The weather outside may be frightful, but the winter is still a popular time for visiting Edinburgh - with darker evenings and a whole host of special events, it can be an atmospheric and magical time for exploring the city.
Here are some of my top picks for things to do in Edinburgh this winter to help your days be merry and bright over the festive season!
The traditional Christmas pantomime is a truly Scottish experience, a unique form of entertainment that blends broad comedy, live music and dance, colourful scenery and a whole host of topical references to people and things from the past twelve months, all whilst telling a traditional fairytale. All in all, the panto is a riotous afternoon/evening of entertainment that will keep the whole family amused, and quite unlike anything you would find beyond Scotland's shores! The King's Theatre is home of the panto in Edinburgh, and this year their production is Beauty and the Beast.
For something more classical, check out Wendy and Peter Pan, a retelling of the classic story from Scotsman JM Barrie, at the city's Lyceum Theatre, or Scottish Ballet's popular presentation of Cinderella at the Festival Theatre.
Outdoor light shows have become a popular entertainment in recent years, and both the Botanic Gardens and Edinburgh Zoo have a magical experience to check out this year.
Christmas at the Botanics leads visitors on a trail of fairylights through their gardens and glasshouses, including the Cathedral of Light featuring over 100,000 lights... At the zoo, the Giant Lanterns of China tell myths and legends as you've never seen them before, with over 450 specially created Chinese paper lanterns. Both give families a magic experience!
For a spot of outdoor ice skating, check out the rink on St Andrew Square, part of the formal Edinburgh's Christmas offering which includes the Christmas markets and the funfair in Princes Street Gardens.
The city's 24 Doors of Advent provide access to buildings and spaces that are generally closed to the public, with a different 'door' open each day until Christmas. It's a brilliant live action advent calendar, with a focus firmly on showcasing the city's history, culture and architectural heritage. Check out the online listing to find out what doors are open on which day!
For traditional Christmas carols, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is hosting Carols Around the Christmas Tree, whilst the Usher Hall has a whole host of classical music events and live music with a festival feel.
Whatever you plan to do in Edinburgh over Christmas, wrap up warm!
My private walking tours are still available throughout the winter...
Edinburgh Expert Walking Tours is run by Gareth Davies, an adopted native of Edinburgh since 1998...