Top cultural things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Festival

Scotland is an artists’ haven with the Edinburgh Art Fair, its largest annual arts show, a top event in the arts calendar. Bringing the finest emerging talent, as well as the established, big name artists to Edinburgh in November.

The internationally famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe that happens every August is the ultimate in immersive culture. The entire city becomes a stage with comedians, actors and performers to entertain you at every turn. 

Other major festivals in Edinburgh in August are the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the UK's largest celebration of visual art, the Edinburgh Art Festival, which runs for a month from the end of July.

Edinburgh International Book festiva

Edinburgh really is festival city – other dates to look out for throughout the year are Edinburgh International Science Festival (April), Edinburgh International Children's Festival (May), Edinburgh International Film Festival (June) and Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (July). The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (October) and, of course, Edinburgh's Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) are also unmissable events if you’re visiting the city.

The Edinburgh Festival Theatre has the biggest stage of any theatre in Britain and is the venue for Edinburgh's most well-regarded shows, plays and musicals.

Scottish Ballet is Scotland’s national dance company and it performs new versions of classic ballets and contemporary works to audiences at theatres in Edinburgh. Check listings online.

And if you want to get into the cultural spirit of things, why not don your dancing shoes at a traditional Scottish ceilidh? Even beginners are encouraged to join in the fun. The Edinburgh Ceilidh Club hold events every Tuesday at Summerhall. With live Scottish ceilidh bands and a ‘caller’ who will teach you the moves, this is a great spot to dive into Scotland’s traditional dance party!

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