What's on in Edinburgh & The Lothians

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Crowds go wild at the Wickerman Festival, Dumfries & Galloway
Homecoming 2014 ››

Browse all our Homecoming 2014 events listings

Brightly dressed performers take part in the Edinburgh Festival Carnival on the city's Princes Street © Kenny Lam
Edinburgh Festivals Guide ››

Download our FREE Edinburgh Festivals Survival Guide for all the hints, tips and highlights you need this July and August.

  • The Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charlotte Square
    The Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charlotte Square
  • Children conducting an experiment at the Edinburgh Science Festival.
    Edinburgh Science Festival © Kenny Lam
  • A gold painted living statue on the Royal Mile during the Festival
    A Fringe performer on the Royal Mile
  • The Mardi Gras Carnival at the opening of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, the Grassmarket
    The Mardi Gras Carnival, the Grassmarket © Kenny Lam
  • The E4 Udderbelly, a Festival Fringe venue in Bristo Square
    The E4 Udderbelly, Bristo Square

Edinburgh is a hive of cultural activity, and nowhere is this better seen than in the city's festivals. With performing arts, music, drama, exhibitions, films, comedy and talks, the outpouring of creativity during Edinburgh’s festivals is second to none. With everything from Highland games to fascinating local events, there is lots going on across the Lothians too.

Find out what's on in Edinburgh & The Lothians all year round by using the events listings below. Although the festivals run all year round, the summer months - and August in particular - are when festival fever reaches its height.

August festivals

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 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.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is another August must-see. 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. For a fantastic multicultural flavour, don't miss the Edinburgh Mela which celebrates the city’s diversity with music, dance, exhibitions and more.

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.

Opening with a Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket, July's Jazz and Blues Festival is a high-energy festival with two weeks of vibrant music in venues across the city.

If you are going to the festivals this summer, why not download our FREE Edinburgh Festivals Survival Guide for all the hints, tips and highlights you need this July and August?

Film, science and storytelling

There are also festivals spread throughout the year. The Edinburgh International Film Festival is held in June, and shows a vast range of new films from around the world. With its glitzy premieres and cutting-edge independent films, the Film Festival brings a touch of Hollywood glamour to Edinburgh.

The two-week Edinburgh International Science Festival is held at the end of March. With interactive experiments, talks and much more for all ages, you can discover more about the mysteries of our world.

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival in October is Scotland's annual celebration of traditional and contemporary storytelling. The festival brings together artists and audiences in entertaining and inspiring live storytelling performances, thought-provoking talks, workshops and discussions and fun family activities.

East Lothian festivals

In the summer, the Lothians boasts festivals such as Fringe by the Sea in North Berwick and the British Pipe Band Championships in Bathgate. Over the autumn and winter months, the Lothians host festivals including the Lennoxlove Book Festival and the Lammermuir Festival. You'll find Highland games, local fairs and festivals throughout towns and villages.

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  1. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    See Luke Fowler's film The Poor Stockinger, The Luddite Cropper And The Deluded Followers Of Joanna Southcott.

    Dates

    28 Jun 2014 to 2 Nov 2014
  2. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Contemporary paintings.

    Dates

    1 Aug 2014 to 26 Sep 2014
  3. Boy And Bear

    Type

    Music Event

    Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Indie-rock five-piece.

    Dates

    5 Nov 2014
  4. Gradings

    Prestonpans

    Discover more about the Battle of Prestonpans.

    Dates

    14 Sep 2014
  5. Fright Night

    Type

    Sport & Leisure

    Gradings

    Linlithgow

    Take a tour around the palace after hours.

    Dates

    24 Oct 2014 to 1 Nov 2014
  6. Dragonforce

    Type

    Music Event

    Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Melodic metal rock sextet.

    Dates

    17 Sep 2014
  7. Resident 14

    Type

    Arts & Cultural

    Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Works in various media by artists selected from the RSA Residencies programme.

    Dates

    6 Sep 2014 to 9 Nov 2014
  8. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Kenton Cool, Olly Hicks and Ben Fogle talk about their adventures.

    Dates

    9 Sep 2014
  9. Allan McDonald

    Type

    Music Event

    Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Celtic music performer.

    Dates

    16 Sep 2014
  10. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    The actor and broadcaster discusses his career.

    Dates

    16 Sep 2014
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