Every year, Edinburgh hosts several world renowned festivals. Whether visiting historic sites, taking in shows from up and coming artists, perusing artefacts from across the world, or joining up with others for a massive street
party, Edinburgh festivals are sure to offer something for everyone. However, the city has a vibrant arts scene year round, bringing the stage to life with numerous concerts, plays, operas, dance, and international film even in between the larger festivals.
Edinburgh International Festival (Aug-Sept)
The world renowned Edinburgh International Festival is a constant and continuous flux of creative energy that takes hold of the Scottish capital for an entire month. The festival itself, now over 50 years old, is not so much one large celebration as it is many microcosms of artistic endeavour. Nearly every public place is transformed into a venue of some sort and plays host to either fringe performances, band stands, classic music components, comic routines or even freak shows.
T in The Park is Scotland's largest and most well-known music festival. For three days musical madness championed by many of the globe's biggest and best musical acts reigns down upon the city. Each year seems to be more exciting than the last, and undoubtedly, Edinburgh's population volcanoes and explodes.
T in the Park (July)
Hogmanay (Dec 31)
Nothing ushers in the new year like Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebration. Once a makeshift street festival, organisers have taken Hogmany by the horns and transformed it into a slick event headlined by international musicians and an ad hoc amusement park. Lately it's become necessary to purchase tickets in advance. A massive midnight fireworks display marks the New Year!
Open Doors Day (September)
Every fall, Edinburgh opens the doors to some of its best (and some very unknown) attractions for free! A great time to take advantage of the free admission to see some of the great sites. Be prepared for longer lines, though. A listing of open attractions can be found on the Cockburn Association website.
Edinburgh's Christmas (Nov-Dec)
Beginning on the last Thursday in November and continuing to the New Year, there is a fabulous German Christmas Market on the Mound. Princes Street Gardens East is also transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with carnival rides, food stands, and gift shops to celebrate Edinburgh’s Christmas. The whole thing kicks off with a tree lighting and fireworks!
St. Andrew's Day (Nov)
Celebrate St. Andrew’s Day with a great fireworks display set off from the Castle (Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens are great viewing spots). Many of the Historic Scotland sites (including Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace) are free on the day or preceding weekend.