Festive forays: Five of Edinburgh’s best festive hangouts

Famously a city of festivals, nowhere in the UK does Christmas quite like the Scottish capital. From Christmas tree mazes to carousels, ice bars to ice skating, the city is crazy for Christmas. As the country collectively clicks on its Out of Office and Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ rings in the air, our resident Scot Nicole has rounded up five of Edinburgh’s festive hangouts to get you well and truly in the spirit!

La Clique Noel

Credit: BityPic

Gracing Edinburgh with some sparkle during its first Christmas run, this special seasonal edition of the multi-award winning Edinburgh Fringe show, La Clique, is a must-see this festive season. An eclectic celebration of extraordinary artists from around the word, the show is a Christmas stocking of seasonal treats – from the subterranean world of circus, comedy and cabaret.

Kay’s bar

Credit: Kay’s Bar

Five minutes down the hill from George Street, Kay’s Bar is a local favorite and one of Edinburgh’s best-kept-secret pubs. Formerly a Georgian coach house and later a Victorian wine merchants, Kay’s is tucked behind the cobbles of India Street and comprises tattered banquettes, roaring fires and stooped ceilings. Perfect for a post-shopping tipple or warming hot toddy, this pub has seen generations of locals celebrating the festive season within its cosy surrounds…. Oooh, if walls could talk!

The Giant Lanterns at Edinburgh Zoo

Long-beloved by visitors for the UK’s only giant panda population (and who can resist those monochrome fuzzballs), there’s a whole new reason to visit Edinburgh Zoo the winter. The zoo is aglow this festive season with over 450 dazzling giant lanterns to celebrate the festive season like never before. Lighting up the Edinburgh skyline in kaleidoscopic colour, the 211 large scale animal-themed lanterns and 115-foot long Chinese dragon, majestically guarding the zoo, are a must-visit this festive season.

The Trail of Light

As night descends, venture down from the humdrum of the city centre to the Royal Botanic Gardens where a mile-long illuminated trail awaits. From the flickering Fire Garden featuring a circular carpet of dancing flames to the hypnotizing Crystal Lawn lit by a thousand spheres of light, this alternative Christmas spectacle is bound to inject a hit of festive fun.

The Dunstane Houses

Recently revamped boutique bolt hole, The Dunstane Houses, is your perfect base. Featuring a colossal roaring fire, one of Edinburgh’s widest selections of whisky and never-ending roll-top baths, the Dunstane is the ideal home-from-home after a day exploring the city.