Expecting the unexpected at Edinburgh's Festivals


If you’ve been to one of Edinburgh’s Festivals before or are considering a trip in 2018, do you know what to expect? One of the great things about the Festival City is that every year there's something new  to experience with a feast of innovative performance, events and exhibitions! Here's our guide to expecting the unexpected:

In Edinburgh you can’t turn a corner without making a cultural discovery. The Edinburgh Art Festival has left its footprint across the city and you can find yourself immersed in a piece of art at every turn. While the festival itself runs from late July until the end of August; you can experience a little bit of it throughout the year.

In 2012 the festival and Ingleby Gallery co-commissioned the first piece of light-based work by artist Calum Innes which is stunning all year round but especially in the winter months.

In another commission, which links Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, the Scotsman Steps are an important piece of the city’s history. Co-commissioned with the Fruitmarket Gallery, Martin Creed’s Work No. 1059 was created in 2010. The piece of work contains 104 different types of marble from around the world; one for each of the famous Steps.

If you love Guy Fawkes Day and the sparkle and colour of fireworks then you need to visit Edinburgh during Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo or the Edinburgh International Festival’s closing night concert. You might have seen postcards or Instagram pictures of festival fireworks, but it pales in comparison to experiencing it live!

It is only during these festival events that you can enjoy fireworks exploding majestically from Edinburgh Castle. There is nowhere else in the world that offers such a picture postcard photo opportunity than the world-class fireworks that can be seen across the city.

If you’re getting your retail fix on Edinburgh’s Princes Street in July, you might inadvertently stumble upon the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival’s Festival Carnival! A fantastic event which has run over the last few years on the opening weekend of the festival; Princes Street Gardens are transformed into a melting pot of music, colour and performance.

As the home of jazz, musicians and performers from New Orleans are joined by artists from all over the world, in the city for the festival. Pop-up performances take place across the gardens all afternoon – perfect for a picnic!

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Edinburgh is a great city for those that like to enjoy the outdoors and wander! At some times of the year it’s often the fastest mode of transport, particularly during August. Aim to achieve your 10,000 steps by lunch, start exploring and you’ll quickly see why Edinburgh is the inspiration for so many performers, authors, artists and thinkers.

You’ll discover elements of the festivals in every nook and cranny; such as the Edinburgh International Science Festivals pop-up Moments in Time exhibition last April complete with its own Doctor-who themed police boxes as home for the exhibition!

One of the most unexpected things about a trip to Edinburgh’s Festivals is that they physically inhabit every inch of the city. In August five festivals take place over four weeks and the entire capital is transformed into a stage.

If you think a festival is contained to a tent, or a street or a venue, think again! With over 300 venues to choose from (which have included a Castle, an extinct volcano, underground caves, swimming pools, churches and pubs) you won’t be bored for a minute!

If you’re a fan of literature it’s easy to see why Edinburgh has been home to so many amazing authors over the years. The Edinburgh International Book Festival offers a quiet calm in the middle of the heady summer season and is the location for one of the busiest book shops in the world!

Over a ten day period the onsite bookshops (one is dedicated to children’s fiction) sell more books than a High Street store might sell in an entire year! Last August over 63,000 books were sold on site; with author events a great place to secure a signed copy for a Christmas or Birthday gift idea!

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