The countdown is real & there is no escaping it, Christmas is just four weeks away (silently dancing). Are you feeling festive yet?! Maybe you’ve had Michael Buble Christmas on repeat since October – your diet has been mince pies & mulled wine since November – your tree is already up with flashing lights … or … maybe the flip side, your friends secretly call you grinch (yikes). Regardless, I have something that is sure to make you smile.
You might have heard me blabber on about my creative family, my mom is an award winning artist and my sister is too, my other sister is an accessory designer and recently launched a line of cushions. Growing up, a regular weekend involved my mom loading four kids into her van (usually cramped around her artwork) and dragging us to an art show, design fair, creative market or other festive pop-up. We were her side kicks (aka free labor) helping to set up & break down, hanging the artwork, cleaning glass, fetching coffee & snacks and writing up sales slips. I’m fairly certain we were total brats & complained a lot — but — we did have free reign to roam the aisles to eye up other artists, designers and makers. So I consider myself somewhat of an “expert” on this topic. It’s just part of normal everyday life here and its where I became “hooked” on finding that one of a kind, unique gift.
Fast forward to December and here I am talking about one of the things I enjoy most about Christmas — hitting all the artist open studios, the festive creative markets, the design pop-ups and indie store late night shopping events. Yes you get to chat up artists. Yes it normally involves wine, bubbles or tasty treats. Yes it means you’ll give the most talked about gifts. score! Let’s plunge right in:
Coburg House Christmas Open Studios & Gallery
Coburg House is in an old Granary building, 70 artists will open their studio doors for a behind the scenes peek at where the magic happens. Meet painters, printmakers, jewellery designers, ceramics, textile designers & browse their creative goods.
- When: Fri 30 Nov 6-9pm; Sat 1 Dec & Sun 2 Dec 10-5pm
- Where: 15 Coburg St. EH6 6ET
- Special stuff: Opening night with live music & Bellfield brewery. Click HERE for more juicy details on the event.
Out of the Blue Drill Hall X-mas Market
Spread over 3 weekends leading up to Xmas – Out of the Blue Drill Hall is hosting 150 artists, designers and makers in a super festive X-mas Market. You can find paintings, prints, photography, fashion, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, soft furnishings and so much more.
- When: Sat 1 Dec – Sat 8 Dec – Sat 15 Dec from 11 to 5pm
- Where: 36 Dalmeny St EH6 8RG
- Entry: £1.50
- Special stuff: A very special Xmas Brucheon! with live music on Dec 8. For the full list of artists & designers attending, click HERE.
Abbeymount Open Studios
Abbeymount Studios 30 artists & designers will open their studio doors to share a behind the scenes look at where their creativity flourishes. Includes artists, interior designers, textile designers, illustrators, furniture makers, and much more. Click HERE for the full details.
- When: Sat 1 Dec from 12 – 6pm
- Where: 2 Easter Rd EH7 5AN
- Special stuff: There will be live demonstrations throughout the day from screen printing to mosaics to textile printing.
BeaverHall Christmas Open Studios
Beaver hall studios is in an old chocolate factory, artists & makers will be opening the doors of their studios to the public. Meet illustrators, print makers, painters, glass makers and ceramicists.
- When: Fri 30 Nov 6-9pm; Sat 1 Dec 10-5pm; Sun 2 Dec 11-4pm
- Where: 27 Beaverhall Rd EH7 4JE
- Special stuff: Wine & nibbles on Fri eve plus pop up cafe by Fieldwork
St. Margarets House Edinburgh Palette Makers Market
Set in a large brutalist building, The Makers Market is an annual event taking place in the large Gallery space. Across December, various studios are hosting festive workshops including Christmas decorations, wreath making, Christmas stockings and table runners, Christmas embroidery, kids Christmas crafts and much more. Click HERE for more info.
- When: Sat 8 Dec from 12-5pm
- Where: 150 London Rd EH7 6AE
Summer Hall Christmas Market
Best known as a vibrant multi-arts venue with contemporary art exhibitions, live performances and pop up food events. Summerhall has curated a festive market packed full of contemporary designers, makers, jewellers, textile designers, illustrators, botanics and skincare makers along with a “foodie” courtyard. Click HERE for the full line up. This event should not be missed!
- When: Sun 9 Dec from 11-5pm
- Where: 1 Summerhall EH9 1PL
- Entry: £2 (kids go free)
- Special stuff: Decadent eats & Pickerings Gin plus wreath making class £20 and porcelain painting workshop.
Some of my faves who will be exhibiting (see below) and for the full line up of talented artists, designers and makers, click HERE.
Above links: Helen Chalmers, Boyes Botanics, Kilted Donut, Mairi Helena, Liz Tainsh, Lucky Cloud, Farrago Retro Vintage, Vica Gabor, Maik, Coco Chocolatier
St Stephen St Indie shops
Thurs 6 Dec from 5 to 8pm with afterparty at Smith & Gertrude wine bar
Aka Catalog – The Method – Golden Hare Books – Bon Tot – Jessica Buckley Interiors – Those Were The Days Vintage – Lilies & Dreams – LoveCrumbs (with century general store)
Broughton St Indie shops
Fri 7 Dec from 5 to 8pm
Aka LifeStory – Curiouser & Curiouser – Nice Stuff – watch this space for others –
Hill St Design House Contemporary Christmas
Hillstreet is in a listed Georgian townhouse x LocalHeroesDesign have curated a festive week long contemporary Christmas pop up. You can find their favourite designers and creatives including apparel, jewellery, accessories, knitwear, lifetstyle and ceramics. Click HERE for a full list of designers & creatives.
- When: Everyday Dec 1 to Dec 8, from 12 to 7pm
- Where: 3 Hill St EH
Custom Lane Working Title Exhibition and Life Story pop-up
Set along the wharf in Leith, Custom Lane is a thriving creative space for events, exhibitions and talks. Working Title includes 19 artists & designers showcasing their designs (including my fave Tom Pigeon). In addition, everyone’s fave Scandi concept shop, Life Story has a beautifully curated pop-up of Nordic and Japanese design-inspired wares. Click HERE for details on the Working Title artists & designers. Click HERE for more info on Life Story.
- When: Dec 1 to Jan 20th, from 10am to 5pm
- Where: 1 Custom Wharf, EH6 6AL
- Special stuff: Kestin Hare men’s apparel concept shop and Williams Johnson coffee roasters & cafe are part of Custom Lane
Hidden Door Christmas Art Fundraiser & Sale
In typical Hidden Door style you can expect good music, flowing drinks, and a variety of entertainment and merry-making alongside Art for sale.
- When: Fri 7 Dec 7-10pm and Sat 8 Dec 12-5pm
- Where: Skylight Cafe at 179 Cannongate EH8 8BN
- Special stuff: Live music & mulled wine. You can preview the some of the art for sale HERE.
That’s a wrap of festive creative markets – open studios – indie late night shopping – pop ups. Watch my stories over the month to see how many of these I’m able to hit up during the month. It’s always an inspiring experience & it really is the perfect place to score that “must have” item for yourself (hmmm, I mean others) on your list. If I’ve missed any, give me a shout & I’ll update the the post. Ho. Ho. Ho.
This is great, Liz! I was going to add it to my Christmas gift guide round-up newsletter. But I rather share it now in time for most events. It’s refreshing seeing a different kind of list like this.
Thanks so much Juan. And, yes … please go ahead and share it. I should have added that Edinburgh has a HUGE more commercial Christmas market in Princes St Gardens that also has a wide selection of gift items, loads of food stalls, pop-up bars and rides for the kids. It runs everyday, all day, for the entire month.