The days have begun to turn crisp, which can only mean one thing—autumn is here! For a perfect autumnal getaway this year, lose yourself in Scottish culture and visit the enchanting capital of Edinburgh. If there’s any time of year to visit this magnificent city, it’s when the leaves turn a warm golden colour and the fresh air makes it all the more cosier.
From the towering spires and ancient castles to the historical, cosy pubs and quaint, hidden boutiques, wander through the cobbled streets of Old Town and discover the magic that Edinburgh has to offer this autumn. Dig out your snuggly jumpers and warm coats, and let’s explore some of the most beautiful places in this spellbinding city!
Dominating the city’s skyline, be sure to visit one of the oldest fortified places in Europe this autumn. Nestled atop the dormant volcanic cliff face of Castle Rock that overlooks this enchanting city, be sure to visit Edinburgh Castle, one of the most definitive landmarks in the United Kingdom and the most popular tourist attraction in Scotland.
Now the castle has safely re-opened to the public, you can take a trip back in time and indulge in the magnificently eerie history of Edinburgh Castle. From the long history of royal residence to the military garrison, prisons and fortresses, learn all about the history of Edinburgh and walk in the footsteps of soldiers, kings and queens, and maybe even a pirate or two, whilst you discover the untold, exciting tales about this magnificent castle.
Don’t forget to listen out for the one o’clock cannon that is fired every day, except Sundays, from Edinburgh Castle itself. This tradition harks back to the nineteenth-century, whereby maritime captains would set their clocks to navigate the oceans!
Located just a short stroll away from Edinburgh Castle, discover an elegant Scottish townhouse covered in heritage tweeds, re-energised interiors and the perfectly welcoming environment. The Dunstane Houses is a family-owned boutique with bags of personality and a few accolades under its belt, most notably, the national award for the “Best Hotel Experience in Scotland” at the Visit Scotland’s Thistle Awards!
This autumn, the hotel is making your stay extra special. With a three-night stay in one of their gorgeous, individually-decorated suites including the Luxury King Doubles/Twins and the Orkney Suites, they will be giving a fourth-night absolutely free! Whether you’re travelling with the family in half-term, looking for a getaway with your partner or friends, or simply craving some me-time for a weekend, The Dunstane Houses will be sure to make your stay truly special. What’s better than a full Scottish breakfast every morning, complimentary WiFi and parking, a welcome hot chocolate and a fruit platter in your room awaiting you on arrival?
From four-poster beds and a seamless mix of vintage pieces, to free-standing copper bathtubs and a bar that boasts a wide selection of rare and vintage whiskeys, there’s no better place to stay in Edinburgh than the exquisite Dunstane Houses.
This one’s for all you chocolate lovers and sweet-toothed people out there!
Straight from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar, discover an ultimate chocolate heaven at the Edinburgh Chocolatarium. Nestled in the heart of the city just off the Royal Mile in the city’s Old Town, be sure to take a 90-minute guided tour of chocolate—yes you heard that correctly, a tour solely focused on chocolate!
This Scottish version of Willy Wonka’s iconic chocolate factory is the perfect place to spend a wholesome and delicious afternoon. You’ll learn everything, from where in the world the cocoa bean is grown to how the chocolate is transformed from a bitter seed of a jungle tree to the tasty, smooth treats we like to eat. You will be able to make your own chocolate in their magnificent Chocolate Kitchen with over 25 different flavours to choose from to mix together, taste over 30 delicious delicacies from more than 15 Scottish and international chocolate makers, and create your ideal bar that you’ve always dreamed of. Not to mention, there are also vegan-friendly and dairy-free options available throughout. If this isn’t heaven, we don't know what is!
Please note: You do not need to wear a face covering throughout most of the tour. Only 3 books per tour will be allowed and each group will be spaced over 1 metre apart to ensure COVID-19 safety regulations apply.
For the quintessential Scottish experience, breathe in some fantastic, mystical Edinburgh fresh air and climb up to the Holyrood Park’s highest point, Arthur’s Seat. Sat 251 metres above sea level, this ancient volcano dates back to around 2000 years ago and gives one of the best views over the enchanting city of Edinburgh.
If you like a great nature walk, there’s nothing better than exploring this rocky summit’s extensive parkland surrounding the heart of the city. With five suggested routes, suitable for a range of abilities, no visit to Edinburgh is complete without a hike up to the magnificently iconic Arthur’s Seat. From a diverse range of flora and fauna to its outstanding history of an extinct volcano that erupted over 350 million years ago, Arthur’s Seat is a true oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life. Not to mention there are rumours that this was one of the possible locations for Camelot!
A labyrinth of atmospherically-lit cobblestone streets surrounded by gothic medieval architecture, be sure to take a stroll through Edinburgh’s Old Town—the oldest part of the city. Dating back to the 18th-century, once you step foot into this historic centre, you’ll easily feel as if you’ve taken a huge step back in time.
There are many attractions and hidden gems nestled within the Old Town; from the dark and ominous stony steps that lead up to the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse where the Queen comes to stay when she’s in town, to the quirky boutiques, bookshops and cafes. Be sure to indulge in true Scottish culture and have your very own kilt made up at the Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers. They will not only be able to help you track down your family tartan, but they will also talk to you all about the craft and heritage of kilt making!
Whether you decide to explore the city’s fantastic attractions, discover the hidden gems nestled within the Old Town or embark on a classic pub crawl along some of Edinburgh’s oldest historical pubs, a day spent in the city’s Old Town will truly give you an insight into the ancient quarter of this spellbindingly beautiful city.
Discover a world of illusions at the weird and wonderful Camera Obscura. Nestled within the Old Town, a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh Castle, this fun and fantastic place dates back to the 1850s and is a place where impossible does not exist!
Camera Obscura is formed of five floors of over 100 interactive, hands-on exhibits that entertain anyone and everyone. Continuing a legacy from the curator, Maria Short, centuries later she is still wowing the locals with her crazy views and ideas with help from Patrick Geddes. Be sure to lose yourself in a magical Mirror Maze, test your brain against mind-bending illusions, discover Victorian and 3D cityscapes from their crazy cameras, indulge in a selection of crazy holograms where 3D images come to life, and so much more!
A collaboration with artists, inventors and technical wizards, Camera Obscura is not only one of the most adventurous places to visit in the city, but will truly plunge you into a world of wonder and delight.
Please note: Social distancing measures have been put into place. There is a reduced capacity to ensure a safe place for visitors to enjoy. There is now a one-way system that you must follow throughout your visit. You are also required to wear a facemask throughout your visit as well as registering for the Scottish Government’s Track & Protect system.
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