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10 Things to Do in Edinburgh in September

If you are planning to travel to Edinburgh in September, congratulations! You will be visiting the city in a season with a lot of outdoor activities and nature at its best!

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

8 min read

10 Things to Do in Edinburgh in September

Edinburgh, Scotland | ©Katie Johnstone

Although there is always plenty to see and do in Edinburgh, no matter what time of year you visit, the truth is that September, like the month of May in this city or the month of July, is among the ideal months to explore the city.

The particularity is that September in the capital of Scotland is a fabulous time to get to know the changing nature of autumn without the crowds of tourists. In addition, you can enjoy food festivals, obstacle courses and traditional horseback riding. Here's everything you need to know and more.

1. Attend the Great British Food Festival in September

Great British Food Festival| ©Shona Elliott
Great British Food Festival| ©Shona Elliott

Lovers of good food cannot miss the Great British Food Festival, an event focused entirely on British cuisine that travels throughout the United Kingdom and some locations in nearby countries on the continent.

In Edinburgh, the festival arrives in mid-September and lasts two days. It brings together some of the best local chefs, food and drink producers, and artisan food of all kinds. In addition you can enjoy workshops, a children's play area and live music.

Where it takes place

The event takes place at Dalkeith Country Park, located 20 minutes outside the city. By public transport you can get there by taking the 42 bus from the Elm Row stop.

How to buy tickets

Tickets range in price from £10 for a children's ticket to £20 for an adult ticket; special discounts are available when purchasing tickets for family groups. The admission ticket includes access to all events.

2. Take advantage of the Open Doors weekend at the city's landmark buildings

Inside the National Museum of Scotland| ©Fil.Al
Inside the National Museum of Scotland| ©Fil.Al

At the end of September, Edinburgh celebrates Open Doors Day, a festival that seeks to celebrate the city' s historic heritage by offering free access to dozens of buildings.

It is well known that Edinburgh is a city rich in historical and cultural heritage, so if you are in the city for these days do not miss the opportunity to enjoy iconic buildings that otherwise would have access prohibited or limited to invitation.

Where it takes place

Literally all over the city. Historically, the buildings that are usually included in the celebration are: Institut Francais D'Ecosse, King's Buildings, Liberton Kirk, National Museum of Scotland, the villa Newhailes House, Observatory House,Quaker Meeting House, St Michael and All Saints Church, and many more. The best way to find out about the program is to visit the official Doors Open Dayswebsite.

How to buy tickets

They are not necessary, it is a free event and free access for both locals and tourists.

Book a guided tour of Edinburgh

3. Attend Stockbridge Market

Stockbridge Market| ©Silvia R
Stockbridge Market| ©Silvia R

A series of markets take place every week in different locations in Edinburgh: the Stockbridge, the Lieth Market and the Grassmarket.

The idea is to bring together each week a group of small independent traders, so you can find products such as handmade pastries, homemade cakes with traditional recipes, smoked meat, organic chocolate, handmade soaps, art and jewelry.

It is an excellent alternative to relax on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy good local food in the center of Edinburgh. The market also abounds with international street food stalls.

Where it takes place

The Stockbridge Market takes place on Saunders Street from 10 am to 4 am. Every Sunday. You can get there using different means of transport. The nearest bus stations are Kerr Street and Hamilton Place.

How to buy tickets

You don't need them, it is a market open to the public where most of the locals do their regular shopping.

4. Marvel at the Horseback Marching Parade

Horse March Parade| ©veryamateurish
Horse March Parade| ©veryamateurish

In early to mid-September, on a chosen Sunday of the month, the traditional Edinburgh Horse Rides take place in the city. This is one of the largest public events in the capital and one of the most anticipated by citizens, especially children, which makes them very excited.

If you happen to be in town on the day of the celebration, you can't miss it! In addition to the spectators, the event gathers every year about 300 of the best riders in the area; the celebration is joined by bagpipe orchestras and other shows.

Where it takes place

The ride begins on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Following the route along the Royal Mile (main street in the old town), it goes through the center of the city to end at King Stables Road.

How to buy tickets

No tickets are required, the event is free and open to the public. Arrive early to secure a good spot and find out the exact time and day by visiting the official Edinburgh Riding the Marchesblog.

5. The Pretty Muddy Race for Life takes place this month

At the Royal Highland Centre| ©Des Colhoun
At the Royal Highland Centre| ©Des Colhoun

The cancer charity Cancer Research UK runs a number of events focused on fundraising. Race of Life, Pretty Muddy is one of them. In Edinburgh it takes place in September, usually in the first half of the month.

The event consists of a fun obstacle course in a muddy terrain where participants will have to jump over obstacles, climb ropes, crawl in a mud pit and many other things to reach the finish line. Don't hesitate to attend! In addition to supporting a noble cause, fun and laughter are more than guaranteed.

Where it takes place

Traditionally the race is held at the Royal Highland Centre, on a 5 kilometer course.

How to buy tickets

The entrance to the event costs approximately €20 for adults and €10 for children. On the official Race For Life website all the necessary information is posted months before the event.

6. Visit House of Binns on the outskirts of Edinburgh

Outside House of Binns| ©troy.afterburner
Outside House of Binns| ©troy.afterburner

Take a leisurely autumn stroll through a beautiful stately home on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The House of Binns is a National Trust Scotland historic building. Built by local merchant Thomas Dalyell in 1612, the charming palace served as his family's home for at least 400 years.

During autumn, part of the Palace is covered with **Edinburgh'**s famous autumn red ivy. Nearby you will find a beautiful lake with a promenade to explore; there are also many cafes and restaurants for lunch on the main street on the way to the site.

House of Binns is a 40-minute drive from the center of Edinburgh. If you go by public transport, I recommend the high speed train to Linlithgow, the journey will take just over an hour.

How to buy tickets

The adult entrance ticket is around 12,50 € per person and if you want to go inside the house you must request a private tour on the website of the National Trust Scotland. The parks and gardens are open to the public from 09h to 17h.

7. Photo tour to capture the autumn ivy on Edinburgh's landmarks

Carlowrie Castle| ©david.england18
Carlowrie Castle| ©david.england18

One of the best things about visiting the city in autumn is being able to observe the transition from green leaves to magical, warm fall colors; September is the perfect month for this.

Many of the city's buildings and beautiful castles are tucked in the autumn red ivy and I encourage you to get to know some of them and take amazing fall photos. Here are my favorites.

Carlowrie Castle

This Scottish baronial style building is one of the few buildings in the domestic realm made by David Rhind. Every autumn, the green ivy that covers the façade turns a fabulous deep red. Come to the castle located on the outskirts of Edinburgh to enjoy the beautiful spectacle and take some good pictures.

Liberton Kirk

In a much more accessible location, but equally beautiful, you will find Liberton Kirk and the autumn ivy. It is a church located south of the city of Edinburgh so if you decide to visit it go prepared to take the best pictures.

West End

The Georgian architecture of the West End is tinged with lovely colors during the autumn season. The doors of the houses are adorned with beautiful autumn wreaths whose famous arrangements, made for the occasion, are really expensive.

8. Try chocolate with marshmallows or other seasonal hot beverages

The Marshmallow Lady| ©Gary L
The Marshmallow Lady| ©Gary L

As you will soon realize, as soon as the summer heat in Edinburgh recedes and the temperatures start to drop, the cafes and food stalls in the city fill up with delicious alternatives that will help you warm up quickly. Here are some alternatives to consider during your walks around the city.

The Marshmallow Lady

One of the favorite options enjoyed by Edinburghers of all ages is the giant |url=https://www.themarshmallowlady.com/:::;. The main attraction is the giant-sized toasted gourmet marshmallow with which they garnish your drink. You can enjoy it on the premises or you can order it to go.

  • Hours: Closed from Monday to Thursday when they are dedicated to the preparation of the marshmallows. Open from Friday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm.

Have a Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin spice coffee is undoubtedly a classic of the autumn season. If you enjoy it too, my recommendation is that during your walk around Edinburgh you skip the Starbucks and opt for one of the traditional coffee shops to try this delicious seasonal drink.

Book a guided tour of Edinburgh

9. Visit the pumpkin patch at Craigie's Farm

Craige Pumpkin Farm| ©Tom D
Craige Pumpkin Farm| ©Tom D

If you visit Edinburgh with children, you can't miss the experience of visiting Craige's pumpkin farm. The pumpkin season in Edinburgh will only be available from mid-September until Halloween, being the last weeks of September the best time to enjoy it without too many people around.

Book at least a half day of fun at the farm where you will have the opportunity to explore pumpkin fields, pick your own and participate in fun games for kids. The farm also has an organic food store and a café-restaurant where you can take a lunch break.

Craig's Farm is located just outside Edinburgh, about 30 minutes by car. You can get there by public transport by taking the 43 bus from St Andrew's House station in central Edinburgh.

How to buy tickets

Reservations for the different activities are made directly on the official website
Craigie's Farm

10. September, the best month to take a ghost tour of Edinburgh

Skeleton on the Vintage Bus in Edinburgh| ©Rebeca K
Skeleton on the Vintage Bus in Edinburgh| ©Rebeca K

Everyone knows that Edinburgh is a haunted city full of mysteries. Over the years, its streets have witnessed all sorts of atrocities: murders, war crimes, witch burnings and much more. You can't leave the city without taking part in the spooky (and fun) ghost tours that take place in the city and unravel some of the town's most intriguing mysteries.

September is one of the best months to carry out this type of experience, as with the pleasant temperatures you can walk the streets without getting too hot or too cold.

When researching Edinburgh ghost and mystery tours you will find many different alternatives so I recommend you take a few minutes to choose the one that best suits your budget and level of bravery!

Book a ghost tour of Edinburgh