Today marks the first official day of Autumn, it’s without a doubt my favourite season, it sparks a change and feels like a new beginning more than new year does for me. It’s when I dive into my ‘spring’ cleaning, get lists together and crave nothing but warm cosy evenings with soup and blankets. My soul was, without a doubt made for Autumn.
It’s also when Edinburgh hits the season I think it suits best. The city turns a beautiful golden brown with splashes of orange and a smattering of burnt reds, the warm tones fill the streets and it feels like pure magic to walk around.
I thought I would put together a little guide on the best things to do around Edinburgh during Autumn and list a few of our favourites:
The city isn’t short of green (and orange) spaces for you to walk, there are beautiful gardens, meadows and parks and all within minutes of the centre. Some of them even make you forget you are in the middle of a busy capital city.
Wander the Meadows:
The Meadows are a great place for a walk or a scoot with a designated bike path. You can walk there in just a few minutes from the Royal mile, passing a few coffee stops on the way. Its a beautifully big open space, with tree’s and parks for the kids, or you can just have a picnic on the grass.
Princess Street Gardens:
There are two sets of gardens in the middle of the city adjacent to each other, both have beautiful views of Edinburgh Castle, the West End gardens have a park, a restored fountain and for any kids who are big fans of Teacup Travels you can also visit Great Aunt Lizzies house, right in the middle!
If you’ve been here a while you know my love for Dean Village. Its an escape from the crowds without leaving the city. A walk along the water from Stockbridge brings you out to the most picturesque little village. Almost as if it was out of a fairtytale.
You can see more on Dean Village here: A Day in Dean Village
The Botanical Gardens:
70 acres of gardens with 10 glasshouses, the Botanics is a gorgeous day out.
Due to new Covid restrictions check booking tickets (free) before you turn up. Entry is free, unless visiting the Glasshouses.
Dr Neils Garden:
Dubbed Edinburghs ‘Secret Garden’, designed by Drs Nancy & Andrew Neil, it’s a peaceful little escape right in the middle of the city. This one is a proper hidden gem and not many know about it, so worth a visit!
Also, check which days they are open, due to new Covid rules. Entry is free.
One of the most beautiful graveyards in Edinburgh, you can see the resting place of a few interesting folk. Wee Bobby, a sky terrier who guarded his owners grave for 14 years, Thomas Riddle and a few others who inspired some of the Harry Potter characters, including William McGonagall, who was named the ‘worst poet in Scotland’.
HIKE FOR THE VIEW
If you fancy something a little more adventurous than a walk, there are a few places you can hike. Gorgeous views of the city, and are brilliant for a sunrise or sunset.
Calton Hill, doesn’t look like that big a walk, but it is and has a view of the city to die for. And on a clear day you can see some of Fife and the Forth Bridge, it’s a stunning place to go for sunset, or sunrise if you are an early bird.
Arthur Seat & Salisbury Crags:
An extinct volcano sitting 251m above sea level in the middle of the city, you can get a 360 view of the city and it’s another amazing spot for a sunset.
You can climb Arthur’s Seat or Salisbury Crags, both views are impressive and you won’t be disappointed with either.
Ok, so this one you don’t really have to hike, but the view from Edinburgh Castle is pretty nice and well worth a visit if you haven’t been, you’ll have to book tickets in advance for this one, entry is free for Historic Scotland members. It’s got some gorgeous views of the gardens and the city and you get to see them fire the 1 O’clock gun too!
TAKE A WEE TOUR
Edinburgh has so much history and you can go on a tour for almost every single part of it. From ghost tours, history tours, kids bus tours and Harry Potter, there’s something for everyone.
Harry Potter Tour:
Theres a few different tours you can do for all things magical, but The Potter Trail (I think) is the most fun. Theres a free daily tour that goes around or you can book onto your own private tour too, which is brilliant for an alternative birthday party for the kids!
Edinburgh City Sightseeing Tour:
You can book a ticket and hop on and off the Edinburgh City bus, they do a horrible history tour for the kids and go round all the best spots in Edinburgh. you can use the ticket for the entire day and just jump off when you want to explore a part of the city. The kids favourite part? the bus had no roof! Fun on a warm day!
*We were recently on a City Sightseeing tour as a part of a Press invite*
Some other tours you can do…
Real Mary Kings Close
The Ghost Bus Tours
INVEST IN SOME TARTAN
The Royal Mile is filled with Scottish shops, not only for tourist! You can grab yourself your very own piece of Scotland. A tartan scarf or shawl are perfect for that little late evening wander, keeping you cosy on the way around, they double as a pretty good instagram prop too.
The souvenir shops are full of delightful wee bits that you can keep and take home. Moubray House is one of my favourite little stops on the Royal Mile, its the oldest residential home in Edinburgh, a must see!
STAY COSY WITH HOT CHOCOLATE
Edinburgh isn’t short of an independent cafe or two. They are dotted all over the city and you are never too far from a wee hot chocolate. You can take a break from the cobbles and sit in somewhere nice, or get a take away and stay cosy on your tour around the city.
Here are a list of my favourite hot chocolate (And coffee) spots in the city.
Edinburghs Best Hot Chocolates.
OR FILL UP ON WARM COMFORT FOOD
Not much beats a good roast and you’ll find some good spots to stop off for some good old belly warming food around here. If you want something simple like generously filled toastie, sausage and mash, or just any kind of comfort food, then these are the stops for you:
Makars Mash Bar
Bread Meats Bread
VISIT A VINTAGE BOOKSTORE
When you are all walked out and your belly is full, nothing say Autumn more than taking shelter in a old book store. The smell of the vintage books, twinkling fairy lights… it’s a perfect day for a little date too.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who associates that old book shop smell with Autumn? There’s so many to choose from but here are some firm favourites of mine.
Golden Hare Books
The Edinburgh Bookshop
No matter what you choose to do, a day in Edinburgh during the autumn is a day well spent! Now, off you go… have a lovely day!