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

08 September 2016

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

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[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. There are many new exciting exhibitions open this autumn, so the city offers something for everybody.  

Make sure you pay a visit to Celts at the National Museum of Scotland, running until the 24th September; and the unique exhibition A Wise Man Knows His Craft: Henry Taylor Wyse and Holyrood Pottery at the Museum of Edinburgh, which is open until the 30th October.

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

Let your inner artist out at Edinburgh's Galleries

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[Image credit: Fruitmarket Gallery]

Autumn art season has also arrived in Edinburgh, bringing with it a range of contemporary art as well as traditional masterpieces from both international and local artists.

Make sure you don’t miss the Inspiring Impressionism at the Scottish National Gallery which is running until the 2nd of October. For a contemporary art option, take a look at the Damian Ortega Exhibition which is now on display at The Fruitmarket Gallery until the 23rd October. 

Explore the art scene in Edinburgh>

Find your new favourite festival

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[Image credit: Edinburgh Coffee Festival]

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 21st – 31st October. Or, if you’re into café culture, you can stimulate your senses at the Edinburgh Coffee Festival, taking place on 1st October.

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

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

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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 24 - 25 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 5th – 9th 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.

See the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh lit up at night

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Be spellbound at the spectacular Botanic Lights event at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh as it returns for another year. Visitors to this series of evening events will be treated to a truly unique sensory experience as they embark on a journey of light through the beautiful gardens.

Using light and sound, visitors can explore regions from where the garden’s plants were collected to the places its scientists carry out important research and conservation work today. The shows run every night from 13 October to 6 November excluding Mondays.

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>

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>