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Edinburgh Castle Christmas 2023 | Lunch, Tea, Facilities & More

Celebrate Christmas like never before at Edinburgh Castle. Amidst historic walls and breathtaking views, embrace the enchanting atmosphere of the season. Let the rich Scottish heritage and festive lights create unforgettable moments, making your holiday truly extraordinary.

Edinburgh Castle Opening Hours During Christmas

Edinburgh Castle Christmas Events

Castle of Light: Magic and Mystery

Step into the enchantment of Edinburgh Castle's Castle of Light event, now in its fourth year. Experience the Defender of the Nation illuminated in a mesmerizing after-dark trail themed "Magic and Mystery." Wander through the castle grounds, lit up with immersive illuminations, enchanting installations, and a dazzling display of twinkling lights. Share unforgettable moments with family and friends while you explore the mysteries along the way.

Timings: 4.30pm to 9pm (last entry is 7.30pm)
Dates: 24 & 25 November
1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 21-23 & 27-30 December
2 & 3 January

Christmas Lunch

Celebrate Christmas in grand style with a three-course lunch in Edinburgh Castle's opulent Queen Anne Room. Immerse yourself in regal surroundings, where the festive ambiance and culinary excellence create a dining experience fit for royalty. Choose from limited sittings. With a meticulously crafted menu showcasing seasonal delights, this exclusive Christmas lunch promises a memorable celebration in the heart of Edinburgh Castle. 

Timings: 1pm 
Dates: 8, 9 & 15th December

Christmas Afternoon Tea

Celebrate the festive season with a special Christmas afternoon tea at The Tearooms in Edinburgh Castle. Advance booking is required for this enchanting experience, available from December 1st to January 7th. Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit and enjoy a delightful selection of sittings, each offering a serene and festive atmosphere. Please note that certain dates and sittings are fully booked, so secure your reservation now to savor the magic of Christmas with a delectable afternoon tea in the historic surroundings of Edinburgh Castle.

Timings: Sittings at 12 noon, 12.30pm, 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm and 3pm
Dates: 1 December to 7 January

Plan Your Christmas at Edinburgh Castle

Directions
Facilities & Accessibility
What to Wear
Parking
Visitor Tips

Address: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK

Find on Map

  • Metro: The closest station is West End - Princes Street. A short walk up the Royal Mile from the station leads to the castle.
  • Car: No public parking at Edinburgh Castle. Nearby options include Castle Terrace Car Park, Princes Street Car Park, and Waverley Parking.
  • Bus: Several buses (Lothian Buses 24, 35, 38, and 45) have stops near the castle. A brief walk up the Royal Mile from the bus stop takes you to the castle entrance.
  • Carer Tickets: Visitors with disabilities are charged at the regular rates. Accompanying carers receive free entry (up to two per transaction) and can be added during the booking process.
  • Parking: Limited Blue Badge parking spaces are available on the Castle Esplanade, allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Ear Defenders: Adult and children's ear defenders are available; request them from staff when your ticket is scanned.
  • Assistance Dogs: Only assistance dogs are allowed, must be on a lead at all times, and not left unattended. Owners must clean up after their dogs.
  • Wheelchairs: Manual wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Adapted Toilets: Adapted toilets and the ticket office are present upon entering and in the Crown Square.
  • Warm Layers: Wear a thermal layer or sweater to stay warm, as temperatures in Edinburgh can be chilly during the Christmas season.
  • Weather-Resistant Outerwear: Bring a waterproof or water-resistant jacket to protect against potential rain or snow.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Wear comfortable and waterproof shoes suitable for walking, as you may be exploring the castle grounds.
  • Accessories: Don't forget a hat, gloves, and a scarf to stay cozy in the outdoor areas.
  • Festive Attire: Consider adding a touch of festive flair to your outfit, such as a holiday-themed accessory or a red and green color scheme.
  • Check the Event Details: Depending on the specific Christmas event at the castle, there may be recommendations for attire. Check the event details or contact the organizers for any specific guidelines.
  • Public Parking: Edinburgh Castle does not provide public parking facilities.
  • Nearest Car Park: Consider Castle Terrace NCP, the closest option.
  • Blue Badge Parking: Limited spaces on Castle Esplanade for Blue Badge holders. It is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Alternative Parking: Explore alternative city center parking if Castle Terrace NCP is full.
  • Parking Availability: Availability may vary by time of day and season; plan accordingly.
  • Fee Considerations: Parking fees are subject to change, so check current rates before your visit.
  • Book in Advance: During the Christmas season, Edinburgh Castle is busier than usual. Secure your tickets in advance to guarantee entry and avoid long queues.
  • Check Event Schedule: Check the special Christmas events to make the most of the festive experience.
  • Dress Warmly: December in Edinburgh can be cold, so dress warmly with layers. Bring a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
  • Explore the Surroundings: Take time to explore the castle grounds and enjoy the breathtaking views of Edinburgh. The festive decorations and lights add a special touch to the experience.
  • Visit Gift Shops: Explore the castle's gift shops for unique Christmas gifts or souvenirs. It's an excellent opportunity to find special presents or decorations.
  • Photography Opportunities: Capture the magic of Christmas at the castle with photographs. The festive decorations and lighting create beautiful scenes.



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Frequently asked questions about Christmas at Edinburgh Castle

Is Edinburgh Castle open during the Christmas season?

Yes, Edinburgh Castle is open during the Christmas season, except the 25th and 26th of December, they also have special Christmas events. 

Are there special Christmas events at Edinburgh Castle?

Yes, Edinburgh Castle often hosts special Christmas events, including Christmas  lunches and afternoon teas as well as the Castle of Light: Magic and Mystery event.

What are the parking options during Christmas at Edinburgh Castle?

Edinburgh Castle does not provide public parking. Visitors are encouraged to use nearby car parks like Castle Terrace NCP, but spaces may be limited. Consider alternative parking facilities in the city center.

Can I bring my pet to Edinburgh Castle during Christmas?

Only assistance dogs are permitted within the castle, and they must be kept on a lead at all times. Other pets are not allowed.

Are there facilities for visitors with disabilities during Christmas events?

Yes, Edinburgh Castle provides facilities for visitors with disabilities, including adapted toilets and wheelchair availability. Check with staff for assistance and make use of Blue Badge parking on Castle Esplanade.

Can I purchase Christmas-themed souvenirs at Edinburgh Castle?

 Yes, the castle's gift shops usually offer Christmas-themed souvenirs and festive gifts. It's a great opportunity to find unique decorations or presents.

Are there any restrictions on photography during Christmas events?

Generally, photography is allowed at Edinburgh Castle, but it's essential to be mindful of other visitors. Check for any specific guidelines or restrictions, especially during special events.

What should I wear during a Christmas visit to Edinburgh Castle?

It is advisable to wear warm layers, including a thermal layer or sweater, to stay comfortable in the chilly temperatures.

Are there any special events for families or children during Christmas at Edinburgh Castle?

Yes,  Edinburgh castle often organizes special events for families or children during the festive season. Check the event schedule for family-friendly activities.

Are there festive light displays and decorations throughout Edinburgh castle during the Christmas season?

Yes, Edinburgh castle is usually adorned with festive light displays and decorations, creating a magical Christmas atmosphere.