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12 Wonderful Things to Do in Edinburgh in Spring

Planning to visit Edinburgh in spring?

Well, I’ve got good news for you – this is possibly the best time to visit the Scottish capital. It’s not peak season yet, so you can enjoy the city without the crowds.

Plus, the weather tends to be bearable at this time of year – not too cold, not too warm, and not too damp!

So, let’s look at the best things to do in Edinburgh in spring.

Cherry blossom in Princes Street | Best things to do in Edinburgh in spring
Edinburgh in spring. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

Edinburgh weather in spring

Wondering what spring in Edinburgh is like?

Well, there are days when you can bask in the sun in one of the city’s beautiful gardens, while on others you are stuck inside waiting out the rain.

However, one thing I’ve learnt since moving to Edinburgh is that the rain doesn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. Locals still flock to festivals and outdoor events on those dreary spring days.

If you’re visiting Edinburgh in March or April, expect an average temperature of 10 degrees. May tends to be a little warmer, with an average temperature of 13 degrees.

And if you’re lucky, you might get to enjoy some nice weather. Sunny spells are common in April and May (they can last up to two weeks!), though be prepared for some heavy rain, too.

Best things to do in Edinburgh in spring

Whether you’re visiting Edinburgh in April or late May, you’ll find plenty of fun activities and events in the city. Here are the best things to do in Edinburgh in spring!

1. Watch the rugby at a pub

If you want to experience a slice of local culture, head to the pub when a rugby game is on.

The Six Nations Championship is a series of rugby games that takes place every year, usually spread over the months of February and March. The participating nations are Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, Italy. and France.

The highlight of the competition is the Calcutta Cup. This is the trophy awarded to the winner of Scotland vs England game.

On even years, this important game is hosted at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh and is attended by thousands of exuberant fans. You can watch the game at many pubs and bars across Edinburgh.  

2. Attend the Beltane Fire Festival

Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Festival is possibly the most amazing event you’ll ever experience!

This festival is held on the eve of May 1 (or Beltane) and celebrates the arrival of warmer months. It’s a modern re-interpretation of a pagan rite, with a procession led by the May Queen and the Green Man.

Performers at the Beltane Fire Festival.
Performers at the Beltane Fire Festival. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

As the name suggests, there’s a lot of fire involved! There’s also some nudity.

3. Discover something new at the International Science Festival

Edinburgh’s annual International Science Festival is a celebration of creativity and innovation.

The event takes place in April. A variety of scientific exhibitions and educational activities are held at different venues across the city.

This is a family-friendly event, with plenty of fun events for children!

4. Go on a whisky tour

May is Whisky Month in Scotland. This means you’ll find various whisky-themed events, including tasting sessions and distillery visits.

IMG 4432
Scotch whisky. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

If you’re looking for whisky tours in Edinburgh, you’re spoilt for choice! There’s the whisky and folklore tour that gives you a taste of local history with four single malt whiskies.

You might also be interested in an Edinburgh whisky tour in the Old Town. This 90-minute tour takes places in the city’s underground chambers, where you get to taste whisky from different distilleries and learn more about the history of the drink.

These events tend to be quite popular, so I recommend booking your tour in advance to avoid disappointment.

5. Walk through a tunnel of Cherry Blossom trees

If you’re visiting Edinburgh between late April and early May, make sure you head to the Meadows.

This popular picnic area behind the main Edinburgh University campus has several paths lined with Cherry Blossom trees. When the trees are in full bloom, it’s like walking through one long pink tunnel.

Cherry blossom trees in Edinburgh.
Cherry blossom trees in The Meadows. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

You’ll also find Cherry Blossom trees along Princes Street. You can try snapping a photo of Edinburgh Castle framed by pretty pink flowers.  

6. Explore the Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden is possibly my favourite place in Edinburgh. Packed with a rich variety of exotic plants and trees, this garden is a slice of paradise in the heart of the city.

The Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic Garden. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

It’s easy to get lost here – the garden is a bit like a maze with hidden paths and sheltered picnic areas.

You can pack some snacks and spend a few hours reading a book in the sun. Or, have lunch at the Terrace Cafe an enjoy beautiful views of the Edinburgh skyline.

7. Check out the daffodils on Castle Hill

Want to get some amazing Insta-worthy shots?

If you’re in Edinburgh in March, make sure you walk up Castle Hill to get some lovely photos of the daffies in full bloom.

Daffodils on Castle Hill, Edinburgh.
Daffodils on Castle Hill. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

Please stick to the path so as not to destroy the flowers.

8. Go on a cycling tour

If you enjoy cycling and want to see a non-touristy side of Edinburgh, rent a bike and cycle along the Water of Leith or the Union Canal.

The Union Canal, Edinburgh.
The Union Canal. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

Baja Bikes offer amazing bike tours in Edinburgh, where you get to see the city’s landmarks as well as some hidden gems. They also offer bike rental services.

A sunny day in spring is perfect for exploring Edinburgh by bike. However, try to avoid using the cycling routes between 4-6pm, as they’re busy with commuters on their way home from work.

9. Hike through the Hermitage of Braid

Spring is the best time to go hiking in Edinburgh. There are several beautiful walking trails in the city, my favourite one being the Hermitage of Braid.

The Hermitage of Braid, Edinburgh.
The Hermitage of Braid. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

This nature reserve is laced with paths and walking routes. You can hike along the stream, explore the wooded areas, or climb up Blackford Hill for panoramic views of the city.

10. Enjoy a traditional Sunday roast

If you’re spending Easter in Edinburgh, you may be wondering where to go for a nice meal. Some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh do a traditional Sunday roast.

The Auld Hundred is my favorite place in Edinburgh for a hearty roast!

Sunday roast at the Auld Hundred.
Sunday roast at the Auld Hundred. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

Located on Rose Street, this pub is packed with charm! The place isn’t very big, so you might want to book a table at least a day in advance.

11. Walk along the Water of Leith

The Water of Leith is a small river that cuts through the city. There’s a walkway that runs along the river and takes you through some of the prettiest neighbourhoods in Edinburgh, including Dean Village and Stockbridge.

Dean Village, Edinburgh.
Dean Village. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

You can start your walk from Dean Village and finish at Leith, where you can enjoy some lunch and a refreshing drink by the waterfront.

The path is mostly smooth, though it gets a bit rough and muddy in some parts. On a nice spring day, you may be able to spot some herons.

12. Meet the swans!

Spring seems to be cygnet season in Edinburgh. Baby swans are a common sight in May and June.

Swans at Inverleith Park, Edinburgh.
Swans at Inverleith Park. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

You can spot these cute creatures along the Union Canal and the Water of Leith. You’ll also find swans bathing in the wee pond in Inverleith Park.

Top Edinburgh tours in spring

Still looking for more amazing things to do in Edinburgh in spring? Let’s look at some of the top tours in the city.

What to pack for Edinburgh in spring

Edinburgh isn’t too cold in spring. In fact, the city tends to a get a few sunny spells in April and May.

However, the nights can be rather chilly. Plus, you might get some heavy rain while you’re there.

Here are a few essential things to pack for Edinburgh in spring:

  • A waterproof jacket
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Cosy leggings and a pair of jeans
  • A few t-shirts in case it gets a little warm!

Frequently asked questions

Still not sure if visiting Edinburgh in spring is a good idea? Here are some important things to know.

Is April a good time to visit Edinburgh?

It depends. Schools in Scotland have a two-week break over the Easter holidays, so accommodation prices tend to go up during this period.

I recommend visiting Edinburgh outside of the Easter holidays. The city is less crowded and you might score a better deal with lodging!

Is it expensive to visit Edinburgh in spring?

If you’re visiting during the Easter holidays, then yes. Accommodation prices tend to be on the pricey side during this season.

However, if you plan your trip well in advance, you might be able to find some great deals.

For example, the ibis Edinburgh Centre on South Bridge tends to have reasonably-priced rooms outside of peak seasons.

My husband and I have stayed at this hotel a couple of times, and we always had a pleasant experience!

Is Edinburgh cold in spring?

If you live in a place with a warm climate, you might find Edinburgh a bit cold in spring.

The mornings can be rather nippy, and the nights can feel as cold as 3 degrees.

If you’re visiting Edinburgh in March or April, you’ll need to pack some warm clothes and a waterproof jacket.

Does it rain in Edinburgh in spring?

Yes, though summer tends to be wetter! Expect a mix of sunny spells and intermittent showers when visiting Edinburgh in spring.

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