Edinburgh is not only Scotland’s capital, but also one of the best travel destinations in the country. Travelers who love to attend festivals and immerse themselves in the local culture would be glad to know that Edinburgh boasts of a busy calendar of cultural events. Most fiestas take place in summer, although other events spread evenly throughout the year. The wide variety of festivities caters to different interests but let’s learn about the top 4 Edinburgh festivals that are well worth the trip.
Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh’s international festival is one of the longest running performing arts events in the country. It grew out of the rubble of World War II with the first performances dating back to 1947. Since then, the event has brought artists from all around the world together in a grand performance of a series of music, opera, dance, and theatre shows. The three-week event takes place in August and can sometimes run to early September.
Shows take place in Edinburgh’s six major theatre and concert halls along with other smaller venues.
Edinburg Fringe Festival
Among the many festivals that take place in Edinburgh, the Fringe is the grandest of them all. It is famous for being the largest arts festival in the world. The Fringe is an alternative to Edinburgh International Festival. It takes place in the same month of August and has been running each year from 1947 to present.
With 2000+ shows staged in more than 200 venues, the Fringe festival offers something for everyone. Attendants can expect to witness plenty of dance, music, comedy and theatrical productions over a three-week period. There are free shows during the first Sunday of the festival, which is known as ‘Fringe Sunday’.
The Festival Fringe Society is responsible for organizing the entire event. They sell tickets, schedule performances and advice participants from their offices in the Royal Mile. It is important to note though that the Fringe has no selection committee to approve entries, hence it can be full of surprises.
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
On average, more than 70,000 people from overseas attend the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo each year. The event attracts crowds of up to 200,000 people, with the rest coming from Scotland and the UK. The show consists of military bands and tattoos performed on the esplanade of Edinburgh castle. There is a performance every weekday in the evenings and two shows on Saturdays throughout August.
On the second Saturday night, there is a grand fireworks display. Visitors can get a glimpse of the show at the Bandstand in Prince Street Gardens, where free abridged performances have been taking place since 2004.
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Organized in June each year for more than 60 years, the Edinburgh International Film Festival boasts of being the oldest continually running film event. This fortnight of cinema screenings present UK and international films. Attendants get to vote for their favorite films, documentaries and other productions in various genres. The event culminates in presentation of awards for the top films.
This list only has a few of the major festivals that take place in Edinburgh each year. In summer, Edinburgh turns into ‘festival city’ because of the wide range of events that take place. Most of the festivals run for several days, with some going up to 3 weeks. Accommodations are usually fully booked at this time. Hence, make plans on finding a place to stay if you intend to Edinburgh during the festival season.
Where to Stay
While Edinburgh offers a wide range of accommodation choices, apartment rentals are ideal for those wishing to attend multi-day festivals. Self-catered apartments come with all the comforts of home and some are within easy access to event venues. Booking early is advisable as this usually leaves you with more choice and cheaper deals than having to look for a place to stay at the last minute.
George Scott is a travel enthusiast who comes from Edinburgh. He loves to inspire other travelers to visit and discover what Scotland’s capital has to offer. George recommends Edinburgh Pearl Apartments to travelers visiting his hometown for more than a few days.