Edinburgh’s Best Summer Festivals

Scotland’s capital comes alive in the summertime with some of the world’s biggest festivals.
 

Photo by Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam

From June to August, Edinburgh is a hotbed of happenings, featuring theatre, movie, magic, book and marching-band festivals.

The main event: Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 4 to 28

On a typical Edinburgh Festival Fringe afternoon on the city’s Royal Mile, a bike-riding banana passes a gaggle of stilt-walking dinosaurs while a trumpet-playing haggis holds court nearby. Now in its 70th year, the gargantuan event features 50,000 performances of more than 3,200 shows and transforms the city into the UK’s theatre capital. The visitor’s best attendance approach is to build an itinerary around big-name acts complemented by unknowns that often surprise and delight.

Three more to travel for:

Edinburgh International Magic Festival, June 30 to July 8

The U.K.’s biggest festival of illusionary shenanigans magically combines family-friendly performances with cutting-edge, late-night magicians.

Edinburgh International Festival, August 4 to 28

From opera and dance to music and theatre, Scotland’s annual cultural showcase invites acts from home and abroad to tread the boards at venues around the city.

Edinburgh International Book Festival, August 12 to 28

The world’s largest literature festival presents a lineup of more than 700 events, including tented readings, literary debates and on-stage interviews.

Getting there: WestJet flies to Glasgow once a day from Halifax.

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