12 Ways to Have an Amazing Autumn in Edinburgh.
05 October 2021
Whether this is your first time to Edinburgh, you’re a seasoned visitor to the city or are lucky enough to call Auld Reekie your home, there’s plenty going on in Edinburgh & the Lothians this autumn to keep all the family entertained.
Read on and start planning your autumn adventure!
1. Experience Edinburgh in a whole new light!
As the nights start to draw in, light them up on a magical illumination trail. Returning for a second year, Wondrous Woods is once again creating an enchanting woodland journey through the spectacular grounds of Hopetoun House.
Or experience Five Sisters Zoo after dark as you wander through areas lit up with spectacular effects using water, music and coloured lighting - view the animal enclosures, discreetly lit, and take a peek at your favourite nocturnal animals going about their night-time activities.
It’s seen royal ceremonies, vicious battles and medieval parliaments for centuries, now this autumn and winter, prepare to be dazzled as Edinburgh Castle is illuminated in a state of the art magical light installation, Castle of Light: Hidden Treasures. Expect stunning visuals and a spectacle of colour as Rex, the castle’s famous red lion, guides you through the hidden treasures of the castle and watch in amazement as the untold history of this mighty fortress illuminates the very walls that saw it unfold.
Wondrous Woods: Thursday 21 October - Sunday 14 November.
Five Sister Zoo Autumn Nights: Friday 22 October - Sunday 14 November.
Castle of Light - Hidden Treasures: Friday 19 November - Sunday 09 January.
2. Find your new favourite festival.
(Image Credit: Scottish International Storytelling Festival - Mairi McFadyen)
August may be a key month for many of Edinburgh's festivals, however the autumn months also have their fair share.
Dip into dreams and desires, old and new, lost worlds and new worlds with Scottish International Storytelling Festival as they explore the theme of Imagine. Taking place through a mix of online events and small-scale face-to-face events in Edinburgh and across Scotland, the festival runs from Friday 15 – Sunday 31 October.
A contemporary revival of the ancient Celtic celebration of the new year, told through a spectacular performance of fire, drumming, acrobatics & theatre, this year’s Samhuinn Fire Festival will be performed as a parade through Edinburgh’s Old Town on Sunday 31 October, as well as being livestreamed.
3. See Edinburgh’s changing colours.
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.
4. Have a spooky Halloween in Edinburgh.
Halloween in Edinburgh is an amazing time of year, especially as the city’s closes and cobbled alleyways provide the perfect eerie backdrop for the occasion.
Shops, bars and restaurants duly adopt the Halloween theme and take on a whole new vibe. Join in with the special themed events that are happening in the city, ranging from guided tours with Mercat Tours and scary goings-on at Edinburgh Zoo to PYO pumpkins.
5. Celebrate Edinburgh’s cocktail culture.
The UK’s biggest cocktail festival outside of London, Edinburgh Cocktail Week returns to the city for 2 weeks of experiences, cocktails, bars, new festival features and an exciting line-up at Cocktail Village.
Edinburgh Cocktail Week has partnered with 100 bars across the city who have each created their own Signature Cocktail. On top of a stellar bar line up, wristband holders can also visit the Cocktail Village at Festival Square and enjoy £4+ cocktails from over 20 pop-up bars alongside live music, DJs, street food and entertainment.
Monday 11 – Sunday 24 October.
6. Fill your belly with comfort food.
(Image Credit: [Image: Union of Genius)
As the temperature begins to dip and we dig out our winter wardrobe, autumn is the time of hearty comfort food, as well as enjoying the great seasonal produce on our doorstep.
A warming hot chocolate from Mimi’s Bakehouse should be just the ticket. Or try Union of Genius for the most universally accepted comfort food ever: soup. Here you can find delicious soups and gluten free bread options which’ll leave you warm and satisfied.
7. Monkey around at Dalkeith Country Park.
If the idea of zipping through the air, negotiating treetop crossings and zip wires across water appeal to your little monkeys, be sure to pay a visit to Go Ape at Dalkeith Country Park.
Situated within 1000-acres of ancient woodlands, this outdoor adventure park has a variety of treetop activities for children of all ages.
8. Have fun down at the farm.
Craigies Farm are passionate about fun, food and farming. Bring your little ones down to Craigie’s Little Farmers this autumn and get up close to pygmy goats, pigs, Clydesdale horse, Shetland ponies, chickens and Highland cows.
9. Take to the skies with Scotland’s National Museum of Flight.
Get up, up and away with a variety of family-friendly events hosted by National Museum of Flight at East Fortune airfield.
Learn how to tie knots used to set up a hammock or see how to turn a drinks bottle into a water filter with their Survival Skills Workshops (Tuesday 19 – Friday 22 October); visit the Flying into the Future Trail exhibition and discover how engineers are working to make air travel less damaging to the environment; or be inspired to build your own masterpiece after visiting the LEGO® Concorde Model, which is on display until Sunday 31 October.
10. Discover Scotland’s national drink.
Mystery, entertainment, comicality and madcap pioneering – all these elements combine to bring 2 days of whisky exploration to Edinburgh this October.
With over 200 different whiskies from around the world to sample and a number of participatory experiences to enjoy, The Whisky Stramash aims to open your eyes to the delights of whisky.
Saturday 23 – Sunday 24 October.
11. Can you escape?
Suitable for groups of 2 to 7 people, can you and your team escape Edinburgh's spookiest escape room, The Anatomist at Escape The Past?
An immersive story that challenges you to solve a mystery - descend into a world of grave robbery, mystery and malpractice as you enter the study of a 19th century anatomist. Can you solve the clues and make it out alive?!
12. Have a bespoke seasonal cocktail.
Celebrate the change of the season with The Ivy on the Square, who are honouring this beautiful time of year with an enchanted Harvest Moon installation, a bespoke seasonal cocktail menu created with Johnnie Walker, and a delicious new dessert.
As the nights draw in and the leaves begin to turn, what could be better than a Smashing Pumpkin featuring sweet and smoky Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky, pumpkin purée, lemon juice, and topped with ginger ale; or for that truly autumnal feel, how about The Perfect Pear, complete with Johnnie Walker Black Label, xante pear cognac, pear puree, cinnamon syrup, egg white, and aromatic bitters. For those with a sweet tooth, a Hazelnut praline parfait will go down a treat.
The Harvest Moon menu will run from Thursday 23 September to Sunday 24 October.
Whether you're 9 or 99, there's plenty of things going on in Edinburgh to keep all ages and interests entertained - find even more events on our What's On Guide >