Edinburgh bursts to life in the summer months when the sun sets long after ten o’clock, visitors descend and festival season is in full swing. But beyond that no matter the weather, there’s never a dull moment in the Scottish capital. So make a date to see...
January: The Great Winter Run
Beat the freezing temperatures and short days by joining the other runners in this much-loved Edinburgh fun run up and around Arthur’s Seat. With fantastic views over The Castle, The Forth and Holyrood Palace and proceeds going to charity, why wouldn’t you?
February to May: Six Nations Rugby Tournament
Snare a ticket to see the National Rugby Union team face their English, French and Italian rivals on the hallowed turf at Murrayfield Stadium. Nothing stirs the loins quite like a hundred thousand Scotsmen in kilts belting out a chorus of the “Flower of Scotland”.
April: The Beltane Fire Festival
Edinburgh celebrates the end of a long cold winter in this Gaelic-Celtic Spring Festival. In ye olden days communities would perform all manner of fire-related rituals and dances, many of which feature at Beltane. The end-of-summer version is October’s Samhuinn.
June: The Royal Highland Show
Celebrate the best in Scottish food, farming and rural life the way locals have been doing for nearly two hundred years. Who wouldn’t want to write home and tell the folks about The Highland Cows, Caber Tossing and Scottish Dancing Competitions?
August: The Edinburgh International Festival
Billed as the world’s premier Arts Festival, for over seventy years audiences have flocked to the EIF to see the best of music, theatre, opera and dance from around the world. For those with the cash for the hefty ticket prices, performances are world-class.
August: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The fringe totally transforms Scotland's capital when thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages for shows catering for every taste. Highlights include The Edge, featuring new and established music acts and the belly laughs at the perennially popular Comedy Festival.
August: Royal Edinburgh Tattoo
A show featuring British and Commonwealth Military regiments isn’t an obvious crowd pleaser, but it’s essential to see The Tattoo at least once. Expect marching bands, dancing and vehicular thrills, but the scale, pomp and Castle setting, make this an iconic and mesmerising spectacular.
September: Riding of the Marches
Where but Edinburgh would you celebrate the defeat of the Scottish Army in a 16th century battle? The spectacular cavalcade of over two hundred horses and riders making their way up the Royal Mile really is quite unique.
November / December: Christmas Markets / Winter Festival
Princes Street Gardens transforms into a twinkly winter wonderland with ice-skating, Ferris wheel and traditional German markets. Warm the cockles with a glass of mulled wine or eggnog and imbibe in the Christmas spirit.
December / January: Hogmanay
Join Edinburghers for their unique three-day New Year celebrations inspired by ancient pagan winter solstice shindigs. With a bagpipe-lead torchlight street procession, Princes Street Party, Castle fireworks and The Loony Dook, a morning-after dip in The River Forth, go the whole “hog” and do it all.