Things to do in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival

Even though Edinburgh is quite a relaxed, serene place for most of the year and is still more than worth a visit all year round, there is one part of the year it’s at its liveliest. Edinburgh Fringe Festival time brings a different dynamic to this most English of Scottish cities.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Performers

The world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival makes for an exciting and thrilling occasion and the city reflects this aptly. For the end of July and most of August, all sorts of revellers come to town. However, there’s much else for visitors aside from the Fringe Festival during the period, here are some of the great things going on in the city at that time. (Be sure to prepare by getting your UK visas ahead of time!)

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

A full week before the Fringe Festival gets underway, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival kicks off. It’s a crazy mix of big names and local artists and everyone from Dionne Warwick to Jools Holland have performed. Concerts are staged day and night and it’s the perfect attraction to get the festivities underway if you’re a little early.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2007

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

This soldier’s parade is the most popular even in the city during festival time and more than 200,000 tickets are sold each year to see this parade of music and dance. The Queen’s Jubilee is one of the reasons to certainly try and see it this year. Expect to see an amazing tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and her 60 years as head of the UK. However, we would advise you to book as early as possible as the queues for the event are said to be the longest for any event in the world on a normal year. With over 1,000 performers the Tattoo is a 90 minute show and draws performers from all continents.

Edinburgh Book Festival in Charlotte Square

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Though it is of course the Fringe Festival that attracts the playwrights and the actors; the International Book Festival has quite the following. Held at Charlotte Square Gardens in the New Town for 17 days until the last Monday in August, Edinburgh is the perfect place for such a showing. Home of Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Burns, Edinburgh is a literary giant of a city. With talks from some of the greatest writers on earth, it’s a sell-out hit and a must visit if in the city during the period.

Edinburgh Mela

Looking for something a little unexpected, then the Edinburgh Mela, which takes place at the start of August may be it. The festival celebrates the city’s significant Asian community and has everything from performances, to a bazaar and also a significant selection of Asian food on offer. It’s not something you’d associate with Edinburgh, but it’s a colourful and fun event.

Festival of Politics

This festival was launched in 2005 and is held in Holyrood, the Country’s Parliament building. The five day festival offers a varied programme of debate, talks and history on everything from children’s rights to the soon to be held referendum on Scottish Independence. In fact, it might be the liveliest thing to happen in August, thanks to this up and coming election.

Edinburgh is a great place to be and the end of the summer is a great time of year to be there, just be aware there’s so much more going on than just the fantastic Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


Author Cormac Reynolds works for Global Visas, a UK visa site.



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