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.



Inquiry into Glasgow school of art fire should be held, say MSPs

The Glasgow School of Art was destroyed in a 2018 fire (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the Glasgow School of Art fires should be launched, MSPs have said. 

Holyrood politicians on the Culture Committee made the calls in a highly critical report into the 2018 fire, published today.

The report scrutinised what fire prevention methods were introduced between the first fire in 2014 and the second, which totally destroyed ‘The Mack’ building in central Glasgow, in June 2018.

The report criticises the Glasgow School of Art board and makes a recommendation that the building be placed in the care of a trust in the future.

“The Committee is not convinced that the GSA gave sufficient priority to the safeguarding of the Mackintosh Building” the report concludes.

“The Committee considers it would have been desirable for there to have been more specific expertise at Board level which reflected the importance of the Mack.”

‘The Mack’ before the 2018 fire (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Glasgow School of Art building is known as ‘The Mack’ because it was designed by renowned architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

It first opened in 1909 and was widely considered a world class example of the Art Nouveau style.

The building stood for over 100 years before being almost totally destroyed in a fire in 2014.

Reconstruction was nearly complete when in June 2018 another fire broke out causing even greater damage than the blaze four years earlier.

The cause of the 2018 fire has not been conclusively proven, as the damage to the building and surrounding Sauchiehall Street was so severe. Much scrutiny has been focussed on the contractors, Kier Construction, although no liability has been established.

Stephen McKenzie, the independent fire, security & resilience advisor to the Holyrood Committee gave evidence to the report, saying:

“I suggest that there is a potential need for a full, detailed forensic investigation of not only the fire ground, but all the project documentation, roles and responsibilities. As in 2014 and 2018, because of the complexity of these hearings, I press upon the committee that there may be a case for a public inquiry”.

The full report can be read on the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee website.

Fire at Italian restaurant on Fountainbridge

iona badabing

A fire devastated the local restaurant around 2am on the 9th October 2018. Photo credit to Martin Stevens.

Fire services were called out to the Badabing Italian restaurant last night after a fire broke out, devastating the inside of the building.

As many as 30 firefighters were called to the scene at 2:10 am to tackle the blaze which had consumed the entire restaurant by this time.

No casualties have been reported and it has been confirmed that nobody was inside the building at the time of the fire.

Local resident Martin Stevens saw the fire on his way home;

‘I came along the canal and from a distance I could see Badabing fully in flames’.

‘I went for a closer look and the fire services were already there trying to put it out. I got there at about 2:30 and the fire brigade got there at 2.10 so it had only been on the go for 20 minutes but it was well alight by this point.’

‘I’m unsure what caused it but I was told nobody was hurt at the time.’

Fire crews were still at the scene this morning.


Slateford Road closure as fire scorches through top floor flat

Commuters faced disruption this morning in the West End of Edinburgh after a fire broke out in a flat on Slateford Road.

Fire engines and police were outside the flat near Roverston Avenue at approximately 8 am – leaving the road closed to cars and buses.

Police were seen navigating traffic in both directions at 10 am – with buses 4, 34, 44 and 300 diverted to Gorgie Road via Chesser Avenue and Henderson Terrace.


Police were navigating traffic after the road was reopened late morning.

An eyewitness, who lives near the scene, said she could see smoke at around 8.30 am, but it had cleared very quickly.

She also said:

I could see that a window on the top floor had been destroyed, and the room behind it was pretty black and charred. I couldn’t see much else though from where I was standing but there were a few people sitting outside the building.

At this point there was only one fire engine and police car left and a policeman was navigating the traffic which was tailing back a fair bit towards Chesser. It was a bit of a nightmare but everything seemed to be flowing smoothly.

The road was reopened at 11 am to all traffic. The busses returned to their normal routes in the area, with the exception of stops at Shandon which remained closed.


Fire in the Jungle – Calais Refugee Camp Demolished

Monday, the day many have dreading, saw the begging of what is planned to be the end of the refugee camp in Calais – more commonly known as ‘The Jungle’.

The camp, situated in the North of France, is home to over 7,000 inhabitants who will now be moved to other locations across France.

The French authorities have detailed plans for moving the Jungle-dwellers out of the camp. 150 buses will carry the former inhabitants to new Welcome and Orientation Centres (CAOs) across France.

The police, the volunteers, and the refugees themselves have had many weeks to prepare for the move. It was hoped to be a swift and straight-forward operation.

Firefighters extinguish burning makeshift shelters and tents in the "Jungle" on the third day of the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp in Calais

But last night, flames spread over the Jungle as a fire blazed. One migrant was injured from a gas canister explosion. The fire may have been started by the migrants as a final act of defiance, or some believe it could have been started by activists.

Videos and pictures from today and yesterday have sparked outrage and debate on social media. Young people have been left without a place to sleep for the evening, as registration points close they are being told to go back to the camp – which is now in flames.

Many have voiced concerns for the minors at the camp, saying the Jungle should not have been demolished until there was a plan to protect their welfare.

Migrants look at burning makeshift shelters and tents in the "Jungle" on the third day of their evacuation as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais

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