Steeped in history, Edinburgh is an energetic and vibrant city and whatever time of the year it is there’s always a surplus of fun things to do in Edinburgh. Come rain or shine, this fascinating destination welcomes everyone from families and romancing couples to intrepid explorers and students who flock to the city to discover its plethora of attractions. Let’s take a look at what you can see and do on your next trip to Edinburgh - whatever the weather. You can also take our quiz to find out what time of the year you should visit Edinburgh.
Spring into Action
The spring is a wonderful time of the year to visit the capital of Scotland when this bonnie city comes alive with the freshness of the new season.
If you are looking for things to do in Edinburgh in March and April, check these out:
Rambling on the Water of Leith Walkway
The Water of Leith Walkway runs alongside the river for 12 miles and while keen walkers can explore this wildlife haven at any time of the year; it’s at its most delightful in the spring when the local flora and fauna blossoms into action.
Shy roe deer nibble on the fresh grass in wooded areas, wildflowers start to bloom in the fields and flashes of colourful kingfishers can be spotted darting along the river banks and this designated urban wildlife area takes visitors on an exploration of its former railway tracks, bridges and tunnel remains.
Get your walking boots on, it’s time for a springtime ramble.
Have a blooming good time at the Royal Botanic Garden
Set in 70 acres of charming gardens, the Royal Botanic Garden is home to verdant trees, lush shrubs and budding flowers. When it comes to things to do in Edinburgh in the spring visiting these gardens as they are blossoming into action is a spectacle that shouldn’t be missed.
Wander the flourishing gardens, admire the stone pavilion decorated with seashells and pine cones, and take a tour of the sultry Tropical Palm House and everyone from kids to retirees will love exploring these gardens as they sprout into life.
Have Fun in the Sun
The sun has got his hat on, hip, hip, hip hooray and Edinburgh is simply glorious when the sun begins to shine.
Fun at the Fringe Festival
As the weather begins to get balmy, there’s one thing that is sure to attract visitors to the city and that’s the famous Fringe Festival.
As we delve into our summery wardrobes, we all know it’s time for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Taking place every year in August, “The Fringe” hosts an array of events including comedy, theatre, dance, cabaret, circus and music, and it never fails to draw a diverse crowd looking to soak up the eccentric atmosphere.
Hordes of characters - both performers and punters - head to this gem of a summer festival every year, and experiencing it is a bucket list-worthy experience, so don’t miss out.
Scale Arthur's Seat
“A hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, 1879
While the sun is shining, it’s the perfect time of the year to head to Holyrood Park in the heart of the city, where 640 acres of green space await and it’s here where you’ll find the ancient volcano called Arthur’s Seat.
Offering the best view of the city, this is a must-see for avid explorers with an appetite for adventure and is one of the more exciting things to do in Edinburgh.
Activities in the Autumn
Every season brings with it an opportunity to discover something new in Edinburgh and autumn is no exception. So, as the tree-lined streets and parklands take on an orangey-red glow and the city radiates a tangible feeling of warmth, it’s a fantastic time to visit.
Explore Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle sits high above the city and looking down onto a sea of autumnal colours from this regal setting is a captivating sight to behold. Wrap up warm in your cosy clothes, listen to the crisp leaves crackle under-foot as you take a brisk walk through the rust-coloured grounds and take cover from the mizzle inside the mysterious castle walls.
Perfect for families, couples and groups searching for a memorable day out. Novotel Edinburgh Centre is just a 10 minute walk away.
Watch a play at the Traverse Theatre
Autumn is when the theatre season is in full-swing and everything from comedies to classic plays can be enjoyed by one and all. The Traverse is a wonderful theatre to experience a myriad of performances in and if you’re a veritable culture-vulture, then catching a theatrical event before you retract into hibernation for the winter is a must.
Whether covered in a blanket of snow or drizzled in rain, there’s plenty of reasons to wrap up in your favourite scarf, wriggle into your gloves and don a woolly hat while you discover things to do in Edinburgh in December.
Feel festive at the Christmas markets
Edinburgh’s Christmas markets are a great reason to come out of the snug cocoon provided by your hotel. Along with the host of stands, an ice skating rink, impressive light displays and copious amounts of live entertainment; the alluring aromas from the artisan foods and mulled wines emanate a warming festive atmosphere.
Top Tip: Nothing warms the cockles of your heart in the wintertime like a cup of sweet hot chocolate, so make sure you sip on a cup of cocoa as your wander round the market stalls.
Get spooked on a ghost tour
With its long history, it will come as little surprise that Edinburgh is home to spooky stories of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night.
As the days come to an early darkness, one of the best things to do in Edinburgh is go on a ghost tour. Get your adrenaline pumping on a haunted tour in a scary location, where auld gothic architecture is accompanied by dark secret passageways, underground catacombs and forbidding dungeons that are all the more frightening in the unforgiving darkness of the Scottish wintertime.
As Jack Frost pulls on his snow boots and sprinkles his magic over the city, Edinburgh becomes a wintry delight.
From its surplus of festivals, stunning natural environments and interesting cultural events, to its magnificent castle, shop-lined streets and nearby Highlands; ‘Auld Reekie’ is a city that appeals to visitors from all over the globe.