The Easy Guide to Edinburgh's Summer Festivals

Every year, Edinburgh plays host to a huge variety of festivals and events, with something to suit every taste. It takes a lot of planning, but when you arrive you'll never be stuck for things to do. Read on for our quick-start guide to what was in Edinburgh this summer.

Edinburgh International Film Festival - 20 June - 1 July 2012

Now in its 65th year, the Edinburgh International Film Festival showcases the best in international filmmaking and is renowned worldwide. Many notable films have previously debuted here, including The Hurt Locker, Ratatouille, Little Miss Sunshine, An Inconvenient Truth and Billy Elliot.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe - 3rd - 27th August 2012

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world, with thousands of performers descending on the city's theatres, pubs, church halls, streets and parks. The Fringe Festival truly caters for everyone, with a plethora of theatre, dance, comedy, music and events to choose from across hundreds of venues.

Edinburgh International Festival - 9th Aug - 2nd Sept 2012

Established in 1947 to enrich the cultural life of Europe after the Second World War, the Edinburgh International Festival is today one of the most important cultural celebrations in the world, hosting a range of opera, music, dance, visual arts and theatre performances.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival - 20th July - 29th July 2012

Born in the seventies, The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival initially consisted of a handful of free performances in city pubs. Today the festival plays host to high quality national and international musicians, focusing on musical excellence and spontaneous creativity. A highlight of the jazz and blues festival is a free carnival in Princes Street Gardens, showcasing music, dance, costumes and street entertainment from all over the world.

Edinburgh International Book Festival - 11th - 27th Aug 2012

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is the largest public celebration of the written word in the world. Throughout the festival, visitors can attend talks and events with some of the world's most prominent writers and thinkers.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - 3rd - 25th Aug 2012

The world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo brings together creative talent from four continents in its 62nd year on the forecourt of the spectacular Edinburgh Castle. Nearly 1000 performers stun audiences in the 90 minute extravaganza that concludes in a firework display every evening.

Edinburgh Art Festival - 2nd Aug - 2nd Sept 2012

The Edinburgh Art Festival was founded in 2004 to run in tandem with the city's international and Fringe festivals and includes over 45 major exhibitions, the majority of which are free to attend. The art festival aims to showcase the best in local, national and international emerging artists.

August is by far the busiest time of year in Edinburgh for tourism with around two million tickets sold to see the 2695 shows crammed into just four weeks. Accommodation, whether it’s a budget hostel or a comfortable city centre hotel, always fills up quickly with tourists booking early.

So unless you have a friend's sofa to crash on, it's worth bearing this in mind when you come to the world's most famous summer arts festivals. After you've settled in, head out and enjoy the array of festivities and carnival atmosphere in Scotland's vibrant and dynamic capital.


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