When will the Christmas lights switch on in Edinburgh? When and where to see light displays in 2021

See the winter nights lit up with colourful lights this year in Edinburgh.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 1:31 pm

With the nights getting longer, it’s time for a festive staple: colourful Christmas light displays.

Aside from the main display on the Royal Mile, there are plenty of other dazzling displays you can catch throughout the city.

Here’s all you need to know about the Christmas lights switching on in Edinburgh and the other displays on offer in 2021.

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Christmas at the Botanics is one of several light shows to catch around Edinburgh in the winter months. Photo: Rikard Osterlund.

When will the Christmas lights switch on in Edinburgh?

Last year’s Christmas lights switch on ceremony was cancelled due to Covid, but with the Edinburgh Christmas Markets going ahead this year, the official Christmas lights switch on will also return in 2021.

However, the whole affair will be somewhat stripped back in comparison to previous years.

The lights will be switched on on Sunday November 21st, with an event that spreads across the Mound, Rose Street, Cockburn Street, Victoria Street, and West Parliament Square, and City Chambers.

Individual neighbourhoods around Edinburgh will also have their own light switch-on events at the following times:

- Davidson's Mains virtual switch, at 6pm on Friday November 26th,

- Stenhouse, at 4pm on Tuesday November 30th,

- Holy Corner - Eric Lidell Centre, at 6pm on Wednesday December 1st,

- Roseburn, at 4.30pm and Corstorphine Old Parish Church, at 6.30pm on Thursday December 2nd,

- Ratho Village, at 6.30pm on Friday December 3rd,

- Marchmont, at 4pm on Saturday December 4th,

- Portobello, at 6pm on Thursday December 9th.

What Christmas light displays are on in Edinburgh this year?

Although plans for an official Christmas lights ceremony haven’t been made public yet, there are various other similar events that you can get stuck into.

Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Lights will be taking place from December 11th and run all the way through until January 2nd.

Visitors can follow a festive light trail throughout the zoo, with entry slots available every 15 minutes from 4.45pm to 7.30pm each day.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has also put together its own Christmas display of lights. starting from November 26th.

More than a million lights are paired with festive music and sounds to guide you on your way.

Edinburgh Castle will also light up for the festive season in the annual Castle of Light display, starting on November 19th.

Light installations include the well-known red lion, Rex, returning to ring in this festive time of year.

Wherever you go in Edinburgh, shop fronts and high streets will likely be lit up for the season as well.

Princes Street, George Street, and the Royal Mile are some particularly spectacular places to choose for a wintry nighttime stroll.

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