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


    Author Tracey Corderoy presents his children's novel.


    10 Aug 2014
  2. Gradings


    Authors Catherine Rayner and Vivian French talk to Joy Court, the Kate Greenaway Medal Working Party's chair, about how extraordinary books can be created using illustration.


    15 Aug 2014
  3. Gradings


    Heart-warming and hilarious!


    1 Aug 2014 to 25 Aug 2014
  4. Gradings


    The sound of the blues and the ring of years-long rivalries, in this comedy from DugOut Theatre.


    30 Jul 2014 to 25 Aug 2014
  5. Gradings


    The Scottish author discusses her new collection All The Rage.


    14 Aug 2014
  6. Gradings


    Y'all come on down and let Scotland's own Flagstaff take you on a road trip across America.


    4 Aug 2014 to 12 Aug 2014
  7. Gradings


    Your favourite stand-ups, one hour, no lights.


    31 Jul 2014 to 24 Aug 2014
  8. Gradings


    Tripped Theatre presents a stylised adaptation of Shakespeare's fantastical comedy.


    1 Aug 2014 to 16 Aug 2014
  9. Gradings


    Four performers explore their experiences of being men in this all male interpretation of Emily Bronte's text.


    10 Aug 2014 to 24 Aug 2014
  10. Gradings


    This world-renowned recording artist returns to the Fringe to perform his popular hits Ariel, Lucky Stars, Lydia and more.


    6 Aug 2014 to 24 Aug 2014

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