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Discover what’s on in Edinburgh this Spring.

From musical shows and breathtaking festivals to fascinating exhibitions and virtual debates and readings, there is always lots to do in Edinburgh. Browse through our list of events below and start making your plans for Spring. There’s no bad time to visit Edinburgh but April and May can be a delight the days are longer, flowers bloom, cherry blossoms explode and the city celebrates Easter traditions and holidays.

This guide details the best things to do in Edinburgh in spring, what to eat, where to drink and how to celebrate Easter activities.

1. See Edinburgh’s, Gardens Bloom 

Edinburgh is a city with many popular parks and not so secret gardens. You know it spring when tulips provide pops of colour and daffodils brighten up grim gardens. Lesser-known gardens such as Dunbar Close start to smell sweet around mid-April. Those who appreciate nature will enjoy a casual walk through Princes Street Gardens and the well-loved gardens at Starbank Park in Newhaven.

2. Cherry Blossoms in Edinburgh 

One of the things that stands out the most when spring arrives in Edinburgh is the pink buds that takeover the bare trees around the Old and New Town. You will see voluminous cherry blossoms on the Royal Mile at Canongate Kirk, whimsical pink tunnels in The Meadows and stand-alone blossoms in private New Town gardens. Buds have been known to bud at the start of April with full blooms around the 20th.

3. Enjoy a Drink, Outdoors

Sip a sophisticated beer in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle or watch sports on the outside big screen, there are heaps of options for al fresco drinking in Edinburgh! Cold Town House, Three Sisters, The Pear Tree, Starbar, to name a few beer gardens in Edinburgh.

4. Take a Dip, in the Sea

This Edinburgh spring activity is not for the ill-prepared! April is when fair-weather wild swimmers can be spotted bopping about Portobello Beach. If you plan to wild swim, ensure you are educated and equipped.

5. Beach Strolls

Dog walkers, joggers and cyclists take to the prom for fresh morning walks and families make sandcastles on sunny afternoons, Portobello Beach is a busy location during spring. Cramond Beach is another option with a forest walk to Cramond Falls or to Cramond Island when the sea is out. If you can go further afield, East Lothian and The Kingdom of Fife have lovely beaches under an hour from the city.

6. Urban Walks 

If you are a fair-weather hiker, spring is a good time to start stretching the legs on one of Edinburgh’s many hikes. Hike to the Calton Hill viewpoint in under 15 minutes or up Arthur’s Seat/Salisbury Crags in an hour.

7. Edinburgh Walking Tours

Some of Edinburgh’s walking tours hibernate over winter, returning to the streets around April/May rarely to share stories about Auld Reekie. The classic tours include an Old Town walking tour with Edinburgh Vaults and Harry Potter locations.

8. Daylight Savings Bonus Time 

Since we follow Daylight Savings in Scotland, clocks go forward one hour at 1 am on the last Sunday in March which means extra light at night. If you are visiting from abroad, factor this time change into your planning! Since nights are lighter earlier, you can pack more into your Edinburgh itinerary. Enjoy a sunset hike up Arthur’s Seat or consider an Edinburgh day trip to see more than the city.

9. Edinburgh Rainy Day Activities

One thing you just have to accept in Scotland is that it rains.

It’s what makes our greenery so lush and our lochs swell.

Downpours and puddles in the city can be a pain but there are plenty of indoor activities to take shelter at!

Things to do in the Rain in Edinburgh

Adult Activities

  • Play with your drink at Cocktail Geeks
  • Learn about whisky at the Edinburgh Scotch Whisky Experience
  • Catch a movie and a drink at The Dominion or The Cameo
  • See a band at Stramash, Whistlebinkies or Brewhemia
  • Have a laugh at Monkey Barrel or The Stand
  • Drink cocktails and score at Lane 7 bowling
  • Have a nosey at the Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Play retro games at NQ64 of Lothian Road
  • Try to escape the Department Of Magic
  • Shop at the Royal Mile Market
  • Relax at a spa hotel
  • Climb at Alien Rock

Family-Friendly Activities

  • Learn about Edinburgh’s underground at Mary Kings Close
  • Make chocolate at The Chocolatarium
  • Get whacky at the Camera Obscura
  • Take a tour of Edinburgh Dungeons
  • Get your skates on at The Boardwalk
  • Challenge your strength at Ninja Warrior

Museums in Edinburgh

  • National Museum of Scotland – Scottish antiquities, culture and history
  • Museum of Edinburgh – Exhibits sharing the history of Edinburgh
  • The People’s Story Museum – The story late 18th century to the present day people of Edinburgh
  • St Cecilia’s Hall Concert Room and Music Museum – Musical instruments
  • John Knox House – Historic owned and lived in by Protestant reformer John Knox during the 16th century
  • The Writers’ Museum – The story of Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Museum of Childhood – Toys through the ages
  • Surgeons’ Hall Museums – Artefacts and medical history
  • Museum on the Mound – Learn about money in Scotland
  • National War Museum – 400 years of conflict in one museum

Galleries in Edinburgh

  • Scottish National Gallery – Fine art including The Skating Minister
  • Royal Scottish Academy Building – Annual Scottish graduate show
  • Fruitmarket Gallery – Art gallery, bookshop and a cafe
  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery  – Famous Scots in portrait
  • Modern One and Two – Modern and contemporary art
  • The Queens Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse – Small gallery at Holyrood

10. Eat Pancakes

Once an event observed by Christians, now an activity carried out by families, Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday is a flipping fantastic day for dessert fans. The Chocolate Cafe in Edinburgh does a mean crepe or Loudons or The Treehouse cooks up a pancake stack.

11. Easter Celebrations 

On Easter Sunday, kids decorate boiled eggs and roll them downhills. Some families create Easter egg hunts with clues to find a chocolate egg at the end! Look out of community efforts for group Easter egg hunts around the city.

March

Edinburgh Science Festival

Be wowed by the Edinburgh Science Festival – one of Europe’s largest Science Festivals. This festival delivers a unique mix of innovative and inspiring discussions, performances, exhibitions, and events. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.

The Edinburgh Science Festival is a place of fun learning for all ages and even has a programme for primary school education that tours around Scotland. Click here to learn more.

April

Edinburgh Tradfest

Showcasing the very best traditional music from Scotland and around the world, Edinburgh Tradfest goes digital for 2021. Showcasing a wealth of talented home-grown and international traditional artists, this year’s programme will feature recorded and live-streamed music concerts, folk films, and daily podcasts. Click here to learn more.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

Join Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival for an online weekend of music dedicated to some of the all-time musical greats. The cream of Scottish jazz and blues will pay tribute to their musical heroes in five unmissable gigs, each costing just £10, or you can purchase a Festival Pass and watch all five for just £20 – but be quick – these are only available until 17:00 on Monday 19 April. Click here to learn more.

Beltine Festival

Witness the spirit of Beltane brought to life in the virtual realm with an evening of poetry, art, and song.

The modern Beltane Fire Festival is inspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane which began on the evening before 1 May and marked the beginning of summer. Having been resurrected and reinterpreted as a practice in 1988, it has become a central focus for the Edinburgh community, bringing people together to acknowledge and revel in the birth of the summer and the fertility of the land. Click here to learn more.

May

Pint of Science Festival

While previous festivals have taken place in local pubs/cafes/spaces, 2021’s festival is going online, with nearly 70 free live online shows aired straight to YouTube and a virtual sci-art exhibition.

The grassroots festival involves more than 1000 volunteer researchers and scientists across 40 UK universities and institutions, including Edinburgh, who are excited to share their latest findings with you!

Each night will provide a unique lineup of talks and demonstrations showcasing the latest discoveries from the world of science and an opportunity for you to ask questions and get involved. Click here to learn more.

Edinburgh International Children’s Festival

Since the International Children’s Festival began in 1990, it has grown to attract over 10,000 individuals, schools and families. The festival features the world’s very best theatre and dance for young audiences and is sure to excite and inspire young minds.

As usual, the Festival will showcase great theatre and dance created especially for children and young people. However, with Covid restrictions likely to be still in place, the Festival’s 2021 programme will focus primarily on Scottish and UK artists, with a combination of outdoor and digital performances. Click here to learn more.

Edinburgh Marathon Festival Virtual Challenge

Since it began in 2003, Edinburgh Marathon Festival runners have raised tens of millions of pounds for charities and great causes. Every penny you can fundraise for a charity of your choice will make a huge difference, especially this year.

With multiple distances to choose from, from 5K to a full marathon, as well as junior events and team relay, you can choose to complete your challenge in one day or over multiple days. Click here to learn more.

 

Start planning ahead, book your accommodation now.

Remember to book your accommodation directly with us via our website to ensure you get the best rate. Click here to check out our exclusive offers.

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