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

    What better way to toast the finale of Jura Unbound than with Edinburgh's own Rally & Broad. Live literature featuring artists from different art forms creating original collaborations, including poets Don Paterson and Ryan Van Winkle.

    Dates

    25 Aug 2014
  2. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Interactive comedy show.

    Dates

    2 Aug 2014 to 23 Aug 2014
  3. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    The nation's favourite publican celebrates 20 years at the lager top.

    Dates

    7 Aug 2014 to 24 Aug 2014
  4. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Sketch comedy.

    Dates

    31 Jul 2014 to 24 Aug 2014
  5. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    North Sea Gas perform traditional acoustic works.

    Dates

    16 Aug 2014
  6. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    An exploration of the Scottish diaspora during the First World War.

    Dates

    11 Jul 2014 to 12 Oct 2014
  7. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Martin Pilgrim's stand up solo show.

    Dates

    1 Aug 2014 to 25 Aug 2014
  8. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    A stage adaptation of Chaucer's bawdy and vivid stories.

    Dates

    18 Aug 2014 to 23 Aug 2014
  9. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Acoustica from the acclaimed Italian composer and instrumentalist.

    Dates

    7 Aug 2014 to 17 Aug 2014
  10. Gradings

    Edinburgh

    A wide repertoire of choral music from a variety of genres.

    Dates

    14 Aug 2014
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