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Winter survival made easy: How to entertain yourself in Edinburgh this winter

Disco skating? Say no more

The clocks have gone back. It's official: the darkness is upon us. With temperatures incessantly plummeting, it's time to prepare for the struggle that is winter in Edinburgh. You will find yourself rushing back to the comfort of your flat, or your underwhelming halls in some cases, as soon as the clock strikes four. Any lectures past this hour are out of the question – it's just not worth the chilling walk back afterwards. And your social life? Well, it doesn't look good, considering bed time is now roughly 6pm. Get used to this new but oh-so-familiar way of life, because that sun won't be showing its face again until 2019.

However, in this joyful season, you had better make good use of the few hours of daylight you do receive. Here are some ideas.

Go for coffee

Let's kick this off with the most popular winter activity there is. Coffee-drinking. Or any-other-hot-beverage-drinking for that matter. Have a good gossip about your late-night endeavours, or a well-needed catch up with an old friend, all while enjoying the warmth of a scalding pumpkin spice latte, or a cup of tea if that's more your thing. The best spots to partake in this exciting activity? Kilimanjaro Cafe, Checkpoint, or The Elephant House, of course.

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Go ice skating

'Tis the season for frostbite and skate-induced blisters. Head down to Murrayfield ice rink to momentarily live out your figure-skater dream, only to realise that you're bored after five minutes, continuing nevertheless to glide around aimlessly for the whole allocated time slot to get your money's worth. Winter, I've missed you. For the same price (only £6.50!!!) you can also go DISCO skating on Fridays and Saturdays. Resident DJs, colourful lights, and low visibility – it's not one to miss.

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Build a den

Some days you just don't want to face the outside world. That's okay! If you are ever faced with one of these days, scavenge your flat for any materials which might come in handy for den-making. These could include blankets, cushions, furniture, your flatmate's totally peng wall tapestry from Cambodia, mud, leaves etc. Really depends on the style you're going for. Cosy? Psychedelic? Sex pad? The world is your oyster.

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Contrary to popular belief, baking is unbelievably hip. Whether you fancy yourself the new Mary Berry, or even if you've never baked in your life, a tray of warm brownies or cookies is the cure to any winter blues you may be experiencing. Yes, you may need to buy a few ingredients, but it's so worth it. Trust me.

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Climb Arthur's Seat

I'll admit, this one may not be the most appealing. But wear all the layers you can possibly fit around your cold, cold body, and you'll have a blast. Thermals, jumpers, fleeces, coats, hats, scarves, gloves – you'll need it all. If you time it to perfection, you may even be able to catch the sunset over Edinburgh, and you'll feel SO good about yourself afterwards.

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Have a movie marathon

Yeah, going to the cinema is fun and all, but do you really want to spend your life's savings on popcorn and a Tango Ice Blast? Hosting a movie marathon at your own flat = cheap snacks and unlimited movies. Just imagine it: munching on popcorn and Tangfastics, maybe even a pizza if you're feeling ambitious, while hunky Moto Moto and Gloria get it on in the sexiest scene of cinema history on the screen in front of you.

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Go to the Cat Café

Do you ever miss your pets while you're at uni? Their warm, fluffy comfort is something that can't be equalled. You may find yourself stroking inanimate objects every now and then, or, as in the case of my flatmate, buying a battery-powered, breathing cat. Either way, Edinburgh's best cat café, Maison de Moggy, is sure to fill that cat-shaped hole in your heart. Dog-lovers do not despair – there is also a chihuahua café in New Town to fulfil your needs.

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Make comfort food

Possibly the most amazing thing about winter: mac and cheese. Not only is it a combination of the two best foods around, cheese and pasta, it also thoroughly warms your body from the inside out. If that's not your thing, pizza, soup or grilled cheese will also suffice.

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Come on now, stop messing around. It's about time you got some bloody work done. Head over to the library, get yourself a hot chocolate, and put your head down. Eating mac and cheese ain't gonna get you a first.