Whilst many are despairing at the changeable weather systems rolling in, I’m walking along with a smile on my face every time I hear a leaf crunch under my foot – summer is long gone and autumn is finally here. These are the golden months I wait for each year and the months that I’ve most been looking forward to spending up in Edinburgh.
Part of autumn’s allure is that it’s perfectly ok to want to be both outside and inside. In the summer months, it’s a sin to spend time hiding in your room and in the winter months, it’s too cold to consider opening the front door. Autumn on the other hand, gets all the house points. It’s socially acceptable to curl up with your laptop in your duvet, drinking hot chocolate and munching on hobnobs, but with the hills, the monuments and the beach, Edinburgh is also made for enjoying the autumn months outside.
Holyrood Park is the perfect place to while away a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, or in between library shifts on a weekday. The Innocent Railway line found near the entrance of Pollock Halls provides an excellent path on which to cycle, run or gently wander; it’s a tree tunnel of colour and continues all the way out to Brunstane to the east of the city.
Sunrises are another way to best appreciate the daylight hours; with the sun rising later and later each day, you don’t even have to get up at an unreasonable hour (the sound reasoning behind dragging my flatmates up Arthur’s Seat on the morning of my birthday). Take a trip to the seaside too; we set off down to Portobello beach last weekend and even managed a quick paddle – although there’s definitely no need for a swim suit. After a few steaming cups of tea and several portions of cheesy chips, it’s not even that cold…
With Halloween and Bonfire Night coming up shortly, there are plenty of options for nights out in the crisp autumn air. Even though Och!toberfest and the Pleasance Sessions are behind us, you have pumpkin carvings to look forward to and a very important costume decision to make. Enjoy cosy evenings of live music at Whistlebinkies on South Bridge every night of the week, or book a ticket to see a live gig at the Electric Circus. Just because the sun is going down earlier, it doesn’t mean you have to retire prematurely too.
Cosy cafes are the best places to go for a refreshment after a lecture. Temporarily move into your local café for a day – Black Medicine, Kilimanjaro Coffee and Teviot’s Library Bar are all centrally placed for ease of travel. If you’re staying at home, why not spice up your day by getting creative in the kitchen? Porridge may seem like a drab and dreary breakfast, but after you’ve deposited half a bag of soft brown sugar, double cream and a generous handful of cinnamon into your bowl, you’ve got the perfect autumnal breakfast treat. Whilst I’m on the subject of food, Nutella hot chocolate is now a thing. Please be wary of nut allergies and avoid anaphylactic shock, but a steaming mug of hot milk stirred with a large spoonful of Nutella is always a good option – especially when served with ready-to-dip chocolate biscuits.
If hibernation is more your style – though a balanced diet of indoor and outdoor activity is advised – then autumn is also for you. Coming inside from the cold is one of my favourite feelings. When you draw the curtains, switch on the fairy lights – I promise they’re a good investment – and retire for the evening, you can be happy in the knowledge that living in Edinburgh is the best place to be this autumn. They are months of optimism and adventure; I plan to fill my time with both and I hope you do too.
Image: Flickr: < Indrik Myneur>