The Best Christmas Activities for Kids in Scotland! 2016

If you’re looking for a round up of the most festive things to do in Scotland right now I’ve just finishing talking with Fiona Stalker on BBC Radio Scotland’s Out for the Weekend show and these are the highlights.  Listen here at 1:46:00.



Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, Aviemore

Feed the Feed the Reindeer at Ythan – Just outside Ellon in Aberdeenshire it’s possible to visit Santa’s reindeer herd.  As they wander around the paddock a guide will let little ones feed them and answer any questions about Rudolph and his friends.  It’s a great opportunity to see these iconic beasts close up and learn more about them.  It’s also possible to sit on Santa’s sleigh (which creates memorable photo opportunities for youngsters), enter his grotto to post your letter to him and hear a video message from the man himself.  Ythan only opens annually from the end of November till Christmas Eve so grab your opportunity to visit now.

Don’t forget the fantastic Cairngorm Reindeer Herd in Aviemore.  And reindeer will be visiting Holmwood House in Glasgow, 3-4 and 10-11 December 2016.

Jingle Owl the Way (my favourite title of the festive period)- Robert Burns’ Birthplace Museum, Ayrshire, 10-11 December 2016.  The idea is kids spend time with one of Santa’s elves writing their own Christmas letter on parchment with quills and ink.  Then you’re taken to meet Santa’s snowy owl (who knew he had one?) who takes each child’s message back to the north pole.  A novel approach to the Christmas post.

2 Some events have combined NATURE with Christmas in really clever ways.  My particular favourites are:

Crathes Castle

Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire

Christmas Tree Exploration – Crathes Castle – As part of the Nature Nippers series a Ranger and your kids explore the festive forest and the beasties that live in it. Each child will make a mini Christmas tree to take home with them.  Tuesday 6 December 2016 11.00am-12.00pm.

Star GazingGalloway Forest Park is holding a Stargazing Event.  They haven’t used the word ‘Christmas’ at all but considering the three wise men were led by a bright star to the manger this could be an atmospheric evening for older children.  Galloway Forest Park is one of the darkest places in Scotland, which is why it’s the UK’s first Dark Sky Park (I didn’t know that!).  Over 7,000 stars and planets are visible with the naked eye from the Forest Park, and their December star gazing evening falls on the 17th from 6.30pm.

Storytelling and Carols by the Fire at the Children’s Wood and Meadow in Glasgow on the 18 Dec from 4pm.  So it will be pitch dark but early enough for little ones.  Bring your own chair and your own adult!



First in the Aberdeen Sculpture Trail – A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Aberdeen is building on its Christmas offering.  New for 2016 is a Christmas tree maze which opened today.  Lose yourself, or lose the kids, in the spirit of Christmas.  This’ll be located near the ice rink and Christmas Village on Union Terrace so all very central.  I also love the sound of the Twelve Days of Christmas Sculpture Trail.  Recently Aberdeen had a dolphin trail and you could visit different parts of the city in search of these statues, so this is similar but Christmassy way to explore the city.   The Partridge in a Pear Tree is already on display at the Castlegate.  Keep across the council’s Facebook page for more info.

Edinburgh’s Street of Light is returning this year to a new location on the west end of George Street. Running till 24 December 2016, over 60,000 bulbs of light will dazzle the public accompanied by music from local choirs and bands – Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with their Junior Chorus, Blazin’ Fiddles and Tigerstyle will all feature.

Santa Run – 11th December 2016 at 11am – Fundraising Santas will run, walk and stroll around West Princes Street Gardens, which is spread over a short 2.5km circuit, raising money for When You Wish Upon A Star.  The route is accessible to wheelchairs and mobility scooters.  Children in push chairs and dogs on leads are more than welcome, with special prizes for the best dressed pushchair and best dressed dog.


Duff House – Saturday 3 December 2016 – Learn more about how the Victorians put Christmas on the map at Duff House in Banffshire.  This beautiful Georgian building was the home of the Fife family for centuries so join the Victorian Duke of Fife as he celebrates Christmas in his magnificent home and learn where our festive traditions originate from.  For older kids this could be a nice change from Santa but still Christmassy.

Edinburgh Castle – Learn about the tales and traditions of a Victorian Christmas, the origins of the Christmas cracker, Christmas cards and other festive traditions. Mon 19 – Fri 23 December 2016.  Or go back in time a few hundred years more and you can have a Very Mary Christmas at the castle on Christmas Eve.  While Reformation Scotland shuns Christmas festivities, Mary Queen of Scots is celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with her courtiers.


Lots of steam railways are doing Santa Specials – these are booked up super quick but check out Bo’ness, Strathspey, Milton of Crathes and Caledonian Railway.


For something completely different head to Stonehaven Harbour on Saturday 17th December and see Santa arriving by RNLI LIfe Boat.  Apparently you also get to meet Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol so that’s any Paw Patrol fans’ Christmas completely sewn up.

Start planning your Merry Christmas!

If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the ‘Follow’ box then click ‘Follow’ or join the conversation on Facebooktwitterpinterest and instagram at Tots2Travel. For any queries or opportunities please email All images copyright of Tots2Travel.  The information above is a guide only and may be subject to change or cancellation, please double all times, dates and availability before setting off.




  1. Reply

    California Globetrotter

    November 29, 2016

    I’m not a kid but I certainly love all of these ideas for Christmas! haha #CityTripping

  2. Reply


    November 29, 2016

    great ideas! love that photo of a castle in the snow:) #citytripping

    • Reply


      November 30, 2016

      Yes, that’s Crathes.

  3. Reply

    Kat @anaussieinsf

    November 29, 2016

    This post makes me want to visit Scotland again. Even though it’s for kids I’d love all of this stuff. Especially the reindeer. Have a lovely Christmas! #Citytripping

    • Reply


      November 30, 2016

      Christmas is for everyone 🙂

  4. Reply

    Alok Singhal

    November 30, 2016

    Scotland is so very high on my list of places to visit, along with Norway and Austria. I will keep in mind your post if i can be there sometime soon.

    • Reply


      December 1, 2016

      I hope you do make it to Scotland.

  5. Reply


    November 30, 2016

    Great suggestions! I like the sound of the street of lights in Edinburgh but my daughter would LOVE to meet Chase and Marshall. She’s mad about Paw Patrol. Thanks for linking #citytripping

    • Reply


      December 1, 2016

      Ditto, our families have the same first choices!

  6. Reply


    December 1, 2016

    My daughter would adore the reindeer – I knew about the Cairngorm herd but not the others. I love the sound of the street of light too. I bet there’s more chance of a white Christmas too! #citytripping

    • Reply


      December 5, 2016

      We’re going up to see the Cairngorm reindeer soon. I could do without a white Christmas for driving places but if sitting inside with twinkling lights on and the stove on it’s idyllic!

  7. Reply


    December 5, 2016

    Such a useful post. Will share. I’ve always wanted to do the stargazing in Scotland.

    • Reply


      December 5, 2016

      Thank you for saying so. Yes, the star gazing and the park in general really stood out to me as I wasn’t familiar with it.

  8. Reply


    December 6, 2016

    Thanks for choosing my adventures in Scotland 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    %d bloggers like this: