Things to do in Edinburgh this Winter

Spending winter in Edinburgh

With the long summer days behind us and chilly nights ahead, we know just how tempting it is to head for the covers, snuggle down and wait for the winter months to pass. But with so many wonderful things happening all over the city, spending winter in Edinburgh is its own reward.

Edinburgh Christmas market and celebrations

Whether it is your first trip to Scotland’s capital or you are simply looking for winter holiday ideas, Edinburgh’s winter festivals will not disappoint. From 17th November, Christmas in Edinburgh officially gets underway. All around the streets will be decked in lights, while a hurly-burly of festivities will transform the city into a dazzling display of all things merry. From fairground attractions to Christmas shopping at the festive markets, it’s the perfect way to enjoy the December holly-day.

Couple at Christmas Market with hot drinks and twinkling lights in the background

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

One of our favourite parts of winter in Edinburgh is Hogmanay, known the world over as the greatest New Year’s celebration of them all! The winter festival has an amazing lineup of events, including a torchlight procession, street party, comedy nights, concerts and unbelievable fireworks. In short, it is an opportunity to show the rest of the world how to party. And since Parliament House Hotel is tucked away in the heart of all the action, you don’t have to worry about long walks, catching the bus or painful train rides home. So join us this Hogmanay, kick up your heels and dance into the wee small hours! View Hogmanay programme and book tickets.

Fireworks over Edinburgh Castle

Winter shows and special events

We all know that Christmas and pantomimes go hand-in-hand. And Christmas breaks in Edinburgh wouldn’t be complete without a fabulous lineup of festive shows and events. Check out our selection of the best Christmas shows this season. Plus, there are some magical winter light trails to light up the dark evenings.

A microphone on stage with Christmas trees in the background

Spectacular winter views

Edinburgh is beautiful all year round. And in winter, you can soak up stunning views from Calton Hill, just a short walk from our hotel. The city views from the top are simply breathtaking. Many people wrap up warm and climb up Calton Hill on Hogmanay to watch the magnificent New Years’ fireworks display, as you get a great view. It’s a relatively easy uphill walk, however, do take care in the dark or if it’s an icy day.

Old buildings in Edinburgh on a snowy day

Indoor Edinburgh Attractions

When the weather outside is frightful, you’ll find plenty of indoor activities and attractions around Edinburgh to explore. Take an underground tour of The Real Mary King’s Close, where you’ll discover 17th-century streets frozen in time beneath the Royal Mile. Or, learn about whisky production and have a wee tasting at the Scotch Whisky Experience. Then just across the road, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. Where you’ll experience an array of mind-blowing optical illusions and trickery. There’s also Dynamic Earth down at Holyrood Park, which tells the story of our planet from the Big Bang to the present day. Then, if you need to relax, why not pamper yourself in one of the local spas or salons? 

Mirror Maze at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Edinburgh’s cosy pubs and restaurants 

Firstly, what better way is there to warm up than with a dram of whisky by the open fire in our cosy lounge? Or, head out to Edinburgh’s bars and pubs, which offer the perfect retreat after a busy winter’s day. Then enjoy a delicious meal in one of the many many spectacular places to eat in Edinburgh. Our team are happy to give recommendations.

The fireplace in the lounge at Parliament House Hotel in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh winter breaks

With so much to look forward to all winter long, one thing is certain. Winter in Edinburgh is the gift that keeps on giving! So, check out our latest special offers and book your winter break today.