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Alternative festive fun: ten quirky Christmas activities in Edinburgh

Summerhall Christmas Market
Summerhall Christmas Market

You've had your last payday before Christmas, the European markets are in full swing and the big day is now less than a month away. Don't fancy shopping on the high street or facing the crowded markets? Here are some quirkier Christmas events going on around Edinburgh to help you get in the festive spirit this December.

Festive vintage and craft fairs

Out of the Blue Drill Hall will be holding two Christmas Arts Markets with more than 100 artists and designers selling their wares , letting you buy artwork and crafts direct from the makers. They'll also be holding an open studios event running alongside the market, giving you the opportunity to meet some of those based at the venue, on December 5, and a Christmas Bruncheon featuring live music and festive treats on December 12.
December 5 and 12, 11am-5pm, Out of the Blue Drill Hall.

Out of the Blue Drill Hall

The 3D2D Craft, Art and Design Fair comes to The Assembly Rooms and will be bringing contemporary arts, crafts and design-work from across the UK. Your tickets will get you into the event all weekend too so you can come and go as you please.
December 5 and 6, 10.30am-5pm, The Assembly Rooms.

3D2D Craft, Art and Design Fair

Summerhall, just off the Meadows, are hosting their annual Summerhall Christmas Market with more stalls more stalls than ever before. Expect a huge range of gifts and treats for family and friends, food from guest vendors, traditional gluhwein from the venue's bar and Zoom club activities to occupy the kids. There'll also be live entertainment with festive songs from the Summerhall Singers.
December 13, 11am-5pm, Summerhall.

Summerhall Christmas Market

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, Britain's largest vintage fair, will be back in town and returning to The Assembly Rooms. They'll be bringing fashion, accessories, menswear, home wares, hair and beauty to George Street.
December 13, 11am-4pm, The Assembly Rooms. 

Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair

Edinburgh Printmakers are also holding their annual Christmas Market where you can shop for jewellery, prints, books cards and textiles all from local artists and makers. You can get in the festive mood with music and treats while supporting Edinburgh's creative community. The venue will also be hosting a Christmas Shoppers' Weekend on December 19-20 where you can purchase artwork and gifts at discounted prices.
December 13, 11am-5pm, Edinburgh Printmakers, 23 Union Street.

Edinburgh Printmakers

Music and entertainment

The Castle Chorus will be singing carols from around the world in their festive concert. The show will also feature medieval tunes and secular winter-themed songs. If the carols don’t warm your heart then there will be mince pies and mulled wine too. 
December 13, 5-6pm, Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge.

Castle Chorus

Neu Reekie
's Xmas Kracker, an evening of poetry, animation and music, comes to Central Hall in Tollcross with a line-up including Liz Lochhead, Irvine Welsh, White and Hector Bizerk. This Christmas special is in association with The Big Issue - if you have a copy with you when purchasing tickets at the Summerhall box office you’ll get them for the concession price, for a limited time. 
December 17, 6-11pm, Central Hall.

Hector Bizerk

Edinburgh's Drive-in Movie Spectacular is happening at The Royal Highland Centre and will be bringing Scotland's largest outdoor cinema to the city. Christmas classics including 'Home Alone', 'Elf', 'Frozen' and of course 'Die Hard' will all be available to watch on the (very) big screen.
December 19-23, The Royal Highland Centre.



Edinburgh has created its own giant advent calendar with the 24 Doors of Advent. On each day, a building around the city will open its doors. These are locations that are usually closed to the public and that's not even the best part - it’s all free.
December 1-24, various venues.

Edinburgh Gin Distillery

Edinburgh Gin Distillery

The Torchlight Procession is the opening of the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebration. Up to 30,000 people will walk the procession from George IV Bridge, illuminating the city with thousands of torches, before heading up Carlton Hill for a firework display finale.
December 30, George IV Bridge.

Torchlight Procession

Lloyd Smith

See Time Out's guide to Christmas in Edinburgh.