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12 of the best feelgood festive events in the north and north-east

Brodie Estate, Moray, lit up at night.
Shining bright: Soak up this colourful Christmas spectacle at Brodie Estate. Photo supplied by The National Trust Scotland

We’ve rounded up 12 of the best Christmas events in Aberdeenshire and the Highlands so whether you’re a grouchy grinch or an excited elf, there’s sure to be something to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Aberdeen Christmas Village

Aerial view of Aberdeen Christmas Village.
Get into the spirit of Christmas with a visit to Aberdeen’s Christmas Village. Photo by Kenny Elrick, DC Thomson.

The dark wintery nights are set to get a whole lot brighter as this sparkling spectacle returns to Broad Street and the Marischal College Quadrangle.

From the towering helter skelter and the market stalls brimming with gourmet food and mulled wine to the dazzling Christmas lights and a festive family trail, big and wee kids alike are sure to be left mesmerised.

The village events start in spectacular style on Thursday November 17 at Castlegate when the Christmas lights will be switched on at 7pm.

Following the big switch on, there will also be a Christmas parade on November 20 which sets off from Albyn Place at 5.30pm.

For more information check out Aberdeen Inspired’s website.

Santa’s Workshop, Aberdeen

Santa and an elf in Bon Accord Centre, Aberdeen.
Santa and his band of elves will be at the Bon Accord Centre from this weekend. Photo supplied by Charlie House

Santa and his reindeer are taking time out of their busy schedule to meet little ones at The Bon Accord shopping centre in Aberdeen.

Armed with a sack full of presents and a loyal team of elves, Santa is opening his wonderful workshop for VIP visits from Saturday November 12 until Christmas Eve.

Tickets are £7.99 with the money raised going to Charlie House, a local charity which supports children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

To book, go to Charlie House’s website.

Skating with Santa, Inverness

Santa ice-skating with children in Inverness, Highlands.
Get your skates on this Christmas at Inverness Ice Centre. Photo from Shutterstock.

Glide into Christmas gracefully – or like Bambi on ice – at this cool event at Inverness Ice Centre.

The Christmas Wonderland Weekend is on Saturday December 17 and Sunday December 18 at the Bught Drive venue.

You can book tickets on Inverness Ice Centre’s website.

Santa’s grotto and miniature railway experience, Grantown on Spey

Santa on a miniature train in Grantown on Spey, Highlands.
Little ones are sure to have fun at this fantastic family event. Photo by Grantown East.

Enjoy a 1,000 metre miniature railway journey to see Santa in his grotto at the Grantown East Highland Heritage and Cultural Centre.

Little ones are reminded to bring along their letters for Santa at the heartwarming event which begins on November 20 and continues until Christmas Eve in Grantown on Spey.

To book tickets you can phone 01479 816 262, email or message Grantown East Highland Heritage and Cultural Centre on Facebook.

Portree Christmas lights switch-on ceremony

Santa Claus on a sleigh with reindeer in Portree, Isle of Skye.
Santa and his real-life reindeer will be the stars of the show at this cracking event. Photo supplied by Portree and Braes Community Trust.

An event to make the heart sing, this Christmas cracker features Portree High School Pipe Band, a hunt the elf trail, late-night shopping in the village and carol singing with local primary schools.

The magic begins in Somerled Square on Friday November 26 at 6pm.

Don’t fret if you can’t make that event as the following day there is also a Reindeer Parade at 2pm from Bank Street.

For more details visit the website of Portree and Braes Community Trust.

Alford Santa Run, Alford

People running dressed in Santa Claus costumes.
Run off the mince pies at this festive family event. Photo supplied by Alford Santa Run.

A sea of Santas are set to pound the pavements round Alford at this fun-filled annual event.

Taking place at the Grampian Transport Museum race track on Sunday November 27, the 5k run and one-mile elf mile dash sets off at 11.30am.

So dig out your best white and red attire and join the fun.

You can sign up online at Entry Central.

Brodie Illuminated 2022

Brodie Estate, Moray, lit up at night.
Brodie Estate will be brought to life in this magical night-time spectacle. Photo supplied by National Trust Scotland.

Enjoy the beauty of Brodie Estate with a spectacular night-time walk around the illuminated grounds.

Warm and tasty refreshments will be available each evening, and funfair rides will be available on Fridays and Saturdays. Dogs are also welcome as long as they’re kept on a short lead.

Running four days each week – Wednesday to Saturday – until November 26.

To book tickets visit the National Trust of Scotland website.

Eden Court Christmas Fairs, Inverness

Enjoy some festive retail therapy at this popular Inverness arts venue.

Taking place from Friday November 18 to Sunday November 20 and from the weekend beginning December 2, this event is the perfect place to pick up presents while supporting local businesses.

For more information visit Eden Court’s website.

Inverness Giant Christmas Fayre

Gingerbread cookies in the shapes of houses, snowflakes, Christmas trees and people.
Children will be tasked with finding gingerbread at this fun-filled family event. Photo by Shutterstock.

Brimming with more than 90 arts and crafts stalls as well as live music, family activities and a Santa’s Grotto, this festive fayre is not to be missed.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there will also be a free gingerbread hunt for children.

The fun is on November 26 from 10am to 3pm at Inverness Leisure Centre.

Aberdeen Christmas Trail

Created by local chainsaw carver Garry Shand, 12 sculptures will be placed across the city centre.

The free event is from Thursday December 1 to Christmas Eve.

For more details visit Aberdeen City Council’s website.

Evening Express Christmas Concert, Aberdeen

Photo of Santa Claus at the Evening Express Christmas Concert in Aberdeen.
Young people will take centre stage at this popular annual event. Photo by Chris Sumner, DC Thomson.

More than 700 young people from 23 schools are set to perform at this long-running community event.

Hosted at the P&J Live on Sunday December 11 at 2pm and 7pm, tickets for the sing song can be booked on the P&J Live’s website.

Or for more information check out our article about the Evening Express Christmas Concert.

Film Forres Family: The Muppet Christmas Carol

The muppet Christmas Carol.

Grab the popcorn and head along to Forres Town Hall for this feelgood festive film.

Entry for the film, which is being screened on December 16 at 6pm, is a £1 donation.

For more information go to Forres Area Community Trust.