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Days out: So here it is! Festive fun for everyone

© Shutterstock / Lee WalkerEdinburgh at Christmas.
Edinburgh at Christmas.

Looking for the perfect way to end 2022? Then it’s time to start planning a fabulous festive season.

From Christmas markets and Santa’s grottos to light shows and sledging, there’s plenty of family days to keep you busy this month…

Castle of Light: A Kingdom of Colours

Selected dates until Dec 30

See Edinburgh Castle light up in a festive spectacle of colour. Enjoy a mesmerising experience in one of Scotland’s most iconic castles with state-of-the-art visuals and lighting installations.

An all-new and expanded show will create truly unmissable moments as extraordinary projections dance from the castle walls.

Beecraigs Festive Forest

Until Dec 23

Head to Beecraigs Country Park, near Linlithgow, to enjoy a light show complete with lasers, illuminated trails and Santa’s grotto.


Until Dec 24

Enjoy a celebration of Christmas at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Skate under the stars on Scotland’s biggest ice rink, with a magical music and light show and festive food and drink to enjoy.

Perth Winter Festival

Until Dec 31

From street performers to magicians, Santa runs to festive silent discos, there is plenty to see. There will also be live music, stalls with artisan markets and wintry food and drink.

Irn-Bru Carnival

(Dec 23-Jan 15)

Europe’s largest indoor funfair. It’s a great thing to do in Glasgow in December. The carnival has it all – from children’s fairground rides, games, stalls and prizes, to an inflatable play area, giant slide and delicious food. This carnival is fantastic fun for the little and the big kids among us!

Believe at M&D’s Theme Park

Until Dec 24

From festive storytelling to meeting the man of the hour, you’ll feel fabulously festive after a family trip to M&D’s. Ride the Italian carousel, walk round Santa’s grotto – and there’s a Santa train ride, ice rink and circus at the park too.

Irn Bru Carnival Festival in Glasgow

Callendar House

Callendar House in Falkirk has been transformed into a winter wonderland with beautiful traditional festive décor including a 15ft Christmas tree, sourced from Callendar Estate.

Visit the Georgian kitchen, enjoy a festive afternoon tea in the tearoom and let the kids’ enjoy the winter weather in the playpark before burning off some more energy on a walk round the grounds.

Christmas at the Botanics

Until Dec 30

One of the top things to do in Edinburgh in December, with the chance to wander round the capital’s 70 acres of majestic gardens in the dark, magically lit up with light features such as the Tunnel Of Light, Laser Garden, Festive Flotilla of glowing boats and Scented Fire Garden.

There’s music, mulled wine, hot chocolate, festive foods and fire-pits to gather round. We highly recommend it!

What better and more memorable way to enjoy Scotland’s beautiful outdoors in the winter than a husky sledge ride?

Scotland has a number of husky centres where you can meet the dogs and go for a sledge ride, or even have a full-day experience with professional racers where you help to train the dogs. Snow is not essential.

Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

Home to about 150 free-ranging reindeer, check out the best spot to meet these friendly characters in their natural habitat.

Surrounded by tinsel and decorations, Santa will be there keeping an eye on his reindeer and there are crafting activities you can try, too.

You could also head to the nearby Highland Wildlife Park, where you’ll see polar bears, reindeer, Arctic foxes, snow leopards and many more.

Get into the spirit at festive markets: Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh; Glasgow’s St Enoch’s Square and George Square; Aberdeen’s Christmas village; Glamis Castle with Santa’s grotto.