24 hours at Edinburgh's August festivals

You can squeeze plenty of festivals action into 24 hours during August - so here’s some thoughts on how you might spend your day...


24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds… each moment in Edinburgh is precious so spend your time wisely and experience the magic of the August festivals in one eventful day. 

Mornings were designed to be relaxing so give your brain a literary boost by starting at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (15 – 31 August).  Wander down at 10ish and hear storytellers and author discussions over a strong coffee or two to start the day. Loved by bookworms and wee ones alike, Charlotte Square Gardens turns into the city's storybook garden for 2 weeks, with guests varying from authors and illustrators to journalists and politicians.

As your laidback morning turns into a creative afternoon, unleash your inner critic for an arty hour or so exploring the city’s art galleries as part of Edinburgh Art Festival (30 July – 30 August). Explore the UK’s largest festival of visual art and see what’s on offer at city centre art galleries like the Scottish National Gallery, Scottish National Portrait Gallery or the City Art Centre. Be inspired by geniuses like Picasso, David Bailey and Lee Miller, and enjoy great work made closer to home with Scottish artists featured at venues around town.

We’ve never known an art gallery to have a bad café so pause in one for a lunch time nibble - or if the weather's in your favour, embrace the sunshine and have a picnic at one of the city's many beautiful outdoor spots.

As the afternoon moves on, squeeze in an operatic or theatrical performance with Edinburgh International Festival (07 – 31 August). The festival visits some of the most architecturally impressive venues around town, such as the Usher Hall and Edinburgh Festival Theatre, so get there early and soak up the sights and the atmosphere, possibly with a cheeky pre-theatre drink.

Post-performance, it's time to venture up to the Royal Mile for dinner. The street is sprinkled with scrumptious restaurants, bistros and bars, so you'll not be short of choice. In keeping with the evening's entertainment, have a great meal (no, not from the chippy) at one of the capital's excellent Scottish establishments. Early evening sees an influx of festival goers and performers on the Mile so give yourself plenty of time to make your way up to the Castle.

As dusk settles Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (07 – 29 August) welcomes you to the traditional and contemporary sounds of the pageant. It’s almost always a sell-out, so book well in advance and witness the culturally dynamic show with performers from across the globe.

Post-show, it's time for a pick-me-up coffee or two, before heading into the night to experience the carnival that is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (07 – 31 August). The Fringe runs all day, and verging on all night, with over 50,000 shows on offer including comedy, theatre, circus, dance, music and everything else in between. Go with an open mind and drop in and out of venues for a varied and memorable evening exploring Edinburgh after dark. Also, many clubs also have a 5am license so if you feel like going dancing until it's light again then you can!

And then... get some sleep and do it all again - we’ll see you back at breakfast, festival goers!

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