Scotland in December – Here’s What to See and Do
Winter in Scotland is truly magical. With festive lights decorating the cities and the promise of snow-topped mountains, there’s beauty everywhere you turn. And while it’s the coldest time of year for a Scottish vacation, the thought of wrapping up in your big woollies and sipping on hot mulled wine with the smell of gingerbread in the air is enough to warm your soul.
Whether you’re planning a Christmas trip to Scotland or looking for a hiking destination with unbelievable wintry landscapes, you’ll be spoilt for choice for things to do and places to see. These are just a few of the activities that will make you want to return year after year.
Go to a Scottish Christmas Market
Europe is home to the best festive markets in the world, and Scotland is no different. Some of the top Christmas Markets include Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee and the village of Balloch overlooking Loch Lomond.
For first-timers, these markets are filled with fun and excitement. Walk around either day or night and soak up the lively atmosphere, enjoy delicious street food, drink hot mulled wine and spiced cider, shop for handmade crafts and artisan food products, and enjoy the music and dancing. Some of the larger markets will have live entertainment and fairground rides for children too.
Book a Whisky Tour
Many of Scotland’s distilleries are open late into December. Glenfiddich Distillery is one of these, and tours can be booked via their website up until the 22nd. There are four different tour experiences ranging from 1.5 hours to 4 hours, starting from just £10.00 per head.
Other distilleries that will be open include the Glenkinchie Distillery, Lagavulin Distillery, Talisker Distillery, Auchentoshan, Highland Park, and Old Pulteney Distillery.
Plan a Winter Walk in the Highlands
Splendid views are promised at this time of year, and there are many great places you can go for a walk with moderately flat pathways. The loop around Loch Morlich is one of these places, with views of the northern Cairngorm Mountains, usually dusted with snow in December.
Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve in the North Highlands is another fantastic place for safe and easy winter trails. Or if you prefer a city walk that doesn’t veer too far from the cozy pubs and restaurants, explore Calton Hill in Edinburgh or the Aberdeen Granite Trail.
Hunt the Northern Lights
With more darkness hours, December is the perfect time for viewing the incredible Aurora Borealis. Although there are no guarantees, your chances will be improved if you check the weather for clear skies and head to areas with the least light pollution.
Some good locations for Northern Light hunting include Noss Head in Caithness, the Shetland Islands, Aberdeenshire and the Moray Coast (such as Nairn, Portknockie and Cairn o’ Mount), the islands of Lewis and Harris and the most northerly tip of Skye, Cairngorms National Park, and Galloway Forest Park.
Stay for Hogmanay
If you’re looking for the perfect New Year’s Eve event, don’t miss Hogmanay in Edinburgh. A huge street party occurs each year on December 31st from 7:30 pm, with amazing processions, lights and sculptures, costumes and street performers, live music and dancing until the early hours. For something a bit more low key, there’s also a torchlight procession the evening before.
To find out more about our bespoke vacations to Scotland, get in touch with our team today.