What to expect in Edinburgh this festival season

What to expect in Edinburgh this festival season


Festival season is well and truly upon us, and the Scottish capital is positively bursting with all kinds of fantastic things to see and do.

Edinburgh is the world’s leading festival city, attracting visitors from all around the globe to take in everything the capital has to offer. And when you take in Edinburgh’s summertime magic for yourself, it isn’t hard to see why.

From beautiful scenery and iconic buildings to outdoor day trips and unmissable cultural highlights, the Scottish capital truly has it all. There are even picturesque sea sides to enjoy in the summer months! But of course, it’s the festivals which really make the city stand out as something extra special.

August marks the most exciting time to visit the city. Edinburgh’s festival season caters to all tastes, meaning there is something for everyone to enjoy as the streets of the Old and New Town come to life with colour, music, energy and fun.

But with so much taking place in the city at this time of year, it’s all too easy for something great to pass you by. To make sure that doesn’t happen, we’re giving you everything you need to know about the 5 biggest festivals taking place in Edinburgh this summer.


Edinburgh Arts Festival

Running from 26th July to 26th August

The Edinburgh Arts Festival is the height of culture, perfect for anybody who wants to take in some serious beauty and inspiration. This is the UK’s largest annual celebration of visual art, attracting more than a quarter of a million people every year. The Edinburgh Arts Festival offers the chance to see the city’s most prominent cultural establishments come together in one fantastic visual feast. From Edinburgh’s iconic galleries and museums to artist-run spaces and new public art commissions by emerging and established artists, there is no shortage of greatness on show.

What can you expect?

The festival includes over 40 exhibitions, showcasing some of the very best artworks from both contemporary new artists and traditional celebrated figures from history. You can also expect an innovative programme of exciting events, including performances, exhibitions, guided tours and talks by professional artists.

Every year, the festival commissions new pieces by emerging and leading Scottish artists. There is a strong emphasis on artists who are developing work for contexts outside the gallery. Much of the Edinburgh Arts Festival is free to attend.


The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Running from 3rd August to 25th August

Part of what makes Edinburgh so great is its rich and diverse history, which is still evident wherever you go in the city, from the one o’clock gun sounding from the castle every day to the memorable names found on headstones in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a celebration of this strong sense of tradition, and is one of the most popular institutions that takes place in August in the Scottish capital.

In fact, the Tattoo is an iconic Edinburgh tradition, as well as being a guaranteed annual sell out. The winning combination of dance, precision, music and display never fail to draw visitors to see the Massed Pipes and Drums, the Massed Military Bands, the Lone Piper and plenty of other troupes and singer. What’s more, it’s all set against the stunning backdrop of the castle.

What can you expect?

You can expect big crowds and reliable entertainment from the Tattoo. More than 14 million have attended in total, and the annual audience averages out at 220,000. No Tattoo performance has ever been cancelled. The Tattoo is a celebration of both Scottish culture and global talent, with musicians and performers travelling from all around the world to showcase their skills. And if you’ve attended the Tattoo before, don’t expect to see the same show again. No two Tattoos are the same, with different themes underlining every aspect of the show, such as nature, Scottish homecoming and creativity.

Edinburgh International Festival

Running from 3rd August to 27th August

The Edinburgh International Festival offers three weeks of non-stop entertainment from the finest performers and creative minds in the world of the arts.

Six major theatres and concert halls will provide the very best in music, theatre, dance and opera from around the globe, helped by several smaller venues and a few unconventional spaces.

What can you expect?

Last year, the Edinburgh International Festival celebrated its 70th anniversary, having been founded back in 1947. Since then, the International Festival has gone from strength to strength. Throughout the year, the team behind the festival travel the world in search of artists and inspiration, bringing unique collaborations, world premieres, new takes and critically acclaimed productions to the Edinburgh stages.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Running from 3rd August to 27th August

The Edinburgh Fringe is the mighty Scottish festival that requires no introduction. Everyone has heard of the Fringe festival, even if you’ve never attended it. And if you haven’t attended before, you’re in for a real treat.

The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. It is known the world over for being unrivalled in the excitement, uniqueness and fun on offer. Every August, the Fringe transforms the Scottish capital as thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages to perform routines, shows and songs to suit any taste.

The work on show at the Fringe ranges from sets by huge international names to up and coming talent.

What can you expect?

The Fringe provides a really unique and exciting experience for visitors, as it is completely open access. The Fringe provides a platform for any talented individual with a story to tell, and visitors are free to roam around the streets deciding which performers they want to turn their attention to. It’s a fantastic atmosphere of friendliness, fun and mutual respect.

At the Fringe, you can enjoy anything from comedy to theatre – including circus, cabaret, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions, events, dance, physical theatre and even hilarious shows tailored to a family audience. The Fringe is also a hotbed of creative producers looking for the next big household name.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Running from 11th August to 27th August

The Edinburgh International book Festival is made up of over 800 thrilling events, bringing some of the greatest writers from across the globe. The festival encourages discussion, celebration and the sharing of ideas, mixing the minds of up and coming thinkers with Nobel Prize winners. This is the perfect opportunity to be entertained and informed, and there is even a designated programme of events for children.

The festival is held in the heart of the New Town, in Charlotte Square Gardens. This area is transformed into a tented village where free entry allows you to roam at your leisure.

What can you expect?

Just some of the exciting events taking place at the festival include interactive workshops, author events, lively debates and book signings. You can meet your favourite authors and hear about their latest work.

As well as the events themselves, there are three large independent bookshops as part of the festival, all stocking a wide selection of titles for all ages and tastes.

When you call the Scottish capital your home, you never need to miss out on the exciting event sit has to offer all year round. Craighouse is the latest stunning collection of properties from Quartermile Developments, located in the tranquil district of Morningside. Get in touch to discover more.

Call our team on 0845 000 25 25 or click here to see more of Craighouse.

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