A Guide to What’s on this Winter

A guide to What's on this Winter

This Christmas might not be the return to the normal festive season we all anticipated – nevertheless we’re here to help you ramp up the festive cheer and celebrate all things creative with our curated guide to the markets, events, exhibitions, and shows taking place this winter.

For more things to do over the winter break, discover what’s going on in film and television with Screen Scotland's 12 Days of Christmas feature.

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Remember to follow all Scottish Government guidance regarding Covid-19 when attending the events and exhibitions listed here. Check the latest travel and public health guidelines in advance, as well as advice from specific venues you intend to visit. For more information, please check our Coronavirus advice page.


Until 11 December, visit the Grey Wolf Christmas Pop Shop in Glasgow, where you can browse products made by local designers, makers and artists. Also in Glasgow, the Wasps Winter Markets returns to the beautiful Briggait 1873 Hall for two days of festivities on 11 and 12 December.

Double Door Studios in Dundee has transformed into a festive grotto for Christmas, filled full of contemporary craft, art and design until 19 December.

In Edinburgh, head to Out of the Blue’s Christmas Arts Market on 11 December for their final market day featuring more than 100 artists and makers. Plus, the Drill Hall Cafe will be open to help you re-fuel while browsing.


Image shows the Unwrap Art logo

Image: Unwrap Art by Scottish Contemporary Art Network

This year, your loved ones can #UnwrapArt on Christmas morning with SCAN – the Scottish Contemporary Art Network, whose huge list of makers and galleries feature truly unique gifts.

Scotland’s Workshops is a network of 11 visual arts production facilities all across the country – we recommend exploring their spaces for a treasure trove of potential gifting opportunities from organisations like the DCA and the Highland Print Studio.

There are a host of great makers across Scotland with incredible gifts for you to share with loved ones this year. Studio Brae offer handcrafted clay sculptures, Eve Campbell captures Scotland's West Coast through paper stencilling and screen printing.

There’s Solas SleepwearHilary Grant’s amazing knitwear, Iseabal Hendry (hand woven in the Scottish Highlands), Paper Houses Design (textiles and gifts sustainably made in Aberdeenshire), and 404 ink’s, cards, prints, and artists books, to name but a few. Other makers include Steph Liddle Ceramics, and Morag McPherson Textiles.

Own Art - welcome to affordable art ownership with the Own Art scheme. www.ownart.org.uk. Own Art is a national initiative that provides interest free finance for the purchase of contemporary art and craft

Image courtesy of Own Art

Many of the galleries mentioned in this guide also offer the Own Art scheme – a way to spread the cost of gifting to the ones you love interest free over 10 months. Find out more about the scheme and the galleries who offer it in Scotland and other parts of the UK.

Did you know that you can gift a Lammermuir music festival voucher to a loved one? Vouchers can be redeemed against the Winter Online Programme or 2022 Lammermuir Festival, and you can choose from a range of values from £10 to £50.

Celtic Connections 2022 is on sale now - and you can buy tickets for their events using Glasgow Life Gift Certificates. Purchase one for a friend or family member and let them choose their favourite acts to see in person next year from Tickets Glasgow.

Image shows a woman in the centre of frame walking barefoot on a beach, her back to the camera. She is holding a fiddle in her right hand. The text reads The Castalia Isla Ratcliffe.

Isla Ratcliffe album cover. Design by Elly Lucas.

New releases from Scottish artists make the perfect gift for music lovers! Scottish fiddle player, singer and composer Isla Ratcliffe’s debut album The Castalia is out now. 2021 studio album A Light In A Dark Place by The Media Whores is available on digital, CD and vinyl. Released this month, 1985 (In My Mind) by Black Hill Transmissions is just £3 on digital (plus all money from sales will go to Help Musicians Scotland and Refugee Action).

Also released this year is the debut album from Man of the Minch, The Tide is at the Turning, featuring guest appearances from Rachel Sermanni, Broken Chanter, and Josie Duncan. Plus, singer-songwriter Annie Booth's fourth vinyl release for LNFG Lazyboy is available on vinyl and CD. This is just a drop in the ocean, of course, and for more we’d highly recommend following Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland, on Twitter.

Gift cards are available from Dance Base for their dance classes. You can gift for a full 13-week course, a 10-class pass or a single drop-in class and the value of the gift card will be added to the recipient’s account.

Need something for a literature lover? Break in Case of Silence: New Writing Scotland 39 is the latest collection of excellent contemporary literature and includes new work from forty authors. Give the gift of new writing ‘with bite’ in the latest issues of Extra Teeth magazine (plus explore their subscription options!).

Written and edited over the course of three pregnancies, two maternity leaves, and the first lockdown of 2020, Aoife Lyall’s first poetry collection Mother, Nature focuses on pregnancy and the early weeks and months of motherhood. We've mentioned them already, but it bears repeating, you can shop the 2021 Inklings collection from 404 Ink.

Travel back with us to April 2021 when the Literature Team worked with the Bookseller for their #ScotlandFocus issue, which spotlighted some fantastic Scottish literature, including 100 Favourite Gaelic Poems (100 Dàn As Fhèarr Leinn), and the winner of the Highland Book Prize 2020 The Changing Outer Hebrides by Frank Rennie.

Also in their selection was a portrait of the iconic blues singer Bessie Smith by Jackie Kay, the 2020/21 Gavin Wallace Fellowship recipient Maisie Chan’s Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths , and longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, How to Survive Everything by Ewan Morrison.


Project Ability’s annual Christmas exhibition is now open until 23 December. The Time is Now sees artistic responses to the climate emergency reflecting the hopes, dreams and fears for the future.

The Academicians' Gallery presents their Winter Show until 22 December at the RSA in Edinburgh (works are also available to view online).

Image by Alan Dimmick, showing works on display at Edinburgh Printmakers for SOLACE. From L- R: EP Members Anna York, Silke Heuer, Becky Lloyd, Paul Furneaux, Miriam Vickers, Gill Tyson, Gillian Murray, Kitties Jones, Kelly Stewart, Alastair Clark and Alison Grant.

Image by Alan Dimmick showing works on display as part of SOLACE at Edinburgh Printmakers. Works featured are from L- R: EP Members Anna York, Silke Heuer, Becky Lloyd, Paul Furneaux, Miriam Vickers, Gill Tyson, Gillian Murray, Kitties Jones, Kelly Stewart, Alastair Clark and Alison Grant.

Edinburgh Print Makers have their winter exhibition, SOLACE: Members Show Castle Mills 1, which is accompanied by the launch of an exciting new limited edition print by Victoria Crowe (below)

Image shows a print created by artist Victoria Crowe. The print is of a tree in winter, in black and white.

Victoria Crowe print, courtesy of Edinburgh Printmakers.

The Glasgow Print Studio Members Christmas show is from 3 December to 29 January 2022.

Enjoy Hospitalfield House Arbroath’s magnificent gardens in winter at their Gardens Talk on 11 December.  One of an ongoing series of events to watch out for at Hospitalfield House.


Making Music has a brilliant calendar of concerts from all over the UK including performances from Glasgow Cathedral Choral Society, Ayr Choral Union and Falkirk Festival Chorus – check out what their members have on this winter.

CCA Glasgow has live gigs galore in December from New York-based rapper MIKE, Bluebells and Sister John, Starry Skies and Divine! Explore the festive line-up on the CCA website.

Further north, the Shetland Arts We are Live season continues on 19 December with Flitsang. And in Stornoway, singer songwriter Colin Macleod will be back home to entertain island audiences for Christmas with his An Lanntair show on Thursday 23 December.

Looking for new music? Look no further – Hit the Road will tour with their 2021 artists Shorthouse, Sean Bonner and Leiah Maitland in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Stirling. Make sure you check for updates on the latest tour dates as the December gigs have been postponed into 2022, however Hit the Road have confirmed that any tickets already purchased remain valid.

Enjoy heart-warming festive concerts with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra on 19 December at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh, and Scottish Ensemble’s Concerts by Candlelight: Music for Warmth and Restoration (until 8 December).

Image is from FUGA and shows dancer Kathryn Spend crouching in a flowing dress on a beach, her reflection caught in the shallows of the water in the foreground

Kathryn Spence in Fuga (2021): A screen dance by Kathryn Spence, Liz Musser and JJ Jamieson. Image courtesy of Shetland Arts.

From 16 – 18 December, Dance Base presents Snow Motion, a programme of live performance, movement and celebration. Plus, join the Beacon for the Festive Social Dance, featuring a live band and dance professionals on hand to guide you (also mince pies!). Want to enjoy dance but at your own pace? Pop along to Shetland Arts for Fuga - a screen dance installation with original sound score, playing on loop on 11 and 12 December.

They’re a vital Christmas tradition for so many of us – so how could we leave out the pantos? This year includes Cinderella at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock and at Perth Theatre, and Aberdeen Performing Arts presents Beauty and the Beast at His Majesty’s Theatre. Remember check your local theatre to see what’s on!

Image shows an animated reindeer surrounded by presents and stars, and text that reads Olive the Other Reindeer

Olive the Other Reindeer, courtesy of the Tron

The Christmas family shows continue with Christmas Dinner at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus at Pitlochry Festival Theatre and productions of A Christmas Carol at Tramway in Glasgow and Dundee Rep (also available as a live stream!).

Also in Glasgow is the Tron’s Olive the Other Reindeer until 24 December. And for a special light show in these dark nights, gather the family round the iconic Windmill Tower in Dumfries with the Stove on 19 December for the Tower of Light.

For our youngest theatre lovers, check out Once Upon a Snowstorm at Lyra in Edinburgh and on tour. Is that you, Santa? is a magical new show all about the joy of Christmas showing at Macrobert Arts Centre until 24 December and The Gift at Eden Court Theatre – a dance show for children aged 18 months to 5 years – reveals that playfulness, creativity and imagination are the true gifts at Christmastime.

Looking for something for the grown-ups? Wilf – a riotous and heartfelt new play from James Ley – premieres at the Traverse on 8 December.

At Home

Online shoppers need not suffer – browse From the Studio, Fife Contemporary, ATLAS Arts and Glasgow Women’s Library all from the comfort of your home.

Plus, places like Collective Edinburgh (who have a winter sale on!), the Fruitmarket Gallery, DovecotWelcome Home in Glasgow, Made In Stirling, Braw Wee EmporiumTeagreen, Scottish Design Xchange GLOW Scottish Design Fair all offer a range of products from big ticket items to heart-warming stocking filers available to buy online. You can also browse Craft Scotland’s Directory and find makers to buy from via their own shops.

Prefer to leave the shopping for now? Curl up instead with your favourite festive tipple and enjoy some seasonal literature, such as prize-winning author Graeme Armstrong’s piece on Scots language Standard English is oor Second Language.

Love Singing, a community engagement initiative that supports singing communities across Scotland, has just launched 5 new songs for choirs now available for all choirs to access free of charge. You can watch their films on the Love Singing website and find out more about the choirs they worked with to create these brand new musical resources.

The Climate Challenge: 1.5 Degrees project from Film Access Scotland, supported by Screen Scotland, has seen a fantastic variety of 90-second films made from people of all ages in response to climate change. Set against the background of COP26, you can now watch a collections of the submissions on the Screen Scotland website.

On film, watch Bakehouse Community Arts’ short films (funded by the Open Fund) created by new and established writers reading and discussing their work. You can also read Bakings, their new online literary magazine featuring poems, recordings and illustrations from Scotland and beyond. Is spoken word your thing? Explore this playlist from I Am Loud featuring short films from season 2 of their Return to Form project.

Why not take 5 and enjoy another short film, this time from Dance Film Initiative called Tweet (funded by Creative Scotland's Youth Arts Fund).

Missed the Soundhouse season of concerts or just want to re-live the experience? Back @ the Trav Online is Soundhouse’s snapshot of a season of music at the Traverse.

And finally, celebrate all things film with Glasgow Film’s Christmas Quiz! Book your spot for Thursday 9 December by donating via the event page and test your knowledge against other film buffs from your living room!

This article was published on 08 Dec 2021