Scotland's Christmas markets, venues and food in 2021
Our venues editors look at the best festive markets, foodie spots, and community events taking place across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee this Christmas season
It’s a fact: stepping into Edinburgh’s winter wonderland has the same healing properties as a big warm hug. Snow-dusted spires? Bow-wrapped stores? Glittering markets? The capital offers more than a stocking’s worth of ways to get cosy as the nights draw in. If open air stalls have you feeling the chills, pop into the Summerhall Christmas Market (5 Dec) where 50 indie Scottish makers will help you tackle those Christmas list conundrums. Or, for a grotto with a twist, visit the Eco Larder (Morrison Street). Rumour has it a certain jovial fella will be dishing out environmentally-friendly gifts and tips.
Brave enough to face the elements? You can’t go wrong with a rake through Stockbridge’s charity shops. Be sure to pick up a hot choccy from The Marshmallow Lady en route. Their heavenly-domed cuppas are laden with cockle-warming properties. Or, for a pre-theatre fill, visit the new Hendersons, primely placed on Leven Street (Oh yes it is!) Their veggie fare is doing a grand job of filling the hole left in our hearts following the closure of their Hanover Street joint. A bracelet for Montpeliers’ Christmas Cocktail Club, meanwhile, will get you discounted drinks in their bars throughout December. Or, if hunkering down in front of a crackling fire is more your style, Teuchters (26 William St) will see you through.
Too traditional? The Anatomist Escape Room (25 Nicolson Sq) offers the perfect antidote, delving into the city’s murky past to provide the ultimate alternative office night out! [Izzy Gray]
Compared with 2020’s muted festive season, 2021 leaves us spoilt for Christmassy choice in Glasgow. Sure, the long arm of COVID has forced a few festive changes in the city: The George Square Christmas market, for example, won’t go ahead this year. But there are still plenty of places to wander stalls while sipping mulled wine. Better places, in fact.
Spot Design Market at The Pearce Institute in Govan (4-5 Dec) will have stalls from a cleverly curated selection of local artists and businesses, as well as street food, craft workshops and an online version of the experience for those who don’t feel crowd-ready just yet. East End residents will be familiar with Super Market – the dog-friendly regular offering at Barras Art and Design which brings together the work of small Scottish retailers under the stylish venue’s glass roof. Closer to the big day, meanwhile, is the Wasps Artists and Makers Winter Market (11-12 Dec) at the stunning Briggait 1873 Hall. The weekend promises over 85 stalls of independent brands across all imaginable fields: food, homeware, clothing, ceramics, art. Elsewhere, there is festive fun to be had across the city: wreath-making at The Left Bank (Gibson Street), festive movie nights at Sloans (Argyle Street), and Christmas Drag Queen Bingo at Drygate Brewing Co. [Tara Hepburn]
All eyes for Christmas in Dundee this year look set to be on its brand new Winterfest event at Slessor Gardens. Though it hasn’t been short of stipulations since its announcement earlier this year, having the largest scale winter event the city has ever produced right in the heart of town should also be a good thing for local, independent businesses nearby. An ice skating rink, giant ferris wheel and bunches of food and crafts stalls provide all the trimmings for a wholesome day out.
Head along to the west end of the city and you’ll find another flurry of jovially festive events taking place. Dundee’s creative quarter has always retained a sense of community spirit and Christmas time is no different. Running for a fortnight from the end of November, its schedule blends both online and interactive events including an online Winter Wonderland Art Journey and the West End Christmas Market and Community Wardrobe event, offering free clothes for people in need during the festive period.
Elsewhere, Dundee Rep Theatre will be hosting A Christmas Carol throughout December while the Caird Hall welcomes the RSNO for a special concert performance of The Snowman on 17 December. Can it get any more Christmassy than that? [Jamie Wilde]