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Edinburgh might be the medieval capital of Scotland but there is so much to experience here. The best way to explore the arts and culture of this place is by attending festivals of Edinburgh. Edinburgh is jam-packed with world’s best festivals all around the year. Whether you love art or you’re crazy about science, there is a significant festival assigned. This shining capital city of Scotland also carries historic importance right from castles to the palaces. Apart from major festivals, also there are many things to explore like the Science Festival, Mela Festival, Jazz & Blues Festival, Film Festival, and Storytelling Festival.

7 Best Festivals In Edinburgh

One of the prime reasons for exploring Edinburgh is their love for each festival. At any time of the year, you can find a party or an event happening. Each festival carries some importance and has something to offer its citizens and tourists.

1. Edinburgh International Festival

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Presenting fabulous performances from best creators of art, the Edinburgh International Festival is held for three weeks. Founded in the year 1947, Edinburgh International Festival offers an unmatched celebration of arts and yearly union for people of all nations. Committed to originality and virtuosity, this Edinburgh International Festival showcases some of the awesome performers that represent the world of opera, music, dance, and theatre for at least three weeks in August.

Remarked as the most outstanding festival in Edinburgh, this festival is celebrated over 3 weeks and is a fabulous cultural opportunity with top performances of classical music, theatre, and dance.Hosting a series of talks, visual art exhibitions, and workshops, the Edinburgh International Festival main aim is to provide a podium for grooming the human spirit. Also, its main motto is to enrich the cultural life of Britain, Europe and Scotland.

Dates: 6-28th Aug 2023

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2. Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a known art festival and should definitely be included in your bucket list. This is the world’s biggest art festival that features 55,000 performances and 3,548 different shows. Supported by Festival Fringe Society, it is held every year in August since 1947. 

Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, The Royal Mile is where the locals and visitors watch street performers stilt walk and eat fire or juggle. The prime themes included are class, First World War centenary, faith, and disability. Jason Donovan, Beth Nielsen, Rory Bremner, Jan Ravens, and Esther Rantzen are few names that make their appearance in this festival.

Dates: 5th-29st August 2023

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3. Edinburgh International Film Festival

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Established in the year 1947, the Edinburgh International Film Festival reveals the best international cinema. For implementing and discovering changes in global filmmaking, this festival brings into the limelight the most innovative and exciting film talent. This festival invites international and local audiences to engage in a dynamic program comprising of documentaries, shorts, and experimental cinema.

An excellent amalgamation of innovative & red carpet glamour, Edinburgh’s Film Festival is one of the most famous and popular celebrations of cinema.

In recent years, the film premieres are Killer Joe, We Steal Secrets, Knocked Up, 35 Shots Of Rum, The Story of WikiLeaks, A Most Wanted Man, The Hurt Locker, and many more.

Dates: 18-25 August 2023

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4. New Year’s Blast – Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

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One of the most spectacular festivals in the whole world, New Year’s blast at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is a great festival that truly does justice with its fireworks. Street parties and concerts are held in the gardens on 31st December. The whole of Princes Street is lined by live bands with people dancing all around the streets.

The sky of Edinburgh is illuminated with plenty of pyrotechnics, a Scottish celebration that marks its beginning on the 30th of December and lasts until the first of January. This is one of the excellent celebrations that draw maximum of people all around the world. Throughout the city, there are 8000 torchbearers that create a river of fire all throughout the city. Visit this place, to witness the spectacular display of fireworks after the sunsets.

Dates: 31st December

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5. Edinburgh International Science Festival

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Edinburgh International Science Festival has a fantastic range of participatory workshops to entertainment events. Held during spring, this festival brings together world-class collection of theatre and dance work for children.

Counted as one of the biggest festivals in Edinburgh, Edinburgh International Science Festival was founded in the year 1989 as an education charity to cheer people to explore the wonders of the world. This is a two-week long festival that was developed to celebrate science and technology.
The main focus of this event is to draw the interest from all the people towards science.

Also, this festival features education program in Scotland that includes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) and science shows(interactive) for schools. This festival presents a unique mixture of inspiring and innovative discussions, exhibitions, performances and events.

Dates: 9-24th April 2023

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6. Edinburgh International Book Festival

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Held in the last three weeks of August each year in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh International Book Festival hosts cultural debates and political talks. Further, it coincides with Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh International Festival.
Offering 800 events, the Edinburgh International Book Festival program features the greatest thinkers and writers. This is a podium where the authors and audiences from rising stars of fiction to Nobel Prize-winners gather to share ideas and thought-provoking discussions.

Counted as fabulous festivals in Edinburgh, it gives you a chance to visit your favorite authors and talks about their latest works. If you are a booklover, you must definitely witness this festival. Pop in and relax for a while, as entry to this Book Festival is absolutely free. You can find three big bookshops at the Book Festival stocking a wide array of titles for children and adults.

Dates: 13-29 August 2023

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7. Edinburgh Art Festival

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Edinburgh Art Festival is the biggest UK visual arts celebration showcasing work from artist-run spaces, new public art commissions, and Edinburgh’s top galleries and museums. This festival is a leading-edge program featuring evolving artists that will definitely inspire you. Absolutely free to attend, this festival includes performances, exhibitions, free events, artist talks, screenings, and guided tours.

This festival hosts over 40 exhibitions each year and showcases excellent contemporary & abstract art designed by famous artists. Considered as famous Festivals in Edinburgh, you will definitely enjoy each and every aspect here if you are an art lover.

Combining ambitious presentations of modern and historic art from Scotland all around the world, Edinburgh Art Festival during 2018 includes work of Victoria Crowe, Jenny Saville, Lucy Skaer, Joana Vasconcelos and Tacita Dean.

Dates: 6th to 28th August 2023

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With so many celebrations and events held every month, Edinburgh is renowned as the land of festivals. If you are on your vacay to Scotland, make sure you witness these festivals in Edinburgh. These festivals has something to offer everyone whether you are a foodie, music lover or artists.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Festivals In Edinburgh

What are the dates for the Edinburgh Festival?

Edinburgh Festival starts from 6th to 28th August 2023.

Can you take drinks into the Edinburgh Tattoo?

You can get your own drinks and food into Edinburgh Tattoo but alcohol & hot food are not allowed into the Tattoo arena.

How did the Fringe Festival start?

Fringe Festival commenced in the year 1947 with 8 theatre groups that were uninvited to perform in the Edinburgh International Festival. In the Second World War, this was a step celebrate cultural life of Europe.

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Category: Europe, Festivals, Scotland

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