Christmas Markets have become an integral part of the festive season. Here's a few of Scotland's best.
Edinburgh's Christmas Market
With its grotto bars and endless line of street food stalls, the Edinburgh market is still the reigning king of Scottish Christmas fairs. Its Winter Windows return, featuring stained glass windows designed by young artists from across the city, while the Johnny Walker Bothy Bar will once again feature a range of delicious drinks to fend off the winter chill. While it has now been shorn of the ice rink, the sheer scale of Edinburgh's market combined with its picturesque setting makes it a must for Christmas market fans - and if the kids are looking for some excitement, it still features fairground rides. It all kicks off on Sunday 17 November with the switching on of the lights – an event which amassed a crowd of some 20,000 folk last year.
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Glasgow's St Enoch and George's Square Markets
Boasting two separate markets within a stone's throw of one another, Glasgow is set to be crammed with festive cheer once again come Christmas time. The St Enoch market features a range of gastronomical treats, from German bratwurst to locally-sourced crispy duck, a traditional hog roast, home-baked sweets and cakes and mulled ciders to warm your bones. Over at George Square, 50 traders from across the world can help round out your Christmas shopping with hand-crafted goods. The authentic German bar provides a perfect woody wonderland for a drink or if you’re after something more hair-raising, try the Helter Skelter slide.
Aberdeen Christmas Village
The Granite City's Christmas village drives away the winter grey and replaces it with a shining sea of red and green, sure to raise the spirits of even the Scroogiest Christmas shoppers. Its open-air ice rink is the perfect place to create Christmas memories, whether you're gliding romantically across the freeze or tumbling about trying to keep your pride intact. Once you're done, the village also harbours a whole selection of places to warm up with a bite and a drink. After you've recharged, you can head off towards the fairground rides or swing by Santa's Grotto.
Dundee's Crafted Christmas Market
Dundee's Crafted Christmas Market brings together 30 of the most talented craftspeople from across Scotland for a market unlike any other. Featuring wares from some of the country's finest jewellery makers, illustrators, homeware designers and more, you're sure to find a unique gift for even the most difficult name on your Christmas shopping list. Fully embracing the city's identity as an arts town, Crafted gives Dundee a market that's well worth swinging by - even after you've had your fill of German food and fairground rides elsewhere.
Oban's Winter Festival
Oban's winter wonderland also kicks off with a big lights switch-on - this one accompanied by the man in red himself and some of his reindeer friends. After that it's pretty much all go, with a whole host of seasonal offerings to enjoy. Given Oban's reputation for top-class whisky, it makes sense that the Distillery Markets make for one of its biggest winter attractions. It also promises live music, face-painting and hot soup. The Victorian Market boasts a wide range of handmade gifts, while Corran Halls Market features a feast of locally-produced food and drink. If you still have any room after all that, there's also a competition to find the finest clootie dumpling.
Stirling’s Christmas Market
Stirling’s market promises to provide “a wide variety of gorgeous gifts to suit all budgets and tastes”, which makes it a go-to for anyone struggling to cross off some of the names on their Christmas list. For those looking to get more hands-on, the market also includes a variety of workshops which can teach you how to make a traditional Christmas wreath, the proper way to set a table and how to make your Xmas invites shine with the help of a little calligraphy.
Once you’ve got all that down, you can retire to Rusty’s Piano Bar to enjoy a drink and some live music.
Perth’s International Christmas Market
This globally-minded market transforms Perth’s High Street into a winter wonderland lined with cosy wooden stalls housing a whole range of goods. It all begins with the big light switch-on, complete with celebrity guests and a sky-scorching fireworks display. Later on, the market plays host to a Festive Feast featuring a fully-edible map of Perth and Kinross, the annual Great Perthshire Soup Competition, and the traditional bakers parade. Then there is the small matter of the Gin & Chocolate Festival…
Inverness’s Eden Christmas Craft & Food Fair
Split across two weekends, the Inverness fair will see over a hundred producers take to Eden Hall to show off their wares. From patisseries, cheeses and charcuterie to chocolates, tablets and preserves, everything at the market is expertly made. Beyond the food stalls, there is a whole range of crafted goods - from silver jewellery to tweed accessories, clothing and photography to candles and stoneware. Whether you’re looking to score some unique gifts or just spend an afternoon perusing exquisitely well-made things, the Eden Christmas Fair is the perfect place for an easy winter wander.