Edinburgh in October: The Ultimate Autumn Guide

Are you planning an upcoming trip to Edinburgh in October? Autumn in Scotland’s capital is a sight to behold. The city takes on an enchanting atmosphere that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. 

Scotland’s capital city offers a perfect mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. Known for its stunning architecture, the Royal Mile, and the Edinburgh Festival, this city is perfect for first-time visitors to the United Kingdom.

You’re probably wondering why October is such a fantastic time to visit this beautiful city. Well, there are a million reasons, and I will share a few in this blog! 

Edinburgh from the rooftop of the Museum of Scotland

First, there are fewer tourists in town. This means you’ll get to experience the best places in Edinburgh without having to elbow your way through the crowds. Plus, you’ll find better deals on accommodation and attractions since it’s the low season.

The guide below will cover everything from the average temperature to the best way to explore Edinburgh’s Old Town. Ultimately, it will surely help you plan a fun and stress-free adventure to Auld Reekie. Let’s dive in!

Edinburgh in October: Weather

The weather in Edinburgh during October is mostly pleasant. The average high temperature hovers around 55°F (13°C), while the average low temperature can drop to 43°F (6°C). It’s not the windiest month, but you’ll still get your fair share of gusty days. And, of course, it’s Scotland, so you can expect some rain. The month sees about 23 total days of precipitation. 

However, don’t let that dampen your spirits! The city still enjoys a fair amount of hours of sunshine, averaging around three hours per day. And honestly, the city looks even more charming under a light drizzle! Ultimately, it’s essential to prepare for anything and embrace the city’s whimsical climate with a big smile.

You’ll want to make the most of your time in Edinburgh even in spite of its unpredictable weather. So, read below for some top picks for things you should always have with you during your trip!

What To Pack for Edinburgh in October

Rainproof Jacket – A rainproof jacket is an absolute must for your Edinburgh adventure! You’ll stay dry and comfy during those sudden drizzles, and you’ll look effortlessly stylish in all of your travel snaps.

Cotton Cardigan – Cotton cardigans are perfect for layering. You’ll certainly appreciate having one when visiting historical sites and enjoying evening dinners. It’ll add a touch of sophistication to your outfit while keeping you warm.

Windproof Umbrella – Visiting Edinburgh in October means you need to have a sturdy windproof umbrella. This will help you avoid impromptu showers and prevent any unintentional Mary Poppins reenactments as you navigate the city’s charming streets.

Circus Lane in Edinburgh Scotland

Long-Sleeve Shirts (for layering)Long-sleeve shirts are indispensable for Edinburgh’s ever-changing weather. They’ll keep you comfortable and effortlessly stylish as you adapt to any situation.

Lambswool Tartan Scarfs – Bring a couple of lambswool tartan scarfs as a nod to Scottish culture. Additionally, you can purchase an authentic one at most shops along the Royal Mile. Not only do they add a chic touch to your outfits, but they make for amazing keepsakes.

Water-Resistant Boots / Hiking Shoes Water-resistant boots are a game-changer! Pack a pair for traversing Edinburgh’s cobbled streets and venturing on countryside day trips. Your feet will thank you.

Fleece-Lined LeggingsFleece-lined leggings strike the perfect balance between style and practicality for cooler autumn days in Edinburgh. You can relish the city’s charm without sacrificing fashion or comfort.

Wool Beanie + Gloves – A wool beanie and gloves combo will quickly become your best friend. They will keep your head and hands snug and toasty as you meander through Edinburgh’s rich history and vibrant neighborhoods.

Edinburgh in October: Where to Stay

Ah, Edinburgh. It’s a city brilliantly blending ancient allure and modern energy — and October is the perfect time to explore it. As you plan your visit, you might be wondering which neighborhood or hotel property will suit you best.

Read below for the pros and cons of some top areas to help you find the ideal spot for your Edinburgh adventure!

Princes Street Edinburgh Scotland

For history buffs, Old Town offers iconic attractions like the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle but can be pricier and bustling. New Town has posh vibes with elegant architecture and designer shops but might lack old-world charm. Foodies will adore Leith’s lively atmosphere and fantastic restaurants, though it’s farther from the city center. Lastly, Stockbridge is a quaint village-like area with a community vibe, but it’s not ideal for non-stop action or quick access to tourist hotspots.

No matter which neighborhood you choose, there’s one thing you must not miss while in Edinburgh — a stay at one of their many luxurious hotels. I’ll dig into my favorite luxury hotel property in Edinburgh below so keep reading!

Luxury Option: House of Gods (link to book)

If it’s a unique luxury hotel experience you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it at House of Gods HotelThis quirky and romantic boutique hotel is the epitome of extravagance, with a twist that’ll leave you craving more. From the moment you walk in, you’ll be whisked away to a world of glitz and glamour, where every detail is designed to dazzle.

House of Gods Royal Mile Edinburgh Scotland

My mom and I were spoiled for choice when it came to entertainment, as the House of Gods offers guests access to a fabulous drag show next door that you simply can’t miss. The stylish bar, the Casablanca Cocktail Club, serves up an impressive and unique cocktail list. But here’s the thing… if you really want to feel like a star during your Edinburgh visit, you’ve got to try their “Treat Me Like I’m Famous” VIP package.

It includes butler service and a midnight snack with a giant cookie, milk, and assorted candies. To keep the party going, you’ll get a £50 bar tab to the Casablanca Cocktail Club or House of Gods Bar (located in the hotel’s lobby), a bottle of champagne, and luscious chocolates. In the morning, you’ll savor a delicious “brunch in bed” with local Bross Bagels, decadent chocolate truffles, and fresh coffee. Simply let the front desk know your choice of bagel sandwich the night before, and it will be hand-delivered in the most adorable picnic basket via room service. My mom and I left feeling like royalty!

Tip: My personal favorite cocktails on the menu were the “House of the Rising Sun” and the “House of Gods No. 5” (pictured below). The latter comes in a vintage Chanel No. 5 look-alike perfume bottle and it’s so chic!

House of Gods Hotel Edinburgh Scotland

What about the location, you wonder? It’s just perfect for exploring the best places in Edinburgh. The property is a stone’s throw away from top sights like Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, St. Giles’ Cathedral, the Scottish National Gallery, and Princes Street Gardens. Whether you fancy a leisurely stroll or a quick bus ride, you’ll have no trouble diving into the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. 

Mid-Range Option: Courtyard Marriott Edinburgh West (link to book)

For a more budget-friendly option without compromising on quality, the Courtyard Marriott Edinburgh West is the perfect option. This 4-star gem near the Heriot-Watt University of Edinburgh Campus is just the ticket for a comfortable stay in Scotland’s largest city.

Courtyard Marriott Edinburgh West Hotel Scotland

Picture this: a modern, comfortable hotel that’s not smack dab in the middle of the bustling city centre, but still close enough to explore all the best places. The Courtyard Marriott Edinburgh West is just that. An additional perk is the super convenient bus line is right next to the hotel. It zips you straight into the heart of Edinburgh from The Avenue stop on bus numbers 25 or 35 without any transfers (talk about a bargain!) You won’t need to worry about driving on the left side or navigating the windiest month in the United Kingdom.

Now, I’ll talk rooms. My mom and I stayed in the Standard Twin Room with two beds. It was cosy, clean, and perfect for recharging after busy days exploring the city and Scottish Countryside. The hotel also features a lobby restaurant, The Avenue Lounge & Dining, that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests of the hotel can enjoy a complimentary English buffet-style breakfast, while lunch and dinner offer a number of unique and classic cuisines. Try the halloumi cheese fries, the tomato basil soup, or the chicken fettuccini alfredo. They will surely fill you up after a long day of exploring!

Courtyard Marriott Edinburgh West hotel

Either of these hotels are an ideal base for your Edinburgh in October adventure, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Scotland explorer.

Things To Do in Edinburgh in October (with links to book!)

If you’re visiting Edinburgh in October, you’re in for a treat! There are endless and exciting activities and attractions in Edinburgh that cater to all interests. So, dive in below and learn more about some must-visit spots in this vibrant city.

The Writer’s Museum 

For all of the literature lovers out there, The Writer’s Museum is an absolute must-visit. Nestled in the heart of the Old Town, this charming museum celebrates the legacies of three notable Scottish writers: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. You’ll find fascinating exhibits inside including personal items, manuscripts, and historic memorabilia, which truly brings each writer’s story to life.

Writer's Museum Edinburgh Scotland

However, that’s not all! The museum itself is in a beautiful 17th-century building, making it an architectural delight. You’ll want to add this gem to your Edinburgh itinerary and spend at least an hour there exploring!

Lind & Lime Gin Distillery 

Lind & Lime Distillerty tour Edinburgh

Fancy a tipple? The Lind & Lime Gin Distillery should be at the top of your Edinburgh itinerary. Finding its home in the buzzing Port of Leith, it’s the perfect place to indulge in some of Scotland’s finest spirits. Founded in 2017 by friends Ian Stirling and Patrick Fletcher, the distillery first began as a small industrial unit. Stirling and Fletcher’s sole aim was to bring single Malt production back to Edinburgh — and they’ve been quite successful. At the Lind & Lime Distillery, you can take a guided tour to learn about the gin-making process from botanicals to bottling. At the end of the tour, you also get a chance to label the cutest little personalized mini bottle of gin (pictured above)!

And, of course, no visit would be complete without a tasting session. My mom and I had the absolute best time at their group tasting. It was easily a highlight of our trip as our fellow tasters were on holiday from England and so much fun. It was like we had known each other our entire lives. Nothing brings people together like a nice gin and tonic, I suppose! After the tasting, you can take your mini bottle (or a full size bottle if you wish) home as a souvenir.

Hungry after tasting all that gin? There are so many highly acclaimed restaurants near Port of Leith you can check out. Or, you can book a food tour with one of my favorite companies, Secret Food Tours. Their Edinburgh Walking Food Tour is a great intro to traditional Scottish food!

National Museum of Scotland

If you’re a first-time visitor looking for a great place to explore, the National Museum of Scotland is an absolute must-see. The best part is that it’s completely free! This enormous museum boasts a wide range of exhibits, covering everything from natural history to Scottish history, technology, and more.

National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

You’ll need a half or full day to see it all, so be sure to set aside enough time to truly appreciate the treasures within. It’s an experience you won’t forget!

Walk the Royal Mile 

If you’re a history buff like me, you can’t miss a walk along the iconic Royal Mile. Stretching from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, this historic street is the heart of the city. As you stroll along, you’ll find a mix of shops, pubs, and restaurants, as well as hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Royal Mile Edinburgh Scotland

Take in the stunning architecture, enjoy some live music, or simply soak up the atmosphere of this bustling thoroughfare. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the city’s charm. To maximize your time in the city, I highly recommend booking a history lover’s tour through Old Town. This small group tour will take you to iconic places like Greyfriars Kirkyard, Princes Street Gardens, and of course, the Royal Mile!

Have time to spare and want to take a deep dive into the history of the Edinburgh Castle itself? This two hour Edinburgh Castle Inside Out tour is led by a local guide and is private, so you can enjoy it at your own pace.

Fun Events in Edinburgh in October 

October in Edinburgh is a magical time full of excitement and unique experiences. Here are some unmissable events for you to enjoy during your visit:

Samhuinn Fire Festival 

This spectacular open-air parade-type arts festival takes place every year on Halloween night at Calton Hill. You’ll witness talented performers and acrobats showcasing impressive feats, fire dances, and mesmerising costumes to the beat of drums. Organised by the Beltane Fire Society, this event celebrates the change of season and carries on the Celtic New Year traditions.

Getting there is easy, with bus stops just a five-minute walk away at Leopold Place and St Andrew’s House. Adult tickets are around £10, but you can find lower prices online.

Festivals in Edinburgh Scotland in October

Bundle up, as it might be a bit chilly, but trust me, it’s worth braving the elements for this magical event!

Scottish International Storytelling Festival 

If you’re a fan of stories and tales, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival is right up your alley. Held at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on High Street, this multi-day event focuses on the traditional art of storytelling. With talented storytellers from Scotland and beyond, live musicians, and even sign language translators, this festival creates an intimate and inclusive atmosphere.

Adult tickets cost around £20 and can be purchased directly from the SISF’s official website. Be sure to check the programme before your trip to stay informed about events, dates, and performers.

Edinburgh Ghost Tour 

Fancy a spooky adventure? An Edinburgh Ghost Tour is the perfect way to explore the city’s eerie past. Choose between a walking tour or a bus tour, and let your knowledgeable guide lead you through the most haunted spots in town!

Ghost tour Edinburgh Scotland

Hear chilling tales of ghosts, ghouls, and sinister happenings as you wander the cobbled streets or ride through the night. It’s a thrilling experience that’s sure to send shivers down your spine.

Explore Princes Street Gardens 

For a more serene experience, don’t miss the chance to explore Princes Street Gardens. This beautiful park is the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, with stunning views of the city and Edinburgh Castle. Be sure to stop by the iconic Scott Monument, a towering tribute to the famous Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott. It’s one of the most photogenic spots in the city!

Stroll through the park and take in attractions like the Gardener’s Hut and the Floral Clock, all while admiring the captivating autumn colours. Don’t miss the “lone red tree” on Castle Hill near the West End. As you breathe in the crisp October air, you’ll find it’s the perfect way to unwind during your Edinburgh adventure!

Want to see even more? The best ways to explore are either via a private walking tour, or the Hop-on-Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus.

FAQs: Edinburgh in October

Curious about what to expect when visiting Edinburgh in October? Here are answers to some common FAQs to help you plan your trip, with a bit more insight for each one.

Is October a good time to visit Edinburgh? 

Absolutely! October is a fantastic time to visit Edinburgh. It offers fewer tourists, pleasant average temperatures, and a chance to experience the city during the low season. You can also find some great flight deals for this time of year. I prefer to monitor Skyscanner, Expedia, or WayAway in the months leading up to any trip! As a special thanks to my readers, you can get 10 percent off a WayAway membership by clinking on the above link!

October, which is the windiest month of the year also brings a certain haunting charm to the city. For my fellow Harry Potter fans, there are a number of Harry Potter Walking Tours you can book that are very affordable. If you prefer a traditional ghost or graveyard tour, well, there’s no shortage of those in Edinburgh! I’m very spiritually sensitive as an empath, so I can’t participate or personally recommend any specific tours, but must admit they look like a thrill! Overall, with fewer crowds in October, you’ll have better access to popular attractions and enjoy a more relaxing pace. Additionally, it’s a great time for day trips, allowing you to explore more of Scotland’s largest city.

Edinburgh Scotland skyline

What is Edinburgh like in October? 

Edinburgh in October offers a mix of mild temperatures and occasional rain, creating a cosy, autumnal atmosphere. The city is alive with cultural events and activities, and the fall foliage provides a beautiful backdrop for sightseeing and exploring the historic streets. The city’s Scottish history comes alive during this season, and you can experience live music in cosy pubs. 

Is Scotland worth visiting in October? 

Yes, Scotland is definitely worth visiting in October. With its stunning landscapes, historic cities, and a range of events and festivals taking place throughout the month, there’s plenty to see and do. Plus, the autumn foliage in the countryside is breathtaking. You’ll surely find a variety of local food and drink to sample as well.

The Wrap-Up: Edinburgh in October 

Visiting Edinburgh in October is a great place to explore, as there is so much to see and do! It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience the United Kingdom and all its charm. As a first-time visitor or a frequent traveller, you’ll find yourself falling in love with this city’s rich Scottish history, lively live music scene, and ever-impressive Royal Mile.

October brings the beauty of the low season with fewer tourists, allowing you to make the most of your trip. The average temperature might be cooler, but the cozy pubs will have you feeling at home. Don’t forget that October is the windiest month, so pack accordingly! If you’re keen to explore beyond the centre of Edinburgh, there are plenty of day trips to nearby towns and cities.

In the end, the best time to visit Edinburgh is truly subjective. However, October offers a unique blend of experiences, making it one of the best months to visit. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip and dive into the magic of Edinburgh in October.

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