The 11 major Edinburgh Festivals in 2023

Edinburgh is an amazing city and my favorite city in Britain so far. Between its history, the enthusiasm of the Scottish people, the magnificent architecture and the growing creative scene, it is the place that can really compare with London in the UK trip.
Although most people know the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, there are actually 11 unique festivals throughout the year, so if you plan to travel to Edinburgh, try to arrange your trip to catch up with one of them.
1. Edinburgh International Science Festival
April 1 – April 16, 2023
The annual Science Festival kicked off with one of the largest science festivals in Europe. It has seminars, performances, screenings and exhibitions suitable for all ages. Whether you want to make children happy, or technology lovers, or just want to learn about cutting-edge technology, this two-week activity is a good place.
This year, they will also hold GastroFest, a food festival focusing on the connection between food and science, including cocktail making courses and some unique dining experiences.
2. Edinburgh International Children’s Day
May 27-June 4, 2023
The biggest feature of Edinburgh International Children’s Day is that it really meets all ages and interests in art. In particular, the activities prepared for children and young people show talents from all over the world. Drama, dance and music are all representative, so if you have a child who is interested in art, this is a must.

3. Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
July 14-23, 2023
If you are interested in the smooth sound of jazz, you should hurry to buy tickets to participate in this July event. From rock music to samba and soul music, there are many free outdoor concerts (weather permitting). You can hear old and respected talents and newcomers in more than 150 different performances throughout the city.
4. Edinburgh Art Festival
July 27th to August 27th, 2023
August is the beginning of the Edinburgh Art Festival. The four art festivals are held at the same time. The Edinburgh Art Festival is not only limited to the classic works in the gallery, but also covers the whole city, even some rural towns.
The modern art in the underground passage, the devices for walking and visiting, and the space operated by some exclusive artists provide a brilliant platform for the display of various arts. When I walked through the city, I was surprised at how many things were dotted around for anyone to watch for free.
5. Edinburgh Fringe Festival
August 4-28, 2023
Edinburgh Fringe Festival may be the festival you have heard of. It occupies the basement of the underground tavern, the theater site, the Royal Mile and almost all the places that can be called performance space.
Although some performances are free, the donation at the end of the performance is always appreciated. The scale and number of performances each year expose new talents, which makes this festival so unique. Whether you like magic, comedy, interactive drama or more traditional performances, you will find something suitable for you in the guide of Big Fat Man, and then be present 30 minutes before the performance begins.

Edinburgh Festival Royal Tattoo
6. Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo
August 4-26, 2023
This performance has opened my eyes. If you spend money on one thing during your summer visit, buy this one. Impressive fireworks show, military bands from all over the world and great atmosphere, this outdoor wonder is set against the background of Edinburgh Castle. Please see a few clips in the video below.
7. Edinburgh International Festival
August 4-27, 2023
The International Art Festival and the Fringe Festival are held at the same time, but many programs are sold and planned, not free. This year, it has a star lineup, including Alan Cummings. Each year’s programs are different, so you should check their website in advance, because it is recommended to book tickets before arrival, which is different from the Fringe Festival.
8. Edinburgh International Film Festival
August 12-20, 2023
The film festival celebrating its 70th birthday in 2017 is famous for its influence on film production worldwide. There are some groundbreaking documentaries, short films and unique film styles. This is a great event, and we can see that the coming talents are really on the stage.
9. Edinburgh International Book Festival
August 18-26, 2023
A book festival? This may sound a bit dull, but this huge garden and tent area is not only for retail of paper books, but also for many things.
If you like to get lost in the pages, there are lectures every day, Q&A with writers and seminars of all ages. This is a good place to select some new books and find new authors. Some lectures are free, but access to the area itself is free (so is reading books).
10. Scotland International Storytelling Festival
October 17-29, 2023
As a writer, in this world, fewer and fewer people move themselves by reading, but only focus on the facts. Storytelling festival is a real enjoyment. Local and international celebrities share stories, songs and poems. This is a real celebration. It is so important for writing and maintaining the magic of these stories.
The torch parade in Edinburgh began
11. Hogman Festival in Edinburgh
December 30, 2023 – January 1, 2024
If you want to have a unique New Year’s Eve, go to Edinburgh and have a look. The three-day Hogman Day celebration will cover the whole city.
The uninterrupted entertainment activities, the famous Shetland Pirate Torch Parade, the lively Christmas market, and of course, fireworks. This is a party to welcome the New Year with style, and it is worth leaving a place on your list of wishes.
Where else in the world can compare to singing “Friendship Forever” at midnight?
More information and tickets
For some tips on saving money in Scotland, please check my Edinburgh Festival Budget Guide.
Edinburgh Basics
During the festival, accommodation prices may rise sharply, so it is a good idea to book in advance. Here are two options that I have tested. It doesn’t cost much.
SYHA Edinburgh Metro Hotel: Don’t panic! This is not your typical dormitory hotel. In the summer, this university city will hand over many campus apartments to SYHA for management, which means that you can find your own room (shared bathroom) in the apartment in the city center, about 50 pounds per night. Considering the expensive degree of the hotel, this is a good choice. For me, this is better than a hotel, because you can still get a private room with enough space, your own wardrobe and table, and the kitchen that can use the apartment, so you don’t have to eat out every day.
Motel One: There are two such chic German hotels in the city, providing rooms with very chic design, and the price is lower than most boutique hotels. Don’t be confused by the name of the motel. There are plush bedding, designer features, amazing showers and delicious buffet breakfast. This is more like the experience of a 4 * hotel than a motel. In the off-season, the room starts at 59 pounds, but if you book it at the last minute before the holiday, the price will be higher.
How to get there?
Take the train. If you have started your journey in Britain, then the train may be the best way to come here. Our train is expensive and crowded, but if you book in advance, you can usually get a good price and a seat reservation (try to choose a seat with a table, because it may be a long journey). I like to use The Train Line as the starting point for finding preferential fares.
By plane. Edinburgh has a great airport, not far from the city, and there is also an airport in Glasgow. Both airports provide international routes as far as Asia, with economy and traditional flights. Check Skyscanner, which can help you find the cheapest flight transactions — I have a super convenient post about the best way to get cheap flights, as a good starting point.

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