Edinburgh Art Festival – 29 July – 29 August

This fascinating visual arts festival features leading international and UK artists as well as emerging talent across Edinburgh’s galleries, museums and artist-run spaces.  As well as commissions and exhibitions, the Edinburgh Art Festival is somewhere you can get involved yourself, with a number of workshops where you can hone your skills.  Or, if you would prefer to while away the afternoon taking in some stunning paintings or photography, there are always plenty of great exhibits at the City Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Modern Art.

All Art Festival venues will be following the latest government guidelines around Covid-19 to ensure visitor safety, and they will keep their website updated on what audiences can expect during their visit.

For more information on the Edinburgh Art Festival, and to book tickets click here.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe – 6 – 30 August

Edinburgh is home to the largest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, surpassed only by the Olympics and FIFA World Cup in terms of ticketed events.  With over 3,500 shows in over 300 venues across the city, Edinburgh comes alive with tourists and performers looking to soak up some culture.  The festival covers every type of show you can imagine from theatre, comedy, music, dance and children’s shows (a lot of them free), we are sure you will find something you will enjoy, no matter what you are into (even on a tight budget).

Performances in 2021 will be a mix of in-person and online shows.  All in-person performances will be delivered in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines.  Limits on audience numbers will be in place in line with physical distancing and strict hygiene measure will be in place including masks and sanitisation to help everyone enjoy the events safely.

For more information on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and to book tickets, click here.

Edinburgh International Festival – 7 – 29 August

Started in 1947, the big brother to the Festival Fringe (despite the Fringe now eclipsing it in size), the two festivals run in tandem.  The International Festival focuses more on classical music, opera, ballet and theatre, with many works receiving their world premiers’.  Despite a classical leaning, the Edinburgh International Festival programme is an eclectic mix, with avante-garde theatre nestled beside contemporary pop music, making it an intriguing festival to visit.

The festival is book-ended with an opening spectacle, usually incorporating an outdoor music and light show and the fantastic, not-to-be-missed, closing-night fireworks over Edinburgh Castle set to a live orchestra playing in Princes Street Gardens.  This is a festival that knows how to impress.

The International Festival is working with the Scottish Government and Edinburgh Council to implement appropriate measures to ensure the safety of audiences and performers including the removal of intervals during performances, physically distanced seating and contactless payments as well as setting up outdoor venues for some events.

For more information on the Edinburgh International Festival, and to book tickets, click here.

Edinburgh International Book Festival – 14 – 30 August

With around 300 authors taking part in the International Book Festival in 2021, there really is something for everyone in this ever-popular annual literary onslaught to the capital.

Authors of every genre imaginable congregate on the capital every year, putting on talks about their work and performing book signings.  Past authors that have visited include George R.R Martin (hot from his Game of Thrones fame), JK Rowling and Al Gore.  Every year, the festival focuses on a number of themes, in 2021 these include; ‘Scotland: Exploding the Myths?’, ‘Pride and Prejudice: Celebrating LGBTQIA+ Voices’ and ‘Giants in Literature: Wisdom in Fiction’.

For the first time, the festival is hosted by the University of Edinburgh in 2021. The festival is working with the Scottish Government to ensure that the correct health and safety measures are in place including regular cleaning, ticketless events and capping the number of people on the festival site.  Face masks must be worn in all indoor spaces, however they will be hosting outdoor events as well.

For more information on the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and to book tickets, click here.

Edinburgh International Film Festival – 18 – 25 August 2021

If the silver screen is more your scene, the Edinburgh International Film Festival is for you.  Combining indoor and outdoor cinema experiences, the festival uses venues across the city, from South Queensferry (under the famous red railway bridge) to The Filmhouse and screenings under the stars at St Andrews Square.  Showcasing feature-length films, documentaries, animations and short films across all genres, you are sure to find something you will love here.

Covid-19 restrictions will be in place for this festival in line with government guidance, including wearing of face masks when moving around indoor spaces and physical distancing with seats split into groups of up to 4.

For more information on the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and to book tickets, click here.

Edinburgh Science Festival – 9 – 24 April 2022

Usually runs during the Easter holidays, this fascinating festival explores the mysteries of science in venues across the City.  The programme will appeal to budding scientists, young and old, and tends to cover anything from tricky technology to baffling biology.  With a mix of talks, workshops, family shows and exhibitions, you are sure to find something to pique your curiosity.  No trip to this festival is complete without a visit to the City Art Centre, with 9 floors jam-packed with hands-on exhibits that tend to range from digging for dinosaurs to making gunge.

For more information on the Edinburgh Science Festival, and to book tickets, click here.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival – July 2022

This festival is a must for any jazz and blues fan.  The opening carnival (and Mardi Gras parade) give way to a celebration of every type of jazz and blues you could imagine, from bebop to bluegrass and ragtime to blues rock.  The programme promotes local and up-and-coming talent as well as some well-known international names, giving you the opportunity to find new favourites amongst a programme of familiar faces.  Past names to have played include B.B King, Chris Barber and George Benson.

For more information on the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival and to book tickets click here.

A place to relax

These festivals each take place in a number of venues across the City which is why finding accommodation in a central location will be key in helping you maximise your time during your visit.

At Edinburgh First, we have a number of accommodation options to choose from, all within walking distance of the city centre, all connected to the rest of the City with regular buses and some less than a two-minute walk to a handful of festival venues.  No matter what your budget, we have comfortable, convenient accommodation to help you relax, recharge and make the most of the city’s jam-packed festivals.

For more information on our accommodation options, and to book please click here.