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Events and Attractions

The beautiful city of Edinburgh is home to some of the world’s best festivals and events, from the famous Edinburgh Fringe to celebrations of architecture, film, science, literature and Gaelic culture. See what’s on each month in Scotland’s stunning capital city.

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    Tales of the Cocktail
    1 April – 5 April

    Drink in world-famous brands and learn from cocktail experts during this five-day international festival that celebrates the best mixology has to offer. Tales of the Cocktail travels across the sea from the US to bring education seminars by day and special events celebrating Edinburgh’s diverse cocktail culture by night.

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    One of Europe’s largest science festivals, the Edinburgh International Science Festival delivers amazing experiences with innovative and inspiring discussions, workshops, performances, screenings, special events and exhibitions. It has a daily family programme and entertaining evening events for adults with food and drink debates, performances and discussions with a scientific twist.

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    Edinburgh Comic Con
    15 April – 16 April

    Edinburgh Comic Con returns for a fourth year, with an extensive selection of illustrators and traders, special guests, and talent – perfect for all fantasy fans. Confirmed guests include comic book creator Garry Brown, Claudia Christian from Babylon 5 and Richard Oldfield from Star Wars – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

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    26 April – 7 May

    Edinburgh’s TradFest is a feast of traditional Scottish music, storytelling, dance, folk drama, literature and crafts on show in Scotland’s capital. Inspired by the traditions of May Day and Beltane, it’s a showcase of Celtic arts and cultural traditions with a contemporary spin.

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    Beltane Fire Festival
    30 April

    Join hundreds of performers and thousands of revellers as they come together on Calton Hill to celebrate the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane. This year marks the 30th anniversary of modern Beltane celebrations, which sees painted performers re-enact fire rituals marking the death of winter and the birth of summer on one of the most magical nights of the year.

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    Watch the cream of European professional club rugby and stars of the world game compete for the European Rugby Challenge Cup and Champions Cup at the famous 67,000 capacity BT Murrayfield stadium.

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    27 May - 4 June

    Imaginate is Scotland’s international festival of performing arts for children and young people. It celebrates the best of children’s theatre and dance from Scotland and around the world to an audience of around 10,000 children, their teachers, and families each year.

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    Hidden Door Festival
    26 May – 4 June

    One of Edinburgh’s most intriguing festivals, Hidden Door, turns the derelict Old Leith Theatre into a buzzing hub of music, art, performance for a 10-day jam-packed schedule. The Hidden Door Festival showcases the best new creative work in Scotland in a unique setting for locals and visitors alike.

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    Edinburgh Festival of Cycling
    8 June - 18 June

    Fans of two wheels can immerse themselves in Edinburgh’s cycling culture over 10 days in the capital. The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling has been listed as one of Active Traveller Magazine’s top 10 cycling festivals in Europe for 2017 and is aimed at challenging people’s perceptions of cycling putting Edinburgh on the international map as a cycling city. Events range from rides (both sporty and otherwise) and family activities, to cultural offerings.

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    Leith Festival
    10 June - 18 June

    Leith Festival is an array of colour, sound, culture and pageantry that takes place over nine days. Don’t miss the main attractions of the Leith Pageant, where dancers, artists, pipe bands and folk in fancy dress parade through the heart of Leith as hundreds of well-wishers line the streets, and the traditional closing ceremony, the Leith Festival Tattoo.

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    Edinburgh International Film Festival
    21 June - 2 July

    Edinburgh International Film Festival showcases the most exciting, original and challenging new films from across the globe. Filmmakers, industry professionals and film fans converge on the capital city for a dynamic programme of fiction and documentary work that is intimate in scale but big in scope. You might even spot some stars of the screen at premiere events.

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    30 June - 8 July

    MagicFest is the UK’s largest magic event. Whether you’re a magician, an aspiring performer or just love the art of magic, you will be wowed by the programme. There are spectacular performances at the grand Gala show and a more than 20 shows at the MagicFair at Summerhall to delight and surprise people of all ages.

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    Architecture Fringe
    1 July - 24 July

    Based in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the Architecture Fringe is an open platform for architects, photographers, engineers, landscape architects, visual artists, curators and musicians to explore architecture and its impact on our lives. Exhibitions, performances, discussions, screenings, installations, lectures, walks, music and temporary structures are all to be explored throughout Edinburgh over most of July.

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    Music lovers will be in seventh heaven with more than 1000 performers and 150 concerts to indulge in. The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival invites musicians from all over the globe and offers audiences the chance to explore jazz and blues from A to Z. Artists range from up-and-coming to well-known names.

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    Edinburgh Art Festival
    27 July - 27 August

    Founded in 2004, Edinburgh Art Festival is the UK’s largest annual festival of visual art. It brings together the capital’s leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces, along with new public art commissions by established and emerging artists, and an innovative programme of special events. Mostly free to attend, it includes pop-up venues, evening performances and artist talks.

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    Edinburgh Festival Fringe
    4 August - 28 August

    The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest and most singular celebration of arts and culture in the world. From big names in the world of entertainment to emerging artists, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. This year it celebrates its 70th anniversary and with more than 50,000 performances in almost 300 venues throughout Edinburgh, it really is the greatest festival on earth.

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    Edinburgh International Festival
    4 August - 28 August

    The Edinburgh International Festival is a three-week celebration of the finest creators and performers from the worlds of theatre dance music and opera. Must-see events are Bloom – a large-scale sound and light installation that is projected onto Edinburgh’s iconic buildings – and the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert in Prince Street Gardens. Set against the iconic backdrop of Edinburgh’s historic Castle, this spectacular event brings together stirring orchestral music from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and magnificent pyrotechnics to make the end of the festival.

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    The world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an experience not to be missed. Performed at Edinburgh Castle’s esplanade, this ‘global gathering’ features the talents of musicians and performers from all four corners of the earth and has an annual television audience of 100 million people. The pomp, ceremony, music and military talent of the Tattoo is an enduring and spectacular once-in-lifetime event.

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    Edinburgh International Book Festival
    12 August - 28 August

    Readers can rejoice at the International Book Festival, with more than 800 authors in over 700 events. The programme includes novelists, poets, scientists, philosophers, sportsmen, illustrators, comic creators, historians, musicians, biographers, environmentalists, economists and Nobel and Booker prize-winners. Set in a specially created tented village in the heart of Edinburgh, it brings readers and writers of all ages together for inspiration, entertainment and discussion.

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    The very best of live storytelling, oral traditions and cultural diversity is celebrated with a unique 10-day program that brings together an inspiring group of Scottish and international storytellers and musicians. Inspired by the Scottish ceilidh tradition and community gatherings full of tales, anecdotes, music, songs and ballads, the festival takes place in and around Edinburgh.

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    Edinburgh Horror Festival
    27 October - 31 Oct

    The Edinburgh Horror Festival is one of the first of its kind in the UK. Fans of the paranormal, supernatural, gothic and horror can revel in themes shows at Lauriston castle and experience magic, seances, theatre and ghost hunts with the festival’s popular variety night.

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    The Samhuinn celebration takes place in Edinburgh’s Old Town – the site of ancient markets and All Hallows fairs. Performers depict the overthrowing of Summer by Winter through theatre, pulsating drums, acrobatics, and fire dancing in a modern interpretation of this ancient festival.

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    Edinburgh’s Christmas
    Late November - January 2018

    Experience a traditional Scottish Christmas with a funfair, Christmas markets, ice skating, free events and shows, and much more.

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    Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
    30 December - 01 January 2018

    Three days of spectacular events, incredible bands and amazing crowds from every corner of the globe are the hallmarks of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations in the heart of the city. The annual concert in Princes Street Gardens and the countdown to the New Year will help you welcome 2018 in style.

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    Loony Dook
    1 January 2018

    Many a sore head has been cured by jumping into the freezing water of the River Forth on New Year’s Day. The Loony Dook is a breath-taking annual dip that has been taking place at South Queensferry for 30 years. Join thousands of Dookers as they take the icy plunge in the shadow of the world-famous Forth Bridges.