10 Must-see Viewpoints for Edinburgh’s Festivals

One of the best things about Edinburgh’s array of festivals is the wide range of fantastic venues they can introduce you to. What better way to spend a trip than enjoying world-leading festival programmes whilst also taking in the city’s sights and attractions? Here’s our guide to just some of the must-see viewpoints for Edinburgh’s festivals.

1. Edinburgh Castle

Border Guard of Poland CAP

No list would be complete without Edinburgh’s crowning jewel, the Castle. While it can be admired from afar at various spots around the city, the Festivals provide a great opportunity for a visit. Each August sees the Castle Esplanade become home to a celebration of international culture as the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place. Don’t miss this chance to see the iconic lone piper play against the stunning backdrop of one of Scotland’s most famous historical buildings.

2. Princes Street Gardens

06 Street Party 04 Chris Watt CAP

Just a stone’s throw away from the Castle, in its shadow, lie the famous Princes Street Gardens. A great spot for a sunny pitstop or walk, they also play host to some of the Festivals’ most exciting annual highlights. Edinburgh's Hogmanay revellers can enjoy live music and fireworks from here - but those visiting in August won’t miss out on the excitement either, with a spectacular fireworks concert closing the Edinburgh International Festival each year in the same spot.

3. National Museum of Scotland

Pisces Jason Hackenwerth CAP

Boasting exhibits on everything from Scotland’s ancient history to space, fashion and dinosaurs, the National Museum of Scotland has earned its place amongst Edinburgh’s greatest attractions. But as well as its everyday work, it also plays host to some fantastic Festival fun: this April will see the Edinburgh Science Festival take over museum spaces with a range of interactive workshops, shows and drop-in activities. In previous years the Children’s Festival has also called the museum home - keep an eye out for their programme launching next month.

4. St. Andrew Square Garden

Film in the City

In the city’s New Town, St Andrew Square Garden provides an oasis of green space, water features and mood lighting just a moment away from the bustling bars, restaurants and shops in the city centre. Every June it also welcomes the Edinburgh International Film Festival, with outdoor screenings just one highlight of an always jam-packed programme. Past visitors to the Jazz & Blues and International Festivals have also enjoyed a range of innovative and diverse events in the Square.

5. Charlotte Square

01 Book Festival Village aerial view CAP

Mirroring St Andrew Square is Charlotte Square, on George Street’s West end. It’s the Edinburgh International Book Festival which calls this spot home, bringing its many tents, pop-up bars and famous bookshop to the Square every August. Find your favourite authors and sought-after books here or just enjoy a drink on a sunny day.

6. The Royal Mile

12 Fringe street performance 4 CAP

For those looking to soak up the unique atmosphere of Edinburgh in full festival swing, the historic Royal Mile should be a first stop. Already packed with attractions and sights of great historical significance, the August Festivals take it over with a key attraction being the international street performers during the Fringe. Visit the International Festival’s striking gothic HQ at The Hub and take in puppet shows, circus acts and street theatre all on your way there.

7. Festival Theatre

Festival Theatre

In the south of the city, Festival Theatre occupies Edinburgh’s longest continuous theatre site and has hosted countless renowned drama, dance and music productions in its history. Audiences can expect to head here for some headline events from the International, Film and Jazz & Blues Festivals.

8. Edinburgh College of Art

Firestation

A highly respected training ground for Scotland’s top artists, Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) in the city’s historic Old Town is worth a visit all year round. In years gone by its also played host to some of the most thought-provoking multimedia exhibitions on offer at the International, Film and Art Festivals. An important space for experimentation and innovation, ECA should be on any adventurous festival-goer’s list.

9. Scottish Storytelling Centre

Storytelling Centre

Back on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s Scottish Storytelling Centre provides a permanent space for exhibitions, workshops and performances as well as historic attractions such as the neighbouring John Knox House. As the Storytelling Festival’s hub it welcomes families and visitors throughout October for a celebration of storytelling traditions, and has also hosted much-loved events at the Fringe and Children’s Festivals.

10. Arthur's Seat 

Skyline at dusk CAP

Arthur's Seat is the main peak of the group of hills in Edinburgh, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as 'a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design'. It has a connection in one way or another with all of our festivals, particularly as a viewpoint for watching the end of year fireworks during Edinburgh's Hogmanay.

That's ten, but there's so many more. Why not discover them for yourself? Edinburgh’s Festivals take place throughout the year at venues across the city.

Plan your trip now to enjoy the best of what they have to offer!

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