Edinburgh is the world's festival city! With a packed programme of events, Edinburgh’s festivals continue to be a unique showcase of Scottish and international creative talent for everyone. The festivals are excited to invite you back for 2024.

What are the Edinburgh Festivals? 

Edinburgh is renowned as the world’s leading festival city with various festivals and events taking place throughout the year, especially during the summer.

Creative talent from across the globe come to Edinburgh to perform at cultural, artistic and entertainment events. 

Edinburgh has a long history as a festival city with the first Edinburgh Festival taking place in 1947. Today, Edinburgh has 11 major festivals throughout the year. 

Edinburgh offers an unforgettable welcome to performers, spectators, visitors, production crews and media alike. Exceptional food and drink experiences come to the city from around the globe, for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you love performance arts, music, theatre, literature and more, there’s a festival to suit everyone! 

The Edinburgh Festivals 2024

25 May - 2 June

From 25 May to 2 June enjoy big ideas, epic stories and flamboyant physicality at the Edinburgh International Children's Festival.

12 - 21 July

See performances from top Scottish bands, international stars and festival favourites alongside new names at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival.

2 - 25 August

The Edinburgh International Festival is the highlight of Scotland's calendar turning the capital into a cultural hotspot every August.

2 - 26 August

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an open-access festival featuring famous comedians and professional musicians alongside student sketch troops and the stars of tomorrow.

2 - 24 August

There are few who can resist the stirring skirl of the pipes and the powerful crash of the drums at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo!

9 - 25 August

Founded in 2004, the Edinburgh Art Festival is the only major annual festival dedicated to the visual arts within the UK.

10 - 25 August

Edinburgh is the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, and home to the Edinburgh International Book Festival – the perfect fit.

15 - 21 August

Edinburgh boasts the world's longest continuously-running film festival. Actors, filmmakers and fans join together in the city for six days of film appreciation.

Make the most of Edinburgh Festivals with these top tips:

  1. Book accommodation in advance
    Keep in mind whether you want a hotel, holiday let or to consider self-catering in the empty student accommodation in the summer months. Accommodation does book up fast so secure it as soon as possible. 
  2. Pack for all weather
    Scotland is a beauty, but even in August, the weather can be unpredictable. You'll be watching shows inside, outside, all kinds of venues, so packing wisely, think layers, comfy shoes and umbrellas, will give you a much more versatile wardrobe to tackle the festivals.
  3. Photograph the flyers
    Flyers are a great way to discover shows you otherwise might not hear about, or wouldn’t have thought to attend. If you don't want to carry lots of flyers (and you do want to help the environment) simply photograph the flyers that interest you.
  4. Make use of the half price hut and free events
    Festival season doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. Between East and West Princes Street Gardens is the Half Price Hut where you can pick up discount same-day and next-day Fringe tickets. Free events occur all day, every day across the city too. Whether it’s a street performance or part of the Free Fringe, there are plenty of free and pay-what-you-can shows and performances throughout the festival. The Edinburgh International Festival also offers a range of ticket concessions tailored to your budget including multibuy options and a limited amount of affordable tickets. Likewise, the Art and Book Festivals offer plenty to enjoy without paying a penny! 
  5. Explore the life around the festival
    Colourful craft fairs showcasing local artists, delicious street food stalls and energetic silent-disco-walking-tours of the city are just a few of the experiences that come as part of festival season in Edinburgh.

Top Travel Tips from Lothian Buses

  1. Download the bus and tram app
    Downloading Transport for Edinburgh’s bus and tram app is the easiest way to find out where you’re going and how to get there.
  2. Allow time for your journey
    Some services, especially during festival season, can be extremely busy so it is wise to leave some extra time to complete your journey in comfort and with the peace of mind that you won’t be late for your favourite show.
  3. Use the correct change on buses (or use contactless!)
    Have the correct fare to hand and please make sure it is the correct amount to avoid overpaying. If you will be a regular on Lothian’s services, tap the same card or mobile payment device each time you board and the next morning you’ll be automatically charged the cheapest adult daily fare for the journeys you’ve made. 
  4. Don’t leave your items on public transport
    If you do think you have left an item on board a Lothian service the team will do everything they can to help to reunite you with your belongings. In the first instance and for more information you can visit their website for further information about Lothian Lost Property.
  5. Expect the unexpected
    During August it is not at all unusual to catch a bus with a dance troupe, or a comedy act complete with wild and whacky props in hand. Throughout the festival, dogs may not be the only pets accompanying their owners on public transport, so keep an eye out for anything exotic!

Find out more about Scottish Government support for major festivals.