Edinburgh is one of the worlds’ biggest summer festival venues. Between June and August alone there are no less than eight festivals running simultaneously or back-to-back.

The beautiful Scottish capital has long been on the top of people’s lists as a holiday destination, but the city’s most popular period is definitely the summer months. In August, the city’s population goes through the roof and it becomes alive with entertainment for locals and visitors alike as everyone gets into the festival spirit.

At the heart of the festivals is the Royal Mile, a street in the UNESCO Old Town, where you will find the Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh.  It is also home to some of Edinburgh’s most famous visitor attractions. These include the Scotch Whisky Experience, Mary King’s Close, Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish Parliament, and the most popular of them all, Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city centre. The Royal Mile itself is a hub for street performers and artists who descend on the city from across the globe, all trying to attract the attention of passers-by, drawing in huge crowds. It is also an open venue for performers to promote their shows.

Here is an introduction to the Summer Festivals:


The kick-off to the summer was the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June. Established in 1947, it’s renowned worldwide for showcasing the best of global cinema.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival 18 – 27 July

This month sees the opening of the Jazz & Blues Festival with over 140 concerts on offer.  We have Mike Hart, a jazz musician, to thank for this fabulous event. Founded in 1978, concerts and gigs were held in local pubs. Due to its success, it now reaches a much wider audience in venues across the city. Two free events include Jazz on a Summers Day, in Princess Street Gardens, and Mardi Gras in the Grass Market.


Edinburgh Art Festival 31 July – 31 August

The city’s Art Festival is the UK’s largest celebration of visual art. View the works of contemporary Scottish and international artists. It brings together the museums, galleries and artists of the city in innovative and exiting ways. Most of the activities are free of charge.


Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1 – 25 August

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe allows those who have a story to tell, to do so, no matter what format it takes. It can be theatre, dance, cabaret, children’s shows or exhibitions; the list goes on. It originally started as a side-line to the International Festival, when acts didn’t make it onto the programme. It has grown to be the largest arts festival in the world. Performers arrive from all over the globe with the goal to be the next big thing. All you need is a show and a venue. As well as new starts to the industry, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe also attracts major names in comedy to sell-out shows.


Edinburgh International Festival 8 – 31 August

Edinburgh International Festival offers an elite programme of events dedicated to the arts, including opera, ballet and classical music. This year sees over 2,400 artists from over 43 nations. To celebrate this summer’s XX Commonwealth Games Glasgow, the festival has invited performers from the family of Commonwealth nations to participate in the packed schedule of events.


Edinburgh Book Festival 9– 25 August

Edinburgh, with its title of UNESCO City of Literature, is the ideal place to celebrate a love of books through the International Book Festival. With the aim of bringing people of all ages together with a common interest in everything literature, the festival offers a varied activities. This year title ‘Let’s Talk’, promotes their mission of providing a forum for dialogue, listening and learning. The festival takes place in the charming Charlotte Square Garden.


Edinburgh Mela Festival 29 – 31 August

Promoting world music, dance, fashion, food and fun, Edinburgh’s Mela Festival marks its 20th year. To commemorate this, the festival is offering its largest schedule ever. The multi-cultural event celebrates musical cultures from Cuba, West Africa, Brazil, and Spain to name a few. Let yourself be mesmerised by hip hop, flamenco, tango and capoeira dance shows. In the Kidzone children can take part in art workshops, listen to stories and generally immerse themselves in dance and music.


Edinburgh Military Tattoo 1 – 23 August

Perhaps the biggest draw during each summer is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. A fantastic celebration in its own right, make sure you secure your tickets well in advance and observe the magic unfold on the castle’s esplanade. There is no better backdrop in the world to experience the sound of massed pipes and drums. The highlight is definitely when the lights go out and the lone piper appears high up in the castle’s ramparts, putting chills down your spine as the sound of the bagpipes fill the air.


To mark the end of the summer, the Edinburgh International Festival put on a show to remember. The city’s skies become ablaze with one of the most impressive fireworks displays you will ever see, choreographed to music with absolute precision, and set against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Once you have recovered from a summer full of culture, why not book your next trip to ‘Auld Reekie’ and return for the world’s most famous New Year’s Celebration: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.