Festive things to do in the Scottish Highlands this Christmas

Festive things to do Scottish Highlands this Christmas Go-Hi App

There’s no better place to celebrate the festive season than in the magical Scottish Highlands. As winter brings us into the cosy nights and chilly days, you can visit picturesque Christmas markets, enjoy a Christmas feast inside of a historic castle, experience a magical reindeer visit or a Santa steam train ride with the kids, or pick from one of the many entertaining concerts and shows being hosted in the Highlands across winter.

Whether you’re looking for a Highland getaway before spending Christmas at home or want to spend your full break here in the Highlands until Hogmanay, the team at Go-Hi have compiled the very best festive experiences on offer to get you in the mood for Christmas.

Aberdeen Christmas Village Go-Hi Travel App

Visit a Christmas Market or Fair

Nothing can get you into the Christmas spirit more than a wander through festive markets with friends or family. Inverness is home to various Christmas markets and events which will be held in Scotland’s largest combined arts organisation Eden Court Theatre. A farmer’s market is running throughout the festive period where you can shop for local produce, including cheese, eggs and meat for your Christmas dinner.

From the 18th of November to the 4th of December, Eden Court will be home to a Christmas market where visitors can choose from a delicious range of food on offer, from seafood, home baking, pies, fudge, meat, cheeses and more. Shopaholics can also enjoy stands that will feature a combination of fine textiles, home accessories, art, soaps, clothes, candles and macrame – great to sneak in some Christmas shopping!

Cairngorm National Park Reindeer Go-Hi Travel App

See Reindeers in their Natural Habitat

Visiting the reindeer herd in the Cairngorm National Park is an especially unique experience given that this region of Scotland is the only natural habitat in the UK where reindeers roam in the wild. The reindeer calves are fed by the trainers early in their lives to familiarise them with humans, so they are especially tame and friendly towards visitors.

There are two different experiences at the centre to choose from. The first is a 20 to 30 minute hill trip where guests walk in groups to the top of the range to see and interact with the reindeers in their natural habitat along with the tour guides.

The second experience is the paddock visit which takes place on various weekends leading up to the end of December. The paddock will be decorated with tinsels and fairy lights in the run up to Christmas with four reindeer stationed within the shed. Perfect for kids, there is a Christmas quiz to enjoy, and Santa will be ready and waiting to greet them.

Strathspey Railway Santa Express Go-Hi Travel App

Ride on a Steam Train

When you’re finished visiting the reindeers, why not take a trip to Aviemore, a popular town in the Cairngorms which is the location of Strathspey Railway. Santa Express is currently open for bookings where festive family fun can be had aboard a heritage steam train that rides across the winter landscape of the Cairngorms.

The journey in total lasts around two hours with Santa on board to visit the children and hand out free presents. While children take in the magic of Christmas, adult passengers can have a mulled wine to enjoy during the trip while they take in the beautiful scenery. For all-adult parties, visitors can alternatively choose to book the festive afternoon tea which includes festive cakes, sandwiches and drinks to enjoy during the ride.

The Jacobite steam train is also a wonderfully festive way to travel across the Scottish Highlands. The railway line runs from Fort William to Mallaig, and the train itself is well-known as it featured in the Harry Potter films. The festive ambience will be in full swing as you pass by cosy villages and idyllic landscapes, with add-ons available such as bottles of champagne, chocolates, and cream teas to make the journey extra special.

Inverlochy Castle Go-Hi Scotland Travel App

Have Christmas Dinner in a Castle

The Scottish Highlands are home to plenty of castles that are steeped in history. Often seated on cliffs or tidal islands overlooking expansive lochs, Scottish castles provide the perfect festive backdrop for your winter holiday.

Inverlochy Castle is offering Christmas menus and festive activities for guests who are staying over this period. For guests lucky enough to stay in the hotel over Christmas itself, the hotel colleagues are laying out a special festive breakfast before guests can wander through the grounds of Inverlochy, which has exquisite views of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain.

Father Christmas will visit all the guests’ bedrooms at 11:00am to bring gifts before the traditional Christmas day lunch is served in the dining room with drinks. Watch the King’s speech at 3pm and then enjoy a cold supper to finish off the day’s festivities. There are many other activities being held across the festive period, such as falconry displays, clay pigeon shooting, and sheep dog trials.

Peter Pan Go-Hi Scotland Travel App

Enjoy a Christmas Festival, Panto, or Concert

From pantomimes and theatres, to music festivals, the Scottish Highlands have plenty of festive entertainment on offer this Christmas.

Eden Court Theatre in Inverness is running various shows tailored to either mature audiences or families with children. For adults, the Scottish Ensemble is performing a peaceful and tranquil performance by candlelight in the atmospheric surroundings of Inverness Cathedral. Alternatively, enjoy the magic of The Royal Ballet in the performance of The Nutcracker, a festive ballet classic.

A Christmas Carrol: A Ghost Story is a Nottingham Playhouse production that can be seen at Eden Court during late November to early December which is as equally haunting as it is festive, for an eerie Dickensian take on the Christmas period.

Peter Pan will also be running at Eden Court which is festive fun for all the family. With spectacular songs and dance routines, this panto is guaranteed to get you hooked during the Christmas season.

For younger children, Little Elves Festive Fun is a party designed for children from birth to 5 years old and provides an experience where children can imagine they are in the elves’ workshop with a full hour of singing, creative play, dancing, and games.

For fans of folk music, the Aviemore Folk Festival is running from the 5th to the 9th of December this year with various folk artists in the line-up such as Albion Christmas Band, Eddi Reader and Lindisfarne. There are affordable hotel packages on offer which are priced at £135 a person minimum with a festive dinner, bed and breakfast included.

Start your Journey with the Go-Hi Travel App

The Go-Hi smartphone app is your one-stop shop for door-to-door travel when travelling to different venues within the Scottish Highlands. Go-Hi allows you to find, book and pay for various travel modes available in the Highlands, including buses, trains, ferries, taxis, bike hire, car club, car hire, flights, and hotels, all in one smartphone app. With Go-Hi, you can enjoy the festive itinerary without needing to worry about getting from A to B – make sure you download the app before you set off on your winter getaway.