Scotland is far from bleak, cold, and dark in winter. It’s actually bustling with activity! Towns compete with each other for the best festive decorations, so expect many twinkling high streets. There are also various light exhibitions and fire festivals on throughout winter to brighten up the long nights.
Christmas markets have grown in popularity over the years, and now Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen host decent-sized fairs filled with the festive classics. Hot chocolate or mulled wine are just the things to take the stress out of Christmas shopping don’t you think?
It’s unabashedly that we say that Scots know how to party, so why not ring in the New Year in Scotland? Celebrate “Hogmanay” dancing the night away at a traditional ceilidh (dance), and don’t worry, visitors are more than welcome at local ceilidhs. Many Scottish cities will have big street parties on with organised entertainment which are generally ticketed but worth experiencing as the atmosphere is always great. It doesn’t matter if you’re friends, family, neighbours, or strangers. Everyone comes together on Hogmanay to celebrate. If you are after a really unique experience join one of the fire parades that take place in various Scottish towns and villages on New Year’s Eve.
No need to ask yourself, “what to do in Scotland in winter?”, we’ve got plenty of suggestions below with key events to plan into your itinerary. Updated October 2019.