Christmas 2011 events in Glasgow and Edinburgh

Christmas 2011: Key Events

Our round-up of some of the best festive fodder including markets, fairs and carol concerts


To find prezzies with an individual feel or just some tasty treats, head out to a Christmas fair near you. In Glasgow, there’s the St Enoch Square annual market (from 20 Nov) and Country Living Magazine’s Christmas Fair, with homemade food and drink from 200 exhibitors (SECC, 17–20 Nov, 10am, £9.50). Queen’s Park Church will have stalls and a festive tearoom at its community fair (26 Nov, 11.30am, 50p) whilst the nearby Church on the Hill offers a Winter Wine Fair in December (4 Dec, 2pm, £10).

Edinburgh will have its traditional German Christmas Market at the Mound Precinct (24 Nov–24 Dec). Castle Street hosts the Real Scottish Christmas Fair (3 Dec–8 Dec), and plugs fairtrade foods at the Ethical Christmas Fair (10 Dec–18 Dec). The Highland Village Christmas Market starts in East Princes Street Gardens on 24 Nov (until 4 Jan) and there’s also Christmas shopping fairs at St Columba's-by-the-Castle (26 Nov & 10 Dec, 10am), with Scottish designers showing off the best of their homewares. Noir! (10 Dec, 11am, £4–£5) is a stylish shopping fair at Summerhall showcasing budding and established designer fashion, plus spoken word, films, nibbles and art installations.


The Royal Botanic Garden will be offering workshops on making Christmas wreaths and table decorations from conifers, holly, berries and moss that you could find in your own garden (26 Nov, 3.30pm, £36–£40). You can also learn to make New England Cranberry and embellished fabric and fruit wreaths at Lauriston Castle (14 & 15 Dec, 10.30am, £18). Malmaison’s Christmas Art & Crafts Fayre (Edinburgh, 4 Dec, free, 12pm) will also have demonstrations and food-tasting sessions.

Glasgow offers The Great Christmas Puppet Making Workshops at the Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre (17–18 Dec, times vary, £6.95) and there are crafty workshops available at The Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair (see above).


The Great Edinburgh Santa Run (11 Dec, 9am, £7.50–£12.50) will begin in West Princes Street Gardens (, with Glasgow’s charity Santa Dash at St Enoch Centre on the same day. Yorkhill Children’s Foundation Christmas Concert (Glasgow City Chambers, 2 Dec, 7.30pm, £5–£10) is now in its tenth year, offering music and dance entertainment to raise funds for the kids’ charity. Edinburgh Christmas Walk (Royal Botanic Garden, 4 Dec, £12, 11am) is a six-mile walk for charities, including Action on Hearing Loss, Scottish SPCA and Save the Children, whilst the Dogs Trust Glasgow Christmas Fair (Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre, Uddingston, 27 Nov, 12pm) is taking donations to help dogs in their care.


Carousel lovers should head for the fairground rides available at Glasgow’s George Square (from 20 Nov) and Edinburgh’s East Princes St Gardens (from 24 Nov).

For music, there is a series of festive concerts at City Halls and Glasgow Royal Concert Halls, from traditional orchestral pieces from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to Christmas Classics (see for full listings). A Victorian Christmas at Platform, Glasgow (3 &10 Dec, 1.30pm, £2.50) offers an hour of traditional carols, plus storytelling and mince pies. In Edinburgh, there are free carol concerts at the Royal Botanic Garden> (4 Dec, 1pm & 2.30pm), plus a carol service in Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall (2 Dec, 1pm, 2pm & 3pm, £8.20–£14). Closer to the big day, the Usher Hall will have Carols by Candelight (20 Dec, 7.30pm, £14.50–£32.50).


For an alternative to your traditional Christmas tunes, look into Kid Canaveral’s second annual Christmas Baubles event (Summerhall, Edinburgh, 17 Dec, 2pm, £15), with Slow Club, Josie Long, eagleowl and Martin John Henry all making appearances on the all-day show. And for slightly off-the-wall festive banter, check out Heavenly’s Smithsmas night in Glasgow (3 Dec, 8pm, £2). There will be a Santa Morrissey. Golly.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Edinburgh Santa Toddle & Parade

Join Santa and his reindeer on a festive parade with George Watsons Pipes & Drums. Kids are welcome to dress as elves, and infants or toddlers in buggies are welcome. All toddlers receive a medal,certificate and goody bag. Ages 6 and under.

Inverleith Park, Edinburgh

Sun 5 Dec

£5 / 0131 336 3620

Phil Cunningham's Christmas Songbook

One of the masters of Scottish contemporary folk is joined by a selection of special guests for a showcase of modern and traditional Christmas music.

Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries

Tue 14 Dec

£25.58 / 01387 702020

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Thu 16 Dec

£27.50 (includes booking fee) / 0141 353 8000

Perth Concert Hall

Sun 19 Dec

£25 / 01738 621031

Glasgow's Christmas Lights Switch-on

Welcome in the festive season at the annual lights switch-on in George Square, with live music and more.

Bel Canto

Bel Canto is a small group of singers dedicated to the performance of unaccompanied vocal music.

Glasgow on Ice

A chance to perfect your pirouettes (or at least let go of the side) as George Square's open air ice rink returns for another year. There are funfair rides (including the return of the Big Wheel), warm drinks served in the double deck bar and free kids entertainment every weekend with Santa Storytelling, art workshops and…

The Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair

The fair returns bringing with it over 300 exhibitors showcasing the finest in crafts, garden and home accessories, jewellery, clothing and homemade food and drink. Demonstrations and tasting sessions also take place each day.

Glasgow Santa Dash

A five kilometre fun run dressed as jolly old Saint Nic. As well as working off some of those festive mince pies the race raises funds for worthy causes such as Beaston Cancer Charity.

The Dundee Christmas Fair

Located inside a decorated marquee this Christmas fair has around 50 stalls selling a huge range of fairtrade, ethical and local handcrafted gifts, fashion, candles, soaps, jewellery and more. There is also Santa's grotto for the kids and a seating area to enjoy hot food and drink.

Fresh Wreaths

Make a wreath using greenery from the Castle gardens.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Christmas Oratorio

So what if JS Bach knocked the Christmas Oratorio together out of bits and bobs he'd written previously? It's still a gloriously uplifting two hours of music, and his craftsmanship was such that you can't see the joins. Singers Lucy Crowe, Clare Wilkinson. Andrew Staples and Andrew Foster-Williams are joined by the SCO…

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Mozart at Christmas

Deck the halls and break out the Sachertorte, it's Mozart time. Alexander Janiczek directs and takes the solo violin role in an evening of largely Viennese pleasures, consisting of Rossini's Overture 'The Silken Ladder', and Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, along with Jane Atkins on viola, the Marches in D K335 and the…

RSNO: A Russian Winter – The Snow Maiden and The Nutcracker

In the depths of winter, it makes sense to curl up with something warming and high in calories: Tchaikovsky, c'mere! Act 2 of The Nutcracker contains everyone's favourite sugary morsels, but there's also Rimsky-Korsakov's Suite from 'The Snow Maiden' and Rachmaninov's 3Piano Concerto no 2 to be getting on with, the latter…

RSNO: The Christmas Concert

Christopher Bell conducts and presents a concert of seasonal favourites, including carols sung by the RSNO Chorus. The climax is a screening of the movie The Snowman, with Howard Blake's fiendishly effective score being played live: the perfect way to introduce your little ones to the notion that all human relationships…

Christmas Carols in the Great Hall

Edinburgh Grand Opera sings Christmas favourites in the splendid surroundings of the Great Hall. Event included in normal admission price.

Making Christmas Wreaths and Table Decorations

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without adorning your dwelling with quasi-random bits of foliage. Learn how to make a wreath for your front door and a decoration for the Christmas table out of conifers, holly, berries and moss. Booking is essential.

Edinburgh Christmas Walk

A six-mile walk for charity, starting and finishing in Inverleith Park and taking in the Botanical Gardens. Supported charities include Action on Hearing Loss, Scottish SPCA, Save the Children, Asthma Scotland and Cats Protection. Dress warmly.

Christmas Carols

Expert carol singing in the John Hope Gateway from 1pm and the Palm House from 2.30pm.

Sangstream at the Botanics

The Edinburgh-based folk choir Sangstream sings traditional songs from Scotland and the rest of the world, along with some Christmas songs.

Christmas Art & Crafts Fayre

The Christmas edition of Malmaison's farmers' and crafts market, at which the hotel's local food suppliers and local businesses offer their finest for the festive period, with hot chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies on offer for all the family.

Cappella Nova: Carols by Candlelight

Cappella Nova celebrates 25 years of Carols by Candlelight with an evening of seasonal madrigals and expert hey-nonny-ing. Featuring special guests Pure Brass.

The Market

Local designers sell handmade prints, textiles, jewellery and more, perfectly timed for picking up a unique and conscience-salving (supporting local makers = A Good Thing) Christmas gift.

Dogs Trust Glasgow Christmas Fair

Fair raising money for the thousands of dogs cared for each year by Dogs Trust. Donations of towels, blankets and tinned dog food are welcomed.

Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles

An all day indie Christmas party curated by Kid Canaveral.

Yorkhill Children's Charity Christmas Concert

An evening of musical performances, inspirational reading and festive sing-a-longs performed by children and young people from across Scotland.

BBC SSO: Christmas at the Movies

A Christmas concert with a theme of animals, so expect plenty of barking, quacking and honking as several decades of Disney themes get an outing. Presented by Jamie MacDougall and conducted by Stephen Bell.

Children's Classic Concerts and the RSNO: Deck the Halls with Owen and Olly

Christmas tunes with the irrepressible duo, a full orchestra and a squad of ballet dancers.

Merchant Sinfonia and Merchant Voices Christmas Concert

The community music groups join forces for their annual Christmas concert, presented by Jamie MacDougall.

City of Glasgow Chorus: A Christmas Cracker

The Chorus and Orchestra perform carols, seasonal songs and a tribute to the late, great John Barry.

Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival Carols by Candlelight

Carols and seasonal tunes performed in period costumes for that extra touch of wig. Including Darke's 'In the bleak midwinter', Corelli's 'Allegro' and 'Pastorale' from Christmas Concerto; Cullen's 'Joy to the World'; Mozart's 'Alleluia' from Exsultate Jubilate; Handel's 'Zadok the Priest' and the Christmas sequence from…

Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival The Glory of Christmas

A concert of festive Christmas music by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Franck and others.

Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival White Christmas

It's not widely known that Irving Berlin couldn't actually write music, relying on other people to write his tunes down for him; nevertheless, one morning in 1940 he said to his secretary 'I want you to take down a song I've written. Not only is it the best song I've ever written, it's the best song anybody ever wrote.…

Winter Wine Fair

Wine tasting with 25 different bottles on offer, and local food market stands and ale producers from the west of Scotland.

Christmas Fair

Stalls and a festive tearoom at this community fair.

A Victorian Christmas

An hour of carols from Christmas past led by Wendy Weatherby, festive yarns from master storyteller Andy Cannon, and of course mince pies.

Challenge Scotland: Golden Tinsel Mile Walk

Challenge Scotland aren't allowing any excuses for not taking part in their Christmas fundraising programme this year – if you can't face the run or the six-mile walk, try these shorter walks of one, two and three miles.

Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival Movie Music Classics

Virginia McKenna introduces a programme of classic movie themes, or at any rate themes from classic movies: Gladiator is a great flick but Gerrard & Zimmer's music for it hasn't quite caught the public ear in the way that John Williams' work on Star Wars has, or Maurice Jarre's majestic score for Lawrence of Arabia…

Noir! – A Christmas Fair

Christmas market billed as ‘a fashion, food and cultural extravaganza’, brought to you by the organisers behind Edinburgh International Fashion Festival.

The Real Scottish Christmas Fair

Traditional Scottish music and samples of food and drink while you shop. Located in a heated, carpeted marquee to the front Ocean Terminal and part of Ocean Terminal Christmas Village.

Christmas Fair

Rides and fun for all the family, including the big wheel, carousels and helter skelter, plus gentler rides especially for wee ones.

Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival Hogmanay Gala

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra perform a concert of favorites with works by Mozart, Brahms and Verdi as well as Loch Lomond, Auld Lang Syne, Amazing Grace, Scotland the Brave and Highland Cathedral.