Edinburgh in Autumn

By Laura McCulloch

Nobody will argue with the beautiful Autumn foliage that Edinburgh has to offer, and as the new season descends on the city, here are our favourite events on the calendar. We have got you covered with everything from fire to farming festivals.

Edinburgh Cocktail Week

Image by Erin Kirsop

Scotland’s largest Cocktail Week pours back into the capital in just under two weeks time, from Monday the 14th to Sunday the 20th of October.

Offering a more unique experience this year, ‘Camping with Cocktails’ will transform the festival square into an enchanted forest fit for cocktail enthusiasts. The new extension includes wigwams, fire pits, giant toadstools, pop-up bars and a starlit canopy.

The rooftop cocktail domes at the Glasshouse Hotel are another addition to the festival this year, providing Instagram-worthy views across the city’s skyline.


Edinburgh Sausage and Cider Festival

Back on the menu this October is Edinburgh’s Sausage and Cider festival on Saturday the 19th. The event at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange boasts live music, a selection of craft beers and ciders, eating competitions and of course a selection of sausage meats from around the world.


Scottish International Storytelling Festival

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival returns on the 18th to 31st of October across various locations in Edinburgh, including the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the Royal Botanic Gardens. The annual celebration of live storytelling has described itself as ‘a warm,
friendly, invigorating experience, perfect for Autumn evenings’. This year’s theme ‘Beyond Worlds’ will showcase new and traditional stories, communications, music, dance and Canadian headlining acts.



Image by Sheila McColm

As part of an unsteady industry, Agriscot 2019 offers a chance for the country’s agricultural community to seek answers to the countless questions that farmers may share.

Now recognised as one of the premium events in UK agriculture, the Highland Hall in Edinburgh,
overflows every year with farming enthusiasts, as well as people curious to learn more about the industry.

A parade of Britain’s finest livestock, talks from industry professionals and trade stands from across the country will take centre stage on Wednesday 20th of November.



West Princes Street Gardens will be transformed into a traditional Oktoberfest venue from 30th of October to 3rd of November. Aside from the beer, this event invites friends to celebrate food and drink and enjoy traditional live music inside a marquee fit for 1,200 people. Annually known to be extremely popular, this authentic experience offers student deals as well as Bavarian and VIP packages, ensuring there is something for everybody.


Festival of Politics

The Scottish Parliament is welcoming a variety of leading public figures including Andrew Marr and Baroness Helena Kennedy to the 2019 Festival of Politics. Taking place from Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th of October at the Scottish Parliament, the event will focus on
future debates about important political and cultural issues. From Brexit talks, to the 2020 US presidential election, this is an opportunity for the Scottish public to contribute alongside MSP’s, journalists and commentators on some of the country’s largest issues.


Samhuinn Fire Festival

Image by Erin Kirsop

This fiery extravaganza perched on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill is a perfect way to get into the Halloween Spirit. The thrilling display is a modern replication of the Celtic New Year celebration, which presents a mythical story about the changes of Summer and Winter. Get
ready to wrap up this October 31st to watch dancing, drumming and acrobatics among other performances at the Samhuinn Fire Festival.



Sober October brings in its first million of 2019 – is Scotland in dire need of a break from alcohol?

Sober October is back to challenge people to take a month off the booze, however latest government reports show that a month may not be enough to tackle Edinburgh and Scotland’s toxic love affair with alcohol.

From the 1st of October until the 31st of October 64,329 people (and counting) will embark on the yearly challenge of taking a month away from alcohol to raise money for charity.

Beginning in 2013, Sober October was created by Macmillan Cancer Care in partnership with Australian fundraising campaign Dry July to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. This year’s challenge has seen the campaign raise more than £1.2 million in total. The challenge itself says that the benefits of an alcohol free lifestyle will give participants a ‘clearer head’ and a ‘sense of achievement’ for taking part.

Sober October may come at a time when many Edinburgh residents might want to reconsider their drinking habits due to a report published by the Scottish government that found that the capital had the highest number of hazardous drinkers in Scotland. A report by the Edinburgh Evening News found that 33% of Edinburgh residents drank more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

The Scottish Government’s Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol strategy report for 2019 found that 23,494 people in Scotland were admitted to hospital with an alcohol related diagnosis. This is four times higher than it was in the early 1980s.


Monitoring and Evaluating Scotlands Alcohol strategy report figures showing that Scotland still sells a high amount of Alcohol per adult compared to the rest of the UK.

The report also stated: ‘in the most deprived areas of Scotland, rates of alcohol-specific deaths were more than seven times higher and alcohol-related hospital stay more than eight times higher when compared with the least deprived areas.’

The report was not all negative for Scotland, as it found that only 23% of alcohol was sold in Scotland for less than 50p. In contrast with 51% in 2015, it is clear to see that the Scottish government is trying to combat Scotland’s difficult love affair with alcohol. Despite this, it will take more than just one Sober October to iron out the issues highlighted in the Scottish governments latest report.

Five of the best hidden bars in Edinburgh


Are you sick of drinking in the same bars day in, day out? EN4 News has you covered for some cool new watering holes where you can sample some of the finest alcoholic cocktails Edinburgh has to offer (or alcoholic ice cream, if you’re so inclined).


Panda & Sons

Panda & Sons is not a bar. It’s a barber’s shop. Definitely a barber shop. What do you mean you saw bouncers on the door? Of course you did. All barbers have bouncers on the door. Ok, you got us. Panda and Sons calls itself a “prohibition-style speakeasy,” deliberately set up to look nothing like a bar.

Step through their secret bookcase door and into a cocktail lover’s paradise. Their strict no hen/stag dos policy means you’re guaranteed a loud but sophisticated night on the town.

Hoot the Redeemer

You’d be forgiven for missing Hoot the Redeemer on Hanover Street – a bar which takes “hidden gem” to new levels.

Down a flight of stairs just beside Bella Italia is the funhouse-themed bar, which succeeds at making drinking fun again. Sample their delicious alcoholic slushies, or indulge in their boozy ice-cream. Try the Buckfast and Irn Bru one. It’s amazing. No, seriously.


Heads and Tails

Have you met Flora and Caledonia? They’re Heads and Tails two gin stills. When was the last time you were in a bar with gin stills? Heads and Tails is an Edinburgh gin-lover’s paradise.

For those who don’t enjoy mother’s ruin, the bar offers a huge range of beers, spirits and soft drinks, all of which can be infused with their homemade infusions and syrups. Head down for a more refined drinking experience.



Halfway House

If you can’t stick the thought of having to pick something from a 47-page cocktail menu which comes to you served in a broken lightbulb in place of a glass, get yourself down for a wee ale in Halfway House.

You’ll have passed this traditional pub a hundred times on stoats from the Royal Mile to Waverley. They have a huge selection of real ales on offer, and a true old-fashioned pub atmosphere.



Secret Arcade

If you’re a vodka drinker, Secret Arcade is probably what you imagine heaven looks like. Hidden down a lane on Old Cockburn Street, they stock over 100 different kinds of vodka and even offer a variety of Polish snacks from their bar menu.

If you’re one of those people who has a few Smirnoffs and thinks they’re Fatboy Slim, you’ll love Secret Arcade – they have their own dedicated DJ area, where you can show how musically versed you are about vodka, too.

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