Autumn brings nature’s richest colour palette, and a chance to embrace the Danish way of life known as hygge. But what is hygge, and where can you find it?
The most hygge spot in town, Monboddo at the Doubletree Hilton , offers us a crash course in everything autumn-luxe.
Crisp, chilly mornings, trees aglow with dazzling coppers, yellows, reds and browns, and the crunch of crisp leaves underfoot.
Summer might not have been anything to write home about, but at least we have autumn’s delightful colour scheme to look forward to.
As the days shorten, there’s nothing quite like a roaring open fire to chase away the chill. Warm woollens and a steaming cup of hot chocolate bring relief from whatever the weather is doing outside.
Of course it’s only natural to seek out a little extra comfort when the season shifts from summer to autumn. But in Denmark, the subtle art of making autumn and winter months a time to savour the comforting things in life has a special name: hygge.
In search of ‘hygge’
Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, it’s the ‘old as time’ trend that involves making a point of living well, savouring the little – but significant – things in life that bring comfort during the darkest winter days and nights, storing up a warm glow to get us through whatever the weather throws our way.
But what precisely is ‘hygge’? And how can you achieve that Scandinavian sense of cosiness and comfort right here in Edinburgh?
Rooted in the Danish word for ‘wellbeing’, hygge is more than the comfort we get from a warm pair of slippers and a roaring fire. According to the experts at VisitDenmark hygge is found in a warm atmosphere, with friends and family seated at a table covered with good food, in the rosy-cheek glow of a bike ride through the park or a comfy big chair, a really good book and a perfect cup of tea.
Chill, Danish style
For a touch of Danish-inspired relaxation settle into into one of the high back Scandic style couches in the adjoining Monboddo Bar, to sip on a cocktail or after dinner drink while the world goes by outside.
Hygge, Edinburgh style
A large element of ‘hygge’ is found outdoors, in the simple joy of fresh air and lovely surroundings.
So wrap in a cosy scarf – the bigger, the better. Head to the Old Town to absorb the history and atmosphere of the closes – there are more than 80 along the Royal Mile and take time to appreciate Edinburgh’s beauty from new angles.
Pop into vintage shops around the Grassmarket for a rummage around, have a giggle at the Museum of Childhood and explore the Royal Mile’s many ‘hidden’ gardens, such as Dunbar’s Close at the Canongate. With its views of Calton Hill, it’s laid out today just as it was 400 years ago.
Breathe in the crisp air, kick up the leaves from the trees at the Meadows, climb Arthur’s Seat to see the colours from on high and back at ground level enjoy nature’s finest display of colour at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Along with candles – lots of them – comfy warm socks and deep armchairs, the other key element of hygge is enjoying time to relax with loved ones.
According to Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience rather than about things. It’s about being with the people we love, a feeling of ‘home’, that we’re safe, shielded from the world.”
By embracing hygge and taking a leaf from the Danish book of surviving the autumn and winter months, we’ll not simply get through the dip in temperature, but actually enjoy it.