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
- 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
- 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.