There is something magical about autumn in Edinburgh. The city is awash in hues of red and gold. Long leisurely days lie in wait as a stubborn summer sun refuses to set early. The streets are eerily quiet as nothing but the shadow of the Edinburgh Festival remains. And like the calm before the festive storm, the city enjoys a collective sigh of relief as a crisp autumn breeze rustles through the leaves and the memory of summer still lingers in the air. With long peaceful days, quiet cobbled streets and wonderful autumn festivals, it is hard not to fall in love with autumn in Edinburgh.
1. Edinburgh Oktoberfest: TraditionALE Autumn Fun
One of our favourite pastimes in Edinburgh in autumn is the Edinburgh Oktoberfest. From the 5th to the 9th of October in Princes Street Gardens West (a quick 5-minute walk from the hotel), Edinburgh comes to life in a dazzling array of traditional German music, food and beer specially brewed for the occasion. For anyone on a beer budget, entrance to Oktoberfest is free on Wednesday, £5 on Thursday and Sunday and £10 on Friday and Saturday. Otherwise, tickets to the Oktoberfest tent can be booked online and include snacks, seat reservations, two 1.5 pints of German beer, a hearty German Schnitzel and a dessert surprise.
2. PBFA Book Fair: Autumn in Edinburgh by the Book
The PBFA is a travelling booksellers fair that makes its way across the UK each year. Established in 1972, the fair has a long and proven track record in connecting booklovers and literary enthusiasts with a wide selection of antiquarian and second-hand books, maps and prints. On October the 15th, they will be at the Radisson Blu Hotel on the Royal Mille with a collection of rare and wonderful books. So this autumn, take a leaf out of literary-lovers’ book and make your way to the PBFA Book Fair.
3. International Storytelling Festival: Once Upon A Time In Edinburgh
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is a 10-day 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 a night of tales, songs and merriment. Bringing together Scottish and international storytellers and musicians, this year’s Festival of Dreams will take place from the 21st until the 31st of October in various venues throughout Edinburgh.
4. Samhuinn Fire Festival: Winter is Coming
As the days grow shorter, things heat up on the 31st of October at 9pm as the Samhuinn Fire Festival gets underway. Set in Edinburgh’s historic (and haunted) Old Town, the festival celebrates the triumph of Winter over Summer with a fiery procession down the Royal Mile to West Parliament Square, where a spectacular performance takes place. While this is not a ticketed event, a donation can be made on the night.
5. Old Hallows Eve: Bewitching Edinburgh
When it comes to Old Hallows Eve, autumn in Edinburgh is truly spook-takular. 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, there is also a number of ghoulish tours and activities for you to do. From a trip to Edinburgh Dungeons and a visit to the McKenzie Poltergeist, to ghostly happenings at Edinburgh’s Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh has a long history of haunted happenings and paranormal activities. And come witching hour on Old Hallows Eve, you are in for one chilling night.
6. Bonfire Night: Remember, Remember the 5th of November?
Every year on the 5th of 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 (where you will probably see the burning of a straw “guy”), but the best place to see the amazing fireworks is from atop Calton Hill. Simply wrap up warm, mosey on up the Hill to watch the heavens come to life before warming up with a wee dram or two in our MP’s Bistro.
7. Edinburgh’s Christmas: A Clause For Celebration
And finally, we say goodbye to autumn in Edinburgh with the start of Edinburgh’s Christmas. One of Europe’s finest Christmas Festivals, Edinburgh’s Christmas is a month-long celebration of all things festive. With a magical winter wonderland, fabulous Christmas markets, shows, rides and attractions, there’s no better way to welcome in the winter holidays.