The Scots certainly know how to celebrate, and the festive season is no exception. Although Christmas in Scotland was banned for almost 400 years and Christmas Day didn’t become a holiday until 1958, the country is more than making up for it now.
Scotland is famous for its Hogmanay (New Year) celebrations, but with a wide range of things to see and do across the country it would be a mistake to miss Scotland at Christmas time…
For a full listing of Christmas events across Scotland visit: https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/events/christmas-winter-festivals/
Yes, reindeer in Scotland! The Cairngorm Reindeer are Britain’s only free-ranging herd of reindeers. Visitors can travel to Aviemore, in the Highlands of Scotland, where they will find the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre. A reindeer herder will guide visitors up the mountain enclosure, to spot the reindeer and share facts about the animals and their natural habitat. Afterwards, visitors can take a walk around the nearby Craigellachie National Nature Reserve for unmissable winter views of the snow-capped Cairngorm mountains making this the perfect festive trip.
Northern Scotland, which lies on the same latitude as Stavanger in Norway and Nunivak Island in Alaska, is a great place to see the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis. Winter means darker evenings making it one of the best times of the year to catch a glimpse of the auroral displays. A clear night and minimum light pollution are needed to experience one of nature’s marvels. Some of the best spots are Aberdeenshire, Shetland, the Outer Hebrides and Galloway Forest Park – the only Dark Sky park in Scotland.
In the run up to Christmas, towns across Scotland welcome the arrival of Christmas markets and undergo a sparkly makeover. Market-goers can warm themselves up with some Yuletide drinks or perhaps the classic Scottish winter warmer: whisky. They can treat themselves to some festive treats from many of the European stalls before browsing the selection of unique shopping items. Many towns also host Christmas events and this year Edinburgh’s Christmas will feature a brand new event, ‘Silent Light’, a silent disco underneath a light installation that will be synchronised to music!
When the snow falls Scotland is the place to be. There are four great outdoor ski resorts to choose from, that aren’t too far from the country’s main cities. Visitors can hit the city before hitting the slopes! From Dundee is Glenshee Ski Centre while Glencoe Mountain is reachable from Glasgow. In the rare event that the country’s pistes don’t see any snow there are plenty of indoor and artificial ski centres such as the Aberdeen Snowsports Centre and the Midlothian Snowsports Centre in Edinburgh.
Winter in Scotland is a definitely a sight to behold. The snow-capped mountain tops and the frosted landscapes turn the country into a winter wonderland. Among this break-taking scenery is some great winter wildlife – look out for red squirrels, red deer, stags and mountain hares. If that wasn’t enough, Scottish towns are transformed by the addition of the glittering Christmas lights, putting anyone in the festive spirit.
Còsagach is an old Gaelic word for feeling snug and cosy; Scotland is the perfect place for a cosy, sheltered and warm winter escape. As the nights become darker and the weather colder, visitors can enjoy roaring fireplaces, heart-warming food, hot toddies and a friendly welcome. With the perfect winter Còsagach stay to be found all around the country, visitors can choose from magical winter castle stays or cosy log cabins, enjoy a meal made from the best Scottish produce and relax with a dram by an open fire or a coffee in a cosy café.