Don’t miss summer in Edinburgh

Same sex male couple wearing kilts walking arm in arm along Thistle Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.

From the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile to relaxing in the city’s scenic green spaces or escaping to the nearby sandy beaches, Edinburgh is chock-full of exciting experiences all summer long. You can get a taste for new flavours of Scottish whisky, sing along with buskers and laugh with some of the world’s greatest comedians at the Fringe; whatever you’re after, the Scottish capital has it all.

Relax with a city centre picnic

Summer in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland

With numerous parks and green spaces, Edinburgh has no shortage of pretty picnic spots where you can bask in the summer sun. Enjoy a leisurely kick-about on The Meadows, to the south of the city centre, or time your visit to coincide with the free community festival on the first weekend of June – there’s three stages of entertainment, the city’s biggest outdoor market and even a dog show! Relax amid the chilled-out atmosphere of Princes Street Gardens in the shadow of the majestic Edinburgh Castle, with its famous floral clock and manicured grounds. Or venture up to Arthur’s Seat in the heart of Holyrood Park to tuck into sandwiches and sausage rolls while gazing out over Edinburgh’s remarkable skyline.

A rooftop bar with a view

Two women sitting outside, toasting a drink.

Scotland has a history of producing exceptional spirits, especially whisky, and Edinburgh has plenty of rooftop bars where you can sample a wee dram or two. Gaze out over the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Fourth Floor Bar at Harvey Nichols or venture up to the exclusive SKY Bar on the first Thursday of every month. If your budget will stretch, you could even stay at the hugely Instagrammable five-star boutique hotel The Glasshouse for exclusive access to its stunning two-acre rooftop garden and bar. The Scotch Whisky Experience, with its interactive whisky barrel ride through the production process of Scotland’s renowned spirit, is just down the street.

Seaside traditions within easy reach

Two young people jumping on a beach, East Lothian, Scotland

From its position overlooking the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh is the perfect starting point for discovering a haven of idyllic beaches. To the east of the city you’ll find Portobello, complete with two miles of golden sand and a promenade packed with lively pubs and restaurants. If you’re visiting on the last Saturday in August, don’t miss the 10th anniversary of the Big Beach Busk, when hundreds of musicians come together to perform along the beach front. Further east, and just 30 minutes by train from central Edinburgh, is the gorgeous town of North Berwick; wander its beautiful sandy beaches at Milsey Bay and West Beach, explore the rock pools or dip your toes in the tranquil surf.  Alternatively, head west to Cramond Beach, where you can take a relaxing stroll along the sand or get your blood pumping on two wheels as you cycle the region’s picturesque coastal paths.

Dress loud and stand proud

Gay and lesbian couples drinking in a bar

This year marks a huge milestone for Pride in Edinburgh, as it’s 50 years since the Stonewall riots led to the creation of the global Pride movement. The march through the city on 22 June celebrates diversity and identity, both of which are reflected in the theme for Pride Edinburgh 2019: This is me. You can join thousands of others at Scotland’s largest LGBTQ+ event as the city becomes inundated with colour and merriment and where inclusivity is the order of the day.

Delightful global delicacies

Group of friends sitting at a table outside eating

Get your teeth into some of Scotland’s finest cuisine at one of Edinburgh’s many street food markets. With stalls catering to every taste, it’s your chance to try out fusion delights and renowned family-favourites. The Pitt Market has doubled in size for 2019, meaning there’s even more independent vendors offering delectable dishes for you to tuck into. Open every Saturday for a dose of street food, live music and booze, award-winning chicken burger fanatics Buffalo Truck are among those in residence. Pop into Tuk Tuk for a unique take on Indian street food and be spoilt for choice at Street Food Fridays in Fountainbridge where the line-up of exciting vendors changes each week. George Square Gardens are also a buzz of activity in late July, when the Edinburgh Food Festival is in town offering Scotland’s finest produce; the perfect precursor to all the Fringe-related fun that is to follow.

Dive into festivals of culture

Three Drag Queens dressed in pink shirts and leather mini skirts, performers at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, posing on church steps in the city centre.

Edinburgh cements its reputation as the world’s best festival city throughout the summer months, welcoming the stars of the art, comedy, film and literary worlds. During August, the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, transforms the city. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of music, dance, comedy or theatre, there’ll be something for you to enjoy as thousands of performers take to the stage to do their thing. Edinburgh International Festival occurs at the same time, with the city’s main venues, theatres and concert halls coming alive with the sound of music, opera and much more from around the globe. Grab a book at the city’s International Book Festival or march to the sounds of the military drums at The Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Whatever you’re into, the city is a cultural hotbed just waiting to be discovered.

16 Apr 2020(last updated)

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