With the madness of the Edinburgh International Festival behind us for another year and Christmas and Hogmanay not too far away, the autumn season is the perfect time to visit Edinburgh.
It’s not quite freezing; autumn colours envelope the city, which you can explore without the distraction of huge crowds. Why not plan your trip carefully with our helpful suggestions?
No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a visit to it’s iconic castle. Standing proudly upon a volcanic plug, the castle is always an impressive site, but there is much more to discover when you actually go inside. Highlights include the Stone of Destiny, Crown Jewels and Mons Meg, an impressive medieval gun.
You can also visit the National War Museum, the Scottish National War Memorial and Edinburgh’s oldest building, St Margaret’s Chapel. Find out more by going to the Edinburgh Castle website.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, is another must-visit. Open all year-round, marvel at the Palace Gardens as well as the throne room, great gallery, and grand State Apartments, known for their remarkable plasterwork ceilings. You’ll also see the magnificent Holyrood Abbey, founded in 1128 by David I.
Famous for its Giant Panda exhibit, Edinburgh Zoo is one for all the family. Along with the many animal enclosures, there’s also daily attractions, such as the penguin parade, where you’ll see the penguins taking a stroll with their keepers, and Living Links, a field station and research centre dedicated to the study of primates. You’ll easily fill your day and tire out the kids!
Autumn colours make it the perfect season to go outdoors, even if the weather is changeable. Edinburgh is not short of parks, including Princes Street Gardens, The Meadows, Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat and Carlton Hill. The Water of Leith is also a beautiful location for a walk or cycle, and there’s nowhere better to experience flora than in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
While you’re too late for Edinburgh’s most famous festival, you can still experience a festival spirit with the International Story Telling Festival, taking place from 19-31 October. The festival celebrates the creative art of storytelling. Book now to watch performances, listen to talks, take part in discussions, and learn in workshops. it’s great fun for all the family.
Edinburgh’s dark side
With Halloween approaching and dark nights drawing in, what better time to explore Edinburgh’s darker side? Visit the Edinburgh Dungeons, Real Mary King’s Close and The Vaults or, if you feel brave enough, take a ghost tour. Greyfriars Kirkyard is one not to miss. See the famous statue of Greyfriars Bobby and learn all about the dedicated little Terrier that guarded the grave of his late owner for fourteen years.
And now for something a little different
The unpredictable weather means you may find yourself seeking shelter and on the lookout for indoor activities. If so, Camera Obscura, is a fine attraction located on the Royal Mile, close to the Castle. Immerse yourself in a parallel world of illusions and, of course, get a unique view of the city with the famous camera obscura itself.
Where to stay in Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is not short on accommodation. You’ll have your pick of hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, and more. However, if you’re looking for flexibility, comfort and a home-from-home, why not consider Airbnb? Having your own apartment not only saves you from paying for multiple hotel rooms, but also gives you more space, privavcy and gives you the opportunity to get to know the locals.