The best cultural events in Scotland’s capital
HomeAway travel expert
Edinburgh is a city synonymous with festivals, the most famous of which is The Fringe, an event attracting over one million visitors every August. If you’ve never visited Scotland before, what better place to start than in Edinburgh, its capital and cultural centre? If you relish live entertainment, you should aim to visit in summer, when the city’s major festivals get under way. While sunshine can’t always be guaranteed during the capricious Scottish summer, there’s enough going on in Edinburgh to atone for the occasional shower. Bring your welly boots and embrace the weather, whatever it may bring.
Edinburgh Airport is just five miles west of the city centre, with excellent transport links shuttling travellers from the air-conditioned terminal to the Royal Mile, in the ancient heart of the city, within 30 minutes. One of the drawbacks to visiting Edinburgh during the festival season, it should be noted, can be securing accommodation. While there are plenty of hotels and B&Bs, the rates are increased considerably at this time of year. Renting a holiday property would seem to be the more sensible option. With a range of city centre properties - as well as town houses situated on the outskirts - the HomeAway Holiday Rentals website offers convenience, comfort and value for money. Read on for our rundown of Edinburgh’s finest festivals.
Top five Edinburgh events
Edinburgh International Science Festival
Visiting the Edinburgh International Science Festival is a great way to learn about the world around us. It makes for an entertaining - and educational - day out for children and adults alike. This two-week event features a diverse range of programmes, with as many as 200 seminars, workshops and tours conducted by scientists, artists, designers, futurists and technologists in venues such as the National Museum of Scotland. There’s also comedy and film with a scientific spin, where you can learn more about important global topics such as climate change and atomic energy. The event takes place in March/April time, and attracts thousands of visitors, including students and families.
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Edinburgh International Festival
This festival of performing arts has been somewhat overshadowed in recent years by the sheer bombast of the Fringe, but it is nonetheless an integral part of the festival season. For three exhilarating weeks, Edinburgh is transformed by an extensive programme showcasing the very best in international opera, drama, visual art, dance and theatre from around the world. The festival, which was founded in 1947, ensures that the city is buzzing with life during August, with its six major theatres, innumerable concert halls and smaller venues packed to the rafters. Keep an eye on the events schedule and book early to avoid disappointment.
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Edinburgh International Film Festival
Losing track of Edinburgh’s numerous themed festivals yet? Don’t worry, this next festival focuses on one thing and one thing only - film. Founded in 1947, alongside the aforementioned International Festival, the world-renowned EIFF celebrates the best in British and world cinema, showcasing films from a variety of genres, with notable premieres in recent years including The Hurt Locker, Little Miss Sunshine and Ratatouille. The festival takes place in June, when the city is quieter than it is during August when Fringe fever grips the Royal Mile. If you’re a film buff, you’ll love EIFF.
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Edinburgh International Book Festival
Edinburgh International Book Festival is one of the most prestigious literary events in the world, welcoming over 800 authors to over 750 events each year. It’s not just novelists who show up either - the festival is a hive of activity, with scientists, scholars, sportsmen, illustrators, biographers, musicians, actors and economists trading wisdom - don’t be surprised if you spot the odd Nobel or Booker Prize winner! The event comprises book readings and signings, as well as debates and discussions between readers with some of the world’s most feted writers. There’s also a fun-packed programme designed to entertain younger readers. The EIBF takes place in the midst of the wider Edinburgh festivals, with its base in Charlotte Square. If you’re in the capital, the book festival is well worth a look.
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The Fringe is the Mac Daddy of Edinburgh festivals. Mingle with tourists and locals alike, all eager to soak up the buzzing atmosphere and catch some of the action which takes place across venues throughout the city. There’s something to suit all tastes, with Fringe performers including lauded comics and famous actors as well as unknown artists looking to make a name for themselves. The three-week festival includes a spontaneous mix of theatre, comedy, dance, musicals, opera, music, exhibitions and children’s shows. Whether you adore Shakespeare or prefer the simple charms of a puppet show, you won’t be short of options in Edinburgh during August. The atmosphere in the city’s restaurants, pubs, clubs and cafes during festival time is unparalleled.
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Apartments for rent in Edinburgh
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