9 reasons to visit Edinburgh before the year ends

Edinburgh is known for its phenomenal festival and events scene in summer, but the capital is a place you can explore all year round. With an impressive history, top class dining experiences, a vibrant nightlife and an eclectic art scene, there’s plenty to discover in Edinburgh this season.

1. Geek out at museums


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A favourite attraction in the capital, the National Museum of Scotland is filled to the brim with more than 20,000 artifacts. Learn all about the Scotland's history, from the Stone Age to the present day as you walk through its Scottish galleries.  

Housed inside one of the city’s most iconic structures, you’ll find the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Come face to face with depictions of notable figures from Scotland's illustrious history including Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

If you like more modern art, check out The Fruitmarket Gallery, for work by contemporary Scottish and international artists. The gallery is free to enter and its MILK cafe is also worth a visit too.

National Museum of Scotland

2. Celebrate the art of storytelling


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Get ready for a wave of enchanting performances, workshops, talks, and events to land in Edinburgh when the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (19 – 31 October). Join in with community gatherings to share tales, anecdotes, music, songs, and ballads for the whole family can enjoy.

If the festival isn’t enough, make sure you head to the Writers’ Museum to delve into the life and works’ of 3 Scottish literature legends – Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Enjoy the wide range of stories and personal objects that tell the tales of the writers’ lives and the inspiration behind their creations.

Writers' Museum

3. Stock up on seasonal produce


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Scotland is well-known for its fresh local and seasonal produce and you’re spoilt for choice with markets and food stalls across the city. Make sure to check out the farmers’ market held every Saturday at Castle Terrace at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. You’ll be able to find hand reared beef, lamb and poultry, as well as fruit, organic produce, pies, cheese, coffee, soap. If the farmers' market leaves you wanting more, take a trip to Stockbridge Market on Sunday, for more delicious offerings and craft stalls.

Farmers' market

4. Admire the autumnal colours


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The autumn months bring stunning colours and scenery to the city, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere everywhere you go. Luckily, Edinburgh has its fair share of gardens and parks to admire nature in all its glory. Lined with trees, bushes, and shrubbery that completely transform at this time of year, head to Princes Street Gardens, The Meadows or Inverleith Park to see this magic for yourself.


The Meadows

5. Have a warming dram (or two)


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Take a tour through the swirling and bubbling processes of whisky production at The Scotch Whisky Experience, learning the secrets, tips, and tricks of the trade as you go. Choose from a wide selection of tours and masterclasses on offer and enjoy a dram or 2 of some of Scotland’s finest whiskies. Stop off at the shop before you leave and take home a bottle of favourite. 

The Scottish Whisky Experience

6. Or maybe a glass of gin?


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If gin is more up your street, head to Summerhall Distillery for guided tours on handcrafted gin production. Or take a tour of Edinburgh Gin Distillery in the West End and discover more about the city’s gin heritage. Celebrate your newly acquired knowledge with a quirky cocktail at one of Edinburgh’s many gin bars.

Edinburgh Gin Distillery

7. Party like it's 1999 (or 2019)


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Christmas is a magical time in Edinburgh with endless events to keep you full of festive cheer. Pick up last minute gifts at the traditional Christmas market in the heart of the city or go for a spin on the ice at Princes Street Gardens ice rink. The city’s lives up to its reputation of knowing how to party at Hogmanay, 3 days of concerts, processions and a cracking fireworks finale. The atmosphere at this time of year is electric. Don’t miss it!

Princes Street Gardens

8. Count the green men


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A few miles outside Edinburgh is the medieval Rosslyn Chapel, with ornate stonework and mysterious carvings including ‘green men’, faces with leaves sprouting from their mouths. See if you can count them all (there are around 100) and keep an eye out for the other carvings linked to the chapel’s mystical past.  

Rosslyn Chapel

9. Cross the Firth of Forth


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Straddled across the Firth of Forth are 3 of Scotland’s iconic bridges, the Forth Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge, and the Queensferry Crossing. The bridges, connecting Edinburgh to Fife, are an impressive sight. Wander across the Forth Road Bridge and marvel at the spectacular views around you. If you’re not a fan of heights, stroll through South Queensferry and admire the scale of these bridges from below.

Firth of Forth
02 Jan 2020(last updated)