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Edinburgh's Festivals - a quick and easy guide

Edinburgh is the world's leading festival city, with events taking place throughout the year. Edinburgh Festival City offer a quick guide to enjoying them all! If you are thinking of coming to Edinburgh for 'the Festival', the first question you really ought to ask yourself is 'which one?' That's because we have 12 major annual festivals, and there's truly something for everyone to enjoy.

© Ali Wight/EISF

Edinburgh International Science Festival
In April, the EISF delivers one of Europe's largest Science Festivals, with hands on fun for young and old, a programme of innovative and inspiring discussions, workshops, performances, screenings, exhibitions and more.

© Ian Watson/Stillmotion

Imaginate Festival
For one week in May, Imaginate offers Scotland's international festival of performing arts for children and young people. Every year the festival presents the finest selection of shows from Scotland and across the world.

© EIFF

Edinburgh International Film Festival
June's EIFF is renowned around the world for discovering and promoting the very best in international cinema. With a programme covering art house to children's film, it's also where films including Brave, The Hurt Locker, Billy Elliot and Amores Perros premiered.

© EJBF

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
WIth July comes the sunshine (hopefully) and the Jazz Festival perfectly captures the summer mood of hot days, cool music and partying. Don't miss the free open air Carnival Parade and Mardi Gras, opening ten grooved-packed days and nights.

© Stuart Armitt/EAF

Edinburgh Art Festival
And so we come to the busiest point of  Edinburgh's festival calendar, with Edinburgh Art Festival first out of the gate just as August begins. It's the UK's largest annual celebration of visual art, attracting over 250,000 visitors each year, to see classic and modern pieces, and enjoy some special events- and best of all, most of it is free.

© REMT

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The iconic Military Tatto is world famous, and rightly so - its incredible spectacle of precision military drill, amazing groups from across the world and the stirring sound of the Massed Pipes and Drums has thrilled audiences since 1950 - and no performance has ever been cancelled.

© Janeanne Gilchrist/EFFS

Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The Fringe is the world's largest arts festival, and almost defies description such is its scale! Hundreds of venues, thousand of artists and tens of thousands of performances, mean that the Fringe is just about everywhere in Edinburgh's August!

© 59 Projections

Edinburgh International Festival
The International Festival transforms one of the world's most beautiful cities each August, presenting three exhilarating weeks of the very finest creators and performers. Music, theatre, opera and dance from around the world make EIF a very special experience for all. And don't forget the spectacular end of festival fireworks!

© EIBF

Edinburgh International Book Festival
The Book Festival's home is the beautiful Charlotte Square Gardens, transformed into a magical tented village in the centre of Edinburgh during the frantic August weeks. Here in the gardens you can see readings and discussions from some of the greatest writers and thinkers in the world, with extensive programmes for both children and adults.

© Edinburgh Mela

Edinburgh Mela
For over twenty years Edinburgh Mela has been bringing outstanding world music and gorgeous international dance to Scotland’s capital city, in a joyous carnival of colour, rhythm, community celebration... and delicious food! Wander the open festival site from stage to stage and stall to stall, and immerse yourself in the world's diversity.

© Edinburgh Festivals

Scottish International Storytelling Festival
Come October and November in Edinburgh, the dark nights begin to draw in, and what's needed is a chance to gather round the fireplace for shared stories, spooky tales and traditional music. SISF brings exactly this, in a celebration of the oral tradition, both from Scotland and across the globe.

© Lloyd Smith/Edinburgh's Hogmanay

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
And in December, rounding off another year of festivals, are the legendary Hogmanay celebrations - three days of spectacular events, incredible bands and amazing crowds from every corner of the globe. You'll see (or even join) thousands of torchbearers in procession, watch top stars and gaze in awe at one of the world's greatest fireworks displays above Edinburgh Castle!

To find out more about all of these festivals, please see Edinburgh's Festival City - where there is also help for you to plan your trip, tell you about the history of the festivals, and offer you all the latest news from the festival city!

 

Edinburgh's Festivals - a quick and easy guide