And the Lothians is no exception, with Highland games, local customs and unique festivals taking place throughout the year.
Find out what's on in Edinburgh & The Lothians and peruse our events listings below. Although the festivals run all year-round, the summer months - and August in particular - are when festival fever reaches its height.
Festival season officially kicks off with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Almost a thousand musicians, pipers, drummers, singers and dancers from around the globe perform on Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. This unforgettable spectacle is brought to an emotional and poignant close each evening as a lone piper, high on the castle ramparts, plays a haunting lament.
The Edinburgh Art Festival is the UK’s largest annual celebration of visual art and attracts over 250,000 art lovers to the capital’s internationally renowned galleries, museums and artist-run spaces. Admire in specially commissioned public artworks created by both established and emerging artists and enjoy and take your pick from an innovative programme of events including late openings, live music, film screening, guided tours and family-friendly events.
The Edinburgh International Festival, founded in 1947, is the official centrepiece of Edinburgh’s festivals. Running for four weeks, this performing arts festival has world-class displays of theatre, dance and music. The Festival ends with a spectacular firework display at Edinburgh Castle.
Why not play the Suggest My Fest app via the festival's Facebook page to help you choose what you'd like to see at the EIF?
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs alongside the International Festival. The Fringe is the world’s largest art festival, with over 2,500 different shows last year. The Fringe has strong ties with comedy and drama, as well as featuring more unusual acts such as puppetry and circus performers. For those who want their money to go a little further, there are also hundreds of Free Fringe events.
In need of a multicultural fix, don't miss out on the Edinburgh Mela. A dazzling carnival of colour, world music, dance, exotic food and drink, art exhibitions and more, the Mela celebrates the diversity of Scotland’s communities and cultures in the pleasant green setting of Leith Links.
Another August festival is the Edinburgh International Book Festival, staged in the elegant surroundings of the city centre's Charlotte Square. The event regularly attracts a world-class selection of authors, with previous appearances from Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling and Ian Rankin amongst many others. With around 700 events each year, including free evening events, you’re sure to find the right genre to suit your literary tastes.
Film, science and storytelling
The fortnight-long Edinburgh International Science Festival is held at the end of March. With hands-on experiments, fascinating talks and many more family-friendly events and activities, this vibrant celebration of science and technology invites people of all ages and walks of life to delve into the mys