Halloween season has arrived, yet it has been surprisingly sunny recently. We know that won’t last long, however, and the gloomy days will start to creep in sooner rather than later. While it’s inevitably becoming darker, the possibilities are still endless when it comes to the array of things to do in Edinburgh this October. From Leith to New Town, from Pentlands to Newington, Edinburgh is a place full of wonderous activities, so here’s our take on what to do this October.
Located at Leith Arches, Leith Witchcraft Market has a unique allure that draws in ‘witchy crafters and crafty witches’. You can top up your crystal collection, get a tarot card or palm reading, buy your first tarot deck or simply join a coven. And to further get into the Halloween spirit, treat yourself to handmade magical jewellery, art in multiple forms by local artists or stock up on herbal tea and oils. This month, the Day of the Dead edition of the market will take place on October 21 & 22, giving visitors plenty of time to practice magic.
As part of Fever’s Candlelight Concert series, music and cinema fans will be able to enjoy a special Halloween edition, which will see tracks from spooky movies and pop culture performed within the mysterious candlelit setting. Amongst the spooky tunes, you will hear Thriller by Michael Jackson, Stranger Things (Theme) by S U R V I V E, Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns and so much more at the unique concert, but this time, as you’ve never heard them before. It’s also worth mentioning that at a number of other Candlelight concerts this month, guests will be treated to delicious diamond shaped Toblerone Truffles during the show. You can book your tickets here.
3. Celebrate Oktoberfest with some steins at Brewhemia
From October 6 Scotland’s only beer palace Brewhemia will have a myriad of beers they’ve got in store until October 21. Guests can expect to enjoy beers such as Innis & Gunn Oktoberfresh, Paulaner, Hacker, Spaten, Lowenbrau and Hofbrau available on tap, as well as plenty more. Bavarian-inspired dishes, pretzels and the usual live band action are also going to be a given throughout. Just book a table and turn up for some Oktoberfest shenanigans.
An innovative Scottish fireworks festival is taking place between October 28 and November 5, where visitors can rejoice in live entertainment, fairground rides, street food and plenty of drinks to go around. The festivities will kick off on October 28 in Dalkeith Country Park, with the festivities culminating in a Halloween-inspired fireworks show, set to classic Halloween tunes, with the grand vista of Dalkeith Palace as a backdrop.
Another market on the list, because we love a good wee market here. Moonwake Beer Co. is hosting a seasonal market at its brewery in Leith between October 7 & 8, with seven other local businesses joining them for you to peruse the stalls and enjoy their precision-brewed beer. The market will run from 12pm until 5pm both days, and those wanting to stay longer for some more delicious beer can do so until 10pm on Saturday and 8pm on Sunday. We’re talking plants, delicious baked goods, jewellery made from sea glass, candles and art from local artists.
6. Try out the newest Korean street food spot in town
Bibimbap Edinburgh opened in the former Pakora Bar location at 96 Hanover Street and the venue is currently undergoing refurbishment. The menu consists of a variety of well-known Korean dishes that will be prepared with love right in front of guests with an expected hit of taste and flavour. The treats in question are Kimchi, deopbap, Corn Dogs, Yum Yum fried chicken, soup, and noodles, in addition to the famous Bibimbap dish. The Glasgow restaurant also has some mean cocktails, such as the BBB Mai Tai comes with Brugal rum, almond syrup, triple sec and pineapple juice – what a combo!
The UK’s biggest cocktail festival, Edinburgh Cocktail Week, is coming back to Edinburgh for another year bringing 120 signature cocktails, along with its complete 2022 programme that includes 20 pop-up bars in the Cocktail Village, an exciting new rooftop Mirror Mirror Bar, headline music acts and a schedule jam-packed with special events. While it is unlikely anyone is going to have 10 cocktails a day to try them all, it’s still a fun challenge to try as many different cocktails as you can. The 10-day festival takes place across the city from Friday, October 6 until Sunday, October 15 celebrating Edinburgh’s thriving bar scene.
Not all restaurants on the Michelin Guide are expensive, so we listed some of the cheapest spots featured on the prestigious list. Thankfully, Edinburgh has five Michelin Star restaurants, two restaurants with the Bib Gourmand distinction, and plenty of restaurants that have been put on the guide and recognised for their brilliantness. Check out our list of the most affordable restaurants in Edinburgh on the Michelin Guide!
Pumpkin season means Halloween, and if you’re into pumpkin picking, this one is for you. Our top pick for a pumpkin patch is Balgone Estate in North Berwick, where adults can have fun with pumpkins while there’s plenty to do for the little ones as well. They invite us to enjoy Halloween to its fullest, to invoke a little bit of mystery within us and inspire us to believe in magic more. As the largest patch in Scotland, the farm has a whopping 21 varieties of pumpkins within the space of eight acres. You can not only find the tastiest pumpkin for all your soup and pie needs but also decorate your home for an autumnal feel. Pumpkins are charged by their weight and if you’re after some hearty pumpkin recipes, Balgone Estate has you covered too.
10. Take a walk around the Pentlands near Balerno
While Flotterstone and Swanston continue to be great options for hiking around the Pentlands, trails around Balerno can sometimes be overlooked for those who don’t lie in the area. Balerno boasts many stunning reservoirs and circular trails, from very short to longer. For those who don’t drive, take the number 10 bus until the last stop and walk towards Torduff Reservoir following Torduff road. The trail leads hikers around the reservoir and makes for a shot, easy walk. Another easy circular trail is around the Harlaw Reservoir. The walk takes around one hour and a half and is 5.5km: a flat, but stunning walk perfect for dog owners. And if you fancy a longer day, just combine the two walks!
The one and only Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) is coming back to Edinburgh this October with the brand new theme Right To Be Human, bringing the art of telling stories to one place. With over 240 events overall and 145 free events, the festival is bringing back the stories forgotten, with the hopes to help ease the difficult year. SISF will be opening its doors on October 13 and last until Halloween, October 29. The events will transport festival-goers to a myriad of worlds, cultures and countries, showcasing the true power of storytelling.
Drag nights can be the most memorable, most heart-warming and, not to mention, the funniest nights. In October, a competition called The Majesty is gonna be bringing 10 queens to the stage to give the performance of a lifetime. It’s going to be like Edinburgh’s version of RuPaul’s Drag Race, with one queen going home every week during the eight-week-long competition. The Majesty will kick off on October 6 at 8pm at The Three Sister’s newest edition – the ‘live’ room. Expect lots of glitter, dancing, singing and an overwhelming sensation of fabulousness. We cannot wait to see what the turnout will be!