able to see festive illuminations, special effects and sounds brought to you by one of the country’s most innovative lighting design specialists.

There’s also seated areas with warming stations and refreshments along the way. The Forest is open from 4pm - 10pm, with last entry at 8.30pm.

Tickets: Event Entry & Illumination Trail Experience - Adults (16+) £17 + booking fee, Children (4-15) £12 + booking fee, Family Ticket £55 - 2 Adults & 2 Children, Babies & Toddlers (0-3) Free.

Dalkeith Country Park, Via King’s Gate Dalkeith, Edinburgh, EH22 1ST.

Dates: 16-24 December

The Parking Lot Social will allow a variety of Chritsmas fun to be enjoyed from the comfort of your socially-distant car.

This event features pantomime, Christmas movies, ‘The Big Christmas Night Out’ and even a 60ft tall rainbow coloured Christmas tree.

This year’s Parking Lot Social will see families able to enjoy the thrill of the theatre from their own car, with a Parking Lot Panto production of Cinderella.

Tickets: Prices vary depending on activity. Visit The Parking Lot Social website for more information.

Edinburgh’s Christmas 2020 - online

The City of Edinburgh Council and event producers, Underbelly, recently announced that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and Covid-19 restrictions, that any sort of event which could attract a gathering, including market stalls, rides and all other attractions, will be avoided.

However, the focus will instead move to celebrating Edinburgh’s Christmas 2020 online.

Further details of the revised plans will be announced in due course.

On Twitter, Edinburgh’s Christmas posted: “We are currently exploring an online programme for families and everyone to enjoy from home. Keep your eyes on our social channels for all of our future Edinburgh’s Christmas updates!”