Edinburgh is synonym of fun and cultural excitement. The world’s leading festival city hosts twelve large festivals throughout the year.
With five of its greatest festivals happening in July and August, for some visitors this might be slightly overwhelming. To help you enjoy your holidays in this beautiful city, we have listed out the main features of these spectacular events.
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
Edinburgh’s six major theatres and concert halls come alive with the best music, theatre, opera and dance from around the globe.
Three weeks that culminate in a live classical music performance accompanied by choreographed fireworks shooting from Edinburgh Castle. If you are unable to secure tickets for the performance on Princes Street Gardens (Edinburgh’s main road), don't worry you can still watch and enjoy the show from other locations throughout the city including Arthur Seat, Carlton Hill, Inverleith Park or The Meadows.
Edinburgh International Festival website.
EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE
Also known as ‘The Fringe’, thousands of performers scatter all over the city to perform all kinds of shows, from huge names to budding comedians looking to build their careers.
Edinburgh Fringe started as an offshoot of the International Festival and has since grown to be the world's largest arts festival. In 2017 it spanned 25 days and featured 53,232 performances of 3,398 shows in 300 venues.
If you want to avoid queues, download the fringe app. We also recommend keeping an eye on The Virgin Money Half Price Hut (The Mound Precinct, Edinburgh, EH2 2DF), next to the iconic National Gallery of Scotland, with half-price tickets for some shows on the day of the performance.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival website.
THE ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO
Music, dance, fireworks and precision display with Military Bands, pipes and drums, cultural troupes, singers and the poignant refrain of the Lone Piper against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
‘The Tattoo’ is a sellout year after year. More than 14 million people have attended it, with an annual audience of around 220,000.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo website.
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL
With a programme over 800 events featuring the greatest novelists, poets and essayists in the world. Audiences and authors gather to share ideas and have challenging discussions, as well as being entertained and informed.
Billed as ‘the largest festival of its kind in the world’, it is always worth having a walk around, browsing in its bookshop or having a drink outdoors even if you don’t attend any of the talks. There is something for everyone to enjoy!
Edinburgh International Book Festival website.
EDINBURGH ART FESTIVAL
Edinburgh Art Festival was founded in 2004 through an ambitious partnership of galleries committed to ensuring that high quality presentations of visual art at the core of Edinburgh’s summer festival experience.
Since its creation, Edinburgh Art Festival has grown to be Scotland's largest annual visual arts festival, and now comprises over 45 exhibitions across more than 30 venues. In 2017, The Spectator described Edinburgh Art Festival as ‘bigger and better every year.’
Edinburgh Art Festival website.
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