Things to look forward to in Edinburgh this autumn

Experience autumn in Edinburgh 2023

There is something magical about autumn in Edinburgh. The city is awash in hues of red and gold. The streets are quieter as the summer festivals are over for another year. And like the calm before the festive storm, the city takes a collective sigh of relief. A crisp autumn breeze rustles through the leaves and the memory of summer still lingers in the air. Peaceful days, quiet cobbled streets and wonderful autumn events are ahead. So, why not take a look at our fantastic seasonal offers and visit Edinburgh at this magnificent time of year?

Edinburgh Playhouse: Musical spectaculars

The King and I (12th to 16th September) and Disney’s Aladdin (24th October to 18th November) are the hit musicals that grace the stage at Edinburgh Playhouse this autumn. Just a short walk from our hotel, this is a fantastic destination for Edinburgh theatre breaks.

Doors Open Days: Explore Edinburgh on a budget 

For anyone visiting Edinburgh on a budget, there’s no better time to visit Edinburgh than September. The annual Edinburgh Doors Open Days on 23rd and 24th September allow you to visit some of Edinburgh’s most unique buildings (many of which are normally closed to the public) completely free of charge. What’s more, many venues will offer behind-the-scenes tours, talks and exhibitions, bringing these historic buildings to life. That’s why visiting this free festival in September really does pay off.

Edinburgh Oktoberfest: TraditionALE Autumn Fun

One of our favourite autumn pastimes is the Edinburgh Oktoberfest. This year, the event takes place in a huge Oktoberfest Tent in Princes Street Gardens. From 5th to 8th October, the area comes to life in a dazzling array of traditional German music and food. Plus, beer is specially brewed for the occasion. The tent is filled with long tables and the waiting staff are dressed in Dirndl and Lederhosen. So, you can experience all things Oktoberfest right here in Edinburgh!

PBFA Book Fair: Autumn by the book

The PBFA Book Fair is a travelling bookseller’s fair that makes its way across the UK each year. Established in 1972, the fair has a long and proven track record for connecting book lovers and literary enthusiasts with a wide selection of antiquarian and second-hand books, maps and prints. On 9th September and 11th November, they will be at the Augustine Church Hall on George IV Bridge with a collection of rare and wonderful books. So this autumn, take a leaf out of a literary lovers’ book and make your way to the PBFA Book Fair.

Fleur De Villes VOYAGE: Blooming marvellous

From 15th to 24th September, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh will be hosting a spectacular world-class exhibition, Fleur De Villes VOYAGE. Explore an indoor marquee featuring 15 fresh floral mannequins, each one a stunning work of art inspired by the garden’s collections. There will be further floral installations at the gardens’ Inverleith House, along with talks and demonstrations by local florists.

International Storytelling Festival: Once upon a time in Edinburgh

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is a celebration of live storytelling in and around Edinburgh. Every October, as the leaves begin to turn and the long autumn nights close in, friends and families gather around the hearth for tales, songs and merriment. Bringing together Scottish and international storytellers and musicians, this year’s festival will take place from 13th to 29th October in various venues throughout Edinburgh.

Old Hallows Eve: Bewitching Edinburgh

When it comes to Old Hallows Eve, autumn in Edinburgh is truly spooktakular. After all, it is no secret that Edinburgh is one of the most haunted cities in the world. So in addition to the many Halloween parties you would find all over the city on 31st October, there is also a number of ghoulish tours and activities for you to take part in. From the terrifying Edinburgh Horror Festival and ghostly happenings underground, to a drink in a haunted pub. Edinburgh has a long history of paranormal activities and come witching hour on Old Hallows Eve, you are in for one chilling night!

Samhuinn Fire Festival: Winter is coming

As the days grow shorter, things heat up on the evening of 31st October as the Samhuinn Festival gets underway in the Old Town. This is the sister event to the Beltane Fire Festival, marking the transition from winter to summer with fireplay, drumming, performances, music and dance. It’s a totally immersive experience, as colourful Celtic characters act out the ancient story of Samhuinn.

Bonfire Night: Remember, remember the 5th of November

Every year on 5th November, Edinburgh comes under fire in a dazzling display of pyrotechnics to commemorate the gunpowder plot of 1605. There are a number of safe, fun organised bonfire events across the city. Or, you can simply wrap up warm and mosey on up Calton Hill to watch the heavens come to life, before warming up with a wee dram or two in our lounge.

Winter Light Trails: Light up the dark

November is when many of Edinburgh’s winter light trails begin. Such as the spectacular Castle of Light at Edinburgh Castle and Christmas at the Botanics at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. As night falls, make your way through a trail of illuminations, installations or projections and experience the magic of winter.

Edinburgh’s Christmas: A Clause for celebration

And finally, we say goodbye to autumn with the start of Edinburgh’s Christmas. One of Europe’s finest Christmas festivals usually begins in mid to late November. This is a magical celebration of all things festive. With a sparkling winter wonderland, fabulous Christmas markets, shows, rides and attractions, there’s no better way to welcome in the winter holidays.

Looking for a place to stay in Edinburgh this autumn that’s close to all the action? Parliament House Hotel is located not far from Princes Street, in a quiet spot at the foot of Calton Hill. Discover more about our comfortable rooms and book your autumn break today.