Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Top 10 reasons to visit Edinburgh this autumn

07 September 2017

Autumn in Edinburgh is a beautiful and vibrant time of year to enjoy the city. In Princes Street Gardens, the leaves change colour and you can feel the refreshing breeze starting to blow through the capital. The city also offers lots of activities both indoor and outdoor to cater for the good old Scottish weather. Whether you are in the mood for art and culture, entertainment for a rainy day or simply want to take in the autumn colours of the city, Edinburgh has all the options covered for you.

See Edinburgh’s changing colours

Autumn With Castle 500X210

Stroll through the New Town and enjoy the traditional Georgian architecture whilst admiring the trees shedding their autumnal red leaves.

Equally as beautiful at this time of year is the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. We highly recommend you take a stroll through the Formal Garden, where the azaleas will show off every autumnal shade imaginable.

Find out other beautiful spots to enjoy autumn walks in Edinburgh>

Lose yourself in Edinburgh's enchanting museums

Wyse Exhibition Museum Of Edinburgh 500X210

[Image credit: Museum of Edinburgh]

Even though a rainy autumn day usually calls for a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, we suggest that you take at least one day to visit one of the many extraordinary museums of Edinburgh. With the vast majority free to visit, and exhibits refreshed all year round, the city offers something for everybody.  

You can find a number of Edinburgh's 101 Objects located in the museums dotted around the city, so tick a few off your list and delve into the past while staying out of the rainy weather that sometimes comes in autumn.

Get lost in some of the city's most fascinating museums>

Find your new favourite festival

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[Image credit: Gin Festival Edinburgh 2017]

August may be a key month for many of Edinburgh's festivals, however the autumn months also have their fair share!

Celebrate the best of oral traditions and cultural diversity at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival from the 20–31 October. Or, if gin is your thing, you can stimulate your senses at the Gin Festival, taking place on from 6-8 October, or for vegans or those looking to explore vegan food, there's the Scottish Vegan Festival on 22 October.

Take a look at other festivals throughout the year in Edinburgh>

Take a bite out of the autumn harvest at Edinburgh's markets

Grassmarket Farmers Market 500X210

New seasons mean discovering new seasonal produce, and there's no better time to try something new than in the harvest season! Farmers' markets are a huge part of Edinburgh's culture, with lots happening across the city every weekend.

A crisp autumn day wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the one of Edinburgh local farmers’ markets where you can enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and eats at the city’s farmers market.

Check out our guide of Edinburgh’s best local markets>

Enjoy Doors Open Days

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For one weekend, many of Edinburgh’s most famous, remarkable or secret landmarks, museums and houses open up their doors as part of Doors Open Days on the 23-24 September - all completely free of charge.

Residents and visitors can enjoy iconic venues such as Mansfield Traquair, John Knox House and Royal Observatory of Edinburgh. It’s your chance to explore some of Edinburgh's most architecturally and culturally significant buildings. 

Edinburgh Oktoberfest

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[Image credit: Edinburgh Oktoberfest]

Edinburgh will get a taste of Germany’s famous Oktoberfest right in the heart of the city again this year. Taking place at Princes Street Garden from the 11–15 October, residents and visitors can look forward to a celebration of food, beer and music.

To soak up all the German brewed beer, there’s a belt-loosening array of munchies, from German Schnitzel to Bavarian potato salad. All the delicious food and beer will be served by friendly staff in traditional Bavarian costumes.

Explore the Edinburgh Alphabet

Edinburgh Alphabet Paper Scene

For the very first time, hundreds of items from the collections in the city's care have beenbrought together into one major exhibition at the City Art Centre. Edinburgh Alphabet, an A-Z of the city's collections, runs until the 8 October and is a unique celebration of our city, packed full of original objects, many of which have never been on display before.

This exhibition is free to enter and spans four gallery flours, featuring over 300 objects. Drawn from the city's fine and applied art, social history, literacty, archaeology and childhood collections, visitors will be amazing and surprised at the huge range of exhibits on display. What will you discover?

Experience Edinburgh's Hallowe'en scene

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Halloween in Edinburgh is an amazing time of year, especially as the city’s Old Town closes and cobbled New Town alleyways provide the perfect eerie backdrop for the occasion. 

Shops, bars and restaurants duly adopt the Hallowe'en theme and take on a whole new vibe. Join in with the special themed events that are happening in the city, ranging from the Samhuinn Fire Festival, guided tours with Mercat Tours, Real Mary King’s Close and The Edinburgh Dungeon

Uncover more of the dark sides of Edinburgh in our haunted guide section>

Explore Edinburgh's 101 Objects

Itinerary Image

To celebrate 2017 being Scotland’s year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, a bespoke website has been created and filled with 101 of Edinburgh’s most intriguing treasures. From the prestigious to the prosaic, each object has a glittering tale to tell. Viewers can sift through their stories online, then visit them in person at locations across the city, exploring the city’s great wealth of history.

Buried amongst the curiosities are several mementoes of the anniversaries that Edinburgh is celebrating this year: it is 70 years since the city exploded with arts festivals and 250 years since Edinburgh decided to expand with a plan for a New Town - get yourself started with one of the itineraries we've put together

Delve into the past with Edinburgh's 101 Objects>

Fill your belly with comfort food

Loudons Eggs Benedict cr Facebook

[Image credit: Loudons Cafe]

As the weather begins to change and the nights draw in, autumn is the time of embrace hearty comfort foods, as well as enjoy the great seasonal produce on our doorstep.

Looking for comfort food as soon as you wake up? You can’t go wrong with a hearty eggs benedict breakfast from Loudons café or a lunch trip to Cairngorm Coffee for a cheese toasties. Union of Genius is a great spot for warming up to the most universally accepted comfort food ever: soup. Here you can find delicious soups and gluten free bread options which will leave you wanting more.

Looking for more comfort food options in Edinburgh? See more on our blog>