November is here, and Scorpio season is in full bloom. While we’re onto the penultimate month of 2023 (seriously, how?!), the countdown to Christmas begins, as well as all the feel-good festive events. We’ve made up a warmly satisfying list of things to do in Edinburgh this November for you, so buckle up and enjoy the overflow of heart-warming events!
Going for the annual trip to the Christmas at the Botanics at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has been a tradition for many, and this year will remain the same. The experience transports guests into a dreamy fairy-tale-like world, sparking that magical feeling of childhood wonder to everyone who enters. The one-mile trail will be open between November 16 and December 30, taking guests on a mystical adventure filled with festive bliss. On top of the yearly favourites such as the tunnel of sparkling lights, the radiant projection onto the front of Inverleith House and the captivating Christmas Cathedral, brand-new light installations will also be unravelled throughout. You can book your tickets here.
Iconic songs composed like never before, this Candlelight Concert will bring out your inner audiophile at a unique venue on November 10. The experience will take place at Ghillie Dhu, which is a Georgian hall with vaults with booths for dining, live music and events space in central Edinburgh. And now, you can watch a soulful Candlelight Concert tribute to Taylor Swift at the historic venue. Expect to hear the familiar melodies of Love Story, Enchanted, Anti-Hero and more. You can get your tickets here.
Funfair games, cocktails and catch-ups with your mates sound like a pretty good set-up. The imaginatively-titled Fayre Play is a Glasgow export that’s set up a pop-up venue in our fair city, offering nine games and cocktails aplenty, it’s an excellent reminder that you should never skip “Fayre Play”. Once you’ve successfully vanquished both friend and foe alike, you’ll want to head down to the cocktail bar for some celebratory drinks.
4. Celebrate Diwali with marching bands, dancers and a mix of Scottish and Indian music
To celebrate India’s biggest holiday of the year, the festival of light will take place in central Edinburgh on Sunday, November 19. The city centre will be filled with dancers, a marching band, Indian and Scottish music and plenty of joyous people all around. The Edinburgh Diwali Parade will begin from St Andrew Square at 12.30pm and move along George Street to Castle Street, led by the Scottish Regiment Band, together with the Stockbridge Pipe Band, Glencorse Pipe Band and the Edinburgh Noise Society. The bands will be accompanied by seven groups of dancers, representing dance forms from different parts of India, all from different community groups and students around Edinburgh. The Parade will be led by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Consul General of India and the Edinburgh Diwali Committee. Celebrations will continue at the Ross Band Stand in Princes Street Gardens from 2.45pm with a wholesome mix of dance, drama and music. And, of course, the grand finale of the evening will be marked by a fireworks display at 5:30pm.
5. Paint live birds at this boutique lounge
Guests can paint live birds at Native Edinburgh’s coffee and cocktail speakeasy, Counter, this November. A painting workshop will take place on November 11 at 12pm, and guests can also discover the trendy hidden coffee and cocktail spot. Painters will be led by artist Laura accompanied by a live bird looked after by the “bird whisperer” David. Don’t worry if you’re a novice, though, everyone is welcome and will be taught the ins and outs of painting. You can book your tickets here.
It’s official, KORA by Tom Kitchin will be open seven days a week for dinner, and this comes as great news for many. Owned by Michelin Star Chef Tom Kitchin and his wife Michaela Kitchin, the restaurant proved to be a hit throughout the summer when it was open four days a week. Diners can not only enjoy a fine dining experience for affordable prices at the neighbourhood restaurant all week round, but also indulge in a proper brunch with cocktails. With a menu led by Chef Tom Kitchin, Chef Director Dominic Jack, and KORA’s Head Chef James Chapman, the food brings out what Scotland has to offer to the forefront. Dishes evoke modern Scottish cooking with accents of global flavours in a collection of light bites, and a la carte dishes, as well as a dedicated menu for children.
As the city centre will be transformed into a winter wonderland lighting the way to mark the start of the festive season, November is a well-anticipated month for most residents. Edinburgh Christmas market is almost here, and, thankfully, Edinburgh’s Christmas organisers Unique Events and Assembly Festival are organising the festivities for another year. This year, Edinburgh Christmas is on from November 17, 2023, until January 6, 2024. As well as the traditional locations on Princes Street and St Andrew’s Square and George Street new sites will also be appearing throughout the city centre.
Castle of Light: A Kingdom of Colours is going to bring a whole new angle to the famous Edinburgh landmark with a joyful light trail within the castle grounds. Castle of Light will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November 24 until January 3, excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Additional dates will also be added around the Christmas period, with the event open from Thursday, December 21 and Wednesday, December 27 to Wednesday, January 3. Bursting with character and spectacular art installations, guests will be able to witness the Magic and Mystery theme throughout. The 60-minute light trail will provide a memorable experience for all ages, with captivating projections telling stories of Scotland’s rich past. You can book your tickets here.
9. Indulge in perfectly crafted cocktails and live music in Edinburgh’s newest trendy late-night venue
A brand new live music late-night spot, Freddy’s, opened its doors on October 20, making it the perfect place for enjoying a wee cocktail and some live music. Located on Fredrick Street, the new venue has a focus on up-and-coming artists, bands, DJs and performers, as well as being an awesome spot for catch-ups, social gatherings and more. The trendy bar is quickly filling up during nights out, combining live music with signature cocktails, and international beers.
This year, Leith is the place to be, as it was named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. Explore what the neighbourhood has to offer, with plenty of cafes, restaurants and cultural spots. As a neighbourhood, Leith not only has three Michelin-star restaurants within less than a 10-minute walk from each other (two of them are just across the street, actually), but plenty of events, scenic spots and a strong sense of community. Explore The Shore, a quaint area with plenty of cafes and bars overlooking the water, attend seasonal markets at the local brewery Moonwake, check out one of our favourite cafes, The Old Spence Cafe, or play board games and have a coffee at Ancient Robot Games.
Edinburghers love a good musical, so the big news that Aladdin is coming to the UK for the very first time is going to be warmly welcomed. The multi-award-winning songs by Alan Menken will stir up nostalgia and all those fuzzy feelings, starting with the Edinburgh Playhouse until November 18. You can book your tickets here.
Six By Nico on Hanover Street is asking diners to put all their trust in the chefs with the creative three-hour dining experience. Everything from food to drinks is a surprise, only to be revealed after visitors have tried their course. Plus, guests will also be offered the perfect wine pairing if they’re after drinks along with the food.