There really is no better way to spend a chilly winter’s day (or night) than by wandering through a festive winter wonderland.
Scotland is home to some of the best Christmas markets in the whole of the UK.
Ranging from little pop-up street markets selling handmade gifts and local produce, right up to epic city markets with ice rinks, grottos and amusement rides, there’s a market for everyone!
So put on your hat, scarf and gloves, and grab a glass of mulled wine…
It’s time to get into the festive spirit by visiting one of best Christmas markets in Scotland!
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Catherine Taylor.
1. Edinburgh Christmas Market
Address: East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
Let’s jump straight into the deep end with the reigning champion of Christmas markets in Scotland.
Edinburgh Christmas Market is by far the biggest (and in many people’s opinions, also the best!).
For six weeks every year, stepping into East Princes Street Gardens is like stepping into an authentic German market.
Think wooden stalls, lush green wreaths and twinkling lights galore!
First opened in 2003, this market has become iconic for the people of Scotland.
Locals and tourists travel far and wide to experience the festive atmosphere.
Wander between dozens of stalls packed with trinkets and personalised gifts, and food stands serving tasty crepes and yorkshire pudding wraps. (If you know, you know!)
And that’s not to forget all the cosy pop-up bars on site – this is Scotland, after all.
But if you’re looking for a bit more excitement you can always take on a couple of the fairground rides.
Get your adrenaline rushing on the sixty metre high Star Flyer that catapults you through the air, or take a twirl on the beautiful carousel.
However, if good views are what you’re after, head to the top of the Big Wheel for some iconic Edinburgh views.
Or if you’re visiting with kids, they’ll no doubt fall in love with Santa Land in the lower Princes Street Gardens.
With an elf workshop, Christmas tree maze, Santa’s Grotto and a bunch of children’s fair rides, it’s Scotland’s very own answer to the North Pole!
And if you head just around the corner to St Andrew Square, you’ll find a stunning doughnut-shaped ice rink curved around the Melville Monument, and a lodge bar in the middle for spectators.
Maybe don’t have too many drinks before putting your skates on, though…
2. Glasgow George Square Christmas Market
Address: George Square, Glasgow, G2 1DH
Over in Glasgow, you’ll find the second biggest Christmas market in Scotland: Glasgow’s George Square Christmas Market.
Located right in the middle of the city centre, and just beside Queen Street Station, this market is super easy to get to and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
If you’re visiting Glasgow in December, you absolutely have to add the market to your Glasgow itinerary.
Traders from across the world come to exhibit hand-crafted goods that will help you tick off your Christmas shopping list.
(And maybe even pick up a few things for yourself, too…)
And if you’re in the mood for a bit more of a party, Glasgow’s George Square Market is also home to an authentic German bar.
It makes the perfect rustic setting for a few Gluhweins or mulled ciders!
They have live music from day through to night, and the cheery Christmas vibes are hard to beat.
This market strikes the perfect balance between exciting city life and festive cheer, with something for all the family.
Not to mention the decorative lights and 15-metre tall Christmas tree make a cracking Instagram photo!
3. Glasgow St Enoch Christmas Market
Address: St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4BW
Now you might not have known this, but Glasgow is actually home to two Christmas markets each year.
The second of which is St Enoch Christmas Market!
It may be located just a stone’s throw away from George Square, but it has an entirely different feel to it.
Firstly, it’s much smaller in scale and absolutely brimming with charm.
However, the most impressive part of this market is by far the food.
You’ll find a whole host of treats ranging from German bratwurst and hog roasts, all the way to home-baked sweets and original fudges.
It’s a truly international affair with traders from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and even as far as Ecuador and Russia.
You’ll often find this market is less crammed than the George Square Market, making for a more relaxing experience.
St Enoch is also located right at the bottom of the famous Buchanan Street.
So why not extend your Christmas shopping along Scotland’s ‘Style Mile’ and pick up a few bits and pieces from the high street stores?
The whole street is lined with Christmas lights, and House of Fraser goes all out with a festive display and Christmas tree, too.
4. Aberdeen Christmas Village
Address: Broad Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1AG
Phone number: 01224 566291
Aberdeen might be famous for its granite buildings and grey roads, but every winter the city lights up with the red and green glistening lights of Christmas at Aberdeen Christmas Village.
More than 20 stalls by local retailers return to the Community Market Broad Street each year to offer locals and visitors a fantastic selection of goods.
These will not only sort out your Christmas shopping but also support the growth of local businesses!
Here you’ll also find Nativity plays, live music and sometimes dance shows ready to entertain the whole family.
And of course, this wouldn’t be one of the best Christmas markets in Scotland without the fairground rides!
There’s hours of fun for kids and adults alike with an Ice Fun House, Balloon Ride and traditional, famous Helter Skelter.
Continuing the celebration of local talent and produce in Aberdeen, the Christmas Village also incorporates a festive food and drink market where you can choose from dozens of artisan products.
Expect organic growers, craft bakers, specialist confectioners and farm shops bringing you the very best from Aberdeen City and Shire!
I don’t know about you, but there’s always something special about giving or receiving a gift that you know has been locally and ethically made with love.
Shopping local really is the best way to do it!
5. Dundee Ethical Christmas Fair
Address: City Square, Dundee, DD1 3DB
On a similar note, if you’re looking for a more ethical and sustainable Christmas market that still has all the bells and whistles, look no further than Dundee’s Ethical Christmas Fair.
Dundee proudly holds the title of Scotland’s first Fairtrade City, and the council is committed to promoting and raising awareness of Fair Trade.
Showcasing products from both local and international sellers, you’ll find a truly eclectic range of goods from Scotland (obviously), Morocco, South Africa, Peru, Zambia, India and more.
This is a great place to find a truly unique gift this Christmas.
Plus, all profits made by the international traders go towards individual projects in their own communities.
This means you know your money is going towards something truly worthwhile!
City Square is a busy spot in the centre of town, and of course, you’ll find plenty of high street stores surrounding the area for any other bits and bobs you might want to pick up.
You really do get the best of both worlds; an ethical, artistic flair to the festive market scene, as well as all the high street classics!
6. Perth International Christmas Market
Address: High Street, Perth, PH2 1SF
Kicking things off with a grand Christmas lights switch on – usually with a couple of celebrity guests and a cracking fireworks display – Perth’s globally-inspired market is home to a fantastic selection of food, drink and artistic gifts.
If you happen to be in the area in late November, Perth is host to the Festival of Chocolate.
A delightfully sweet way to kick off the winter festivities!
Watch chocolatiers create masterpieces and stock up on some of the best chocolate in town – they’ll make some great stocking fillers!
And if you’re looking for something for your little four-legged friend, for one day each year there’s a Christmas Barket.
Yep, that’s right, a Christmas market specifically for dogs!
Can you think of anything more wholesome?
Stalls full of doggy products and treats, live acoustic sets (for the humans to enjoy) and even a visit from Santa Paws!
There’s also the Festive Feast, featuring an edible map of Perth and Kinross, as well as the Great Perthshire Soup Competition and Bakers Parade.
So if you’re looking for variety, Perth has got you covered!
Just make sure you check the dates and book your tickets in advance.
7. Inverness Eden Court Christmas Market
Address: Eden Court, Bishops Road, Inverness, IV3 5SA
For a small city, Inverness’s Eden Court Christmas Market certainly packs a Christmas punch.
Over 100 producers set up their beautiful exhibitions (usually over two separate weekends) to display a fine range of produce.
Expect everything from patisseries, charcuterie, chocolates and preserves, to crafted goods, silver jewellery, tweed clothing, candles and stoneware.
It’s quite a traditional market with a lot of classic, upmarket goods.
(The kind that would really impress your mum and dad on Christmas day!)
But with each year that goes past, there seems to be more and more of a variety of goods to suit all ages and tastes.
At this location, you’ll also be able to find traditional Christmas pantomimes and shows in the atmospheric Eden Court Theatre.
And let’s be honest, there really is no better time to visit the theatre than at Christmas.
So, embrace the cringe of the Panto and get ready to sing, clap and dance along!
8. St Andrews’ Balgove Larder Christmas Night Market
Address: Strathtyrum Farm, St Andrews, KY16 9SF
Phone number: 01334 898145
Balgove Larder Christmas Night Market is a special little addition to the festive market scene and quite coveted, too, as it only appears for two nights each year!
The market is situated on the grounds of Strathtyrum Farm just outside St Andrews.
However, it’s very easy to get to on public transport – just hop on a bus for five minutes or grab a taxi!
The short journey is worth it as the quiet little wooden barn transforms into a cosy, rustic venue filled with plenty of Christmas goods.
You’ll find a wood-fired BBQ and local food trucks selling some of the best scran in the area, all with the wonderful backing track of live music.
The experience is so far from the overcrowded, buzzing shops and markets!
Instead, it’s a calming, relaxed environment where you can wander around with a drink in hand and pick up some classy gifts.
Think hand poured candles, cosy woollen goods and locally made spirits galore!
It’s a real celebration of local talent in handcrafted goods, produce, food, drink and music.
So why not join in the feasting and fun?
9. Oban Winter Festival
Address: Corran Halls, Oban, PA34 5AB
Over on the West Coast of Scotland, Oban Winter Festival is a ten-day event jam-packed with seasonal fun that celebrates the unique culture of this little part of the country.
It’s celebrated right through the town incorporating local pubs and other venues, as well as pop up markets, local theatres and independent shops.
From beautiful ballet, gin and whiskey tasting, and candle-lit choir services, all the way to the more niche end of the festive scale like a clootie dumpling competition, hat parade and even ‘Haggisfest’, you’re sure to be kept busy in this exciting, unique festival.
And of course, there’s the market at Corran Halls.
Filled with local food and craft stalls, live entertainment and even face painting, there’s plenty to do here too!
Additionally, there’s the more traditional Victorian Market over at Perle Hotel where you’ll find a delightful selection of gifts to browse.
With haggis hurling and surprise performances around every corner, you might think this festival sounds a bit mad.
It’s certainly a festive Scottish experience to remember!
10. Traquair House Christmas Fair
Address: Traquair House, Innerleithen, EH44 6PW
Phone number: 01896 830323
Stepping into the walls of Traquair House and Grounds, Scotland’s oldest inhabited house, is like stepping into a true Victorian Christmas.
Each year the house opens its doors for visitors and locals for its Christmas Fair.
Lucky visitors get to walk amongst the grand halls traditionally decorated with wreaths, mantle dressings, Christmas trees and old-fashioned stockings.
Visit the 18th Century Dining Room and High Drawing Room and experience what Christmas might have looked like for the Victorians.
It’s an unexpected way to get in a little bit of Scottish history as well as festive fun!
There are performances from local choirs and silver bands, playing beautiful music that echoes from the courtyard and chapel right through the halls of the house.
It just can’t help but get you into the Christmas spirit!
You’ll also find Victorian puppet shows, chestnut roasting and a small selection of market stalls to wander around.
Not to mention the heart-warming home-cooked lunches to enjoy.
No street food here, folks – this is a traditional Christmas!
11. Drumlanrig Castle Christmas Fair
Address: Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway, DG3 4AQR
Phone number: 01848 331 555
Have you ever seen an actual castle lit up entirely in red and green for Christmas?
No? Well, Drumlanrig Castle is the place to find it.
Each year the castle is spectacularly decorated with festive cheer for the Drumlanrig Castle Christmas Fair, complete with an impressive marquee hosting one of the best indoor Christmas markets in Scotland.
With more than 40 different food and craft stalls, and plenty of on-site entertainment, this has to be one of the grandest Christmas markets in Scotland.
They have everything from horse and cart rides to Santa’s Grotto to choir services in the estate grounds!
It’s a truly magical setting that welcomes you in to join in the festive fun.
And if you happen to catch it on a snowy day, the sights are truly spectacular!
But don’t worry, as there’s a fantastic selection of warming food and drink to keep you going throughout your visit.
And to add to the fun, there’s even a 5K Santa Jog around the estate which can be quite the spectacle.
Yep, that’s right, hundreds of runners dressed in Santa suits rushing towards the finish line!
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you happened to pack your trainers then why not join in?
You’ll more than deserve a couple of mulled wines at the end of it, that’s for sure!
So there you have it: the 11 best Christmas markets in Scotland!
Scotland has everything from your traditional Victorian Christmas, to your German-inspired markets, right the way through to more progressive, ethical fairs.
But which one will you be visiting this Christmas?