Top tips for the Edinburgh festivals!

Edinburgh is a world-renowned festival city. As Edinburgh hosts half a million visitors to Scotland’s capital this summer, visitors can experience five festivals in one city: Edinburgh Art Festival, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh International Book Festival. With so many fantastic events it's important to create a plan for your holiday.

Here are our top tips for visiting Edinburgh during the festivals.

VisitScotland/Kenny Lam


Tickets for shows featuring popular comedians and famous authors will sell out in advance, so if you haven’t bought them yet, book those tickets now! Check timings of shows to ensure that you arrive in plenty of time. Many performances across the festivals offer first come, first served seat allocation as well as strict admission with no late arrivals allowed. 

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a true highlight in Edinburgh each August. The precision-led performances are thrilling with spectacular fireworks displays at each of the Saturday late evening (10.30pm) performances. For those wishing to buy tickets at the last minute, check with the box office, even on the day of the event, as return tickets may be available.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Travelling around the city

Walking and public transport are the best methods of travel around the city centre. Download the Lothian Buses Bus & Tram app to help find the best route to your destination. With frequent services, bus tickets are priced at £1.70 for a single and £4 for a day ticket. To save time download the m-ticket app to purchase and use tickets via your phone.

Avoid spending money

Don’t forget to schedule in some time to soak up the atmosphere. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe offers 100s of free shows, from theatre to magic.

The International Book Festival has a wonderful selection of events as well as a programme called ‘Unbound’ which offers free, unique and unconventional book events, 11 - 26 August, in the evening.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Experience the vibrancy of the Festival by going to the Royal Mile where street performers and musicians promote their shows during August. This is a great way to sample a show before booking your tickets, with the booking office itself on the Royal Mile (180 High Street).

For more tips read our how to visit Edinburgh on a budget blog.

Performers on the Royal Mile ©Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Away from the festivals

As Edinburgh’s population doubles over the festival, if you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, we’d recommend a visit to Leith (a short journey from the city centre) to see Edinburgh’s waterfront. With cafés, coffee shops and Michelin-starred restaurants such as Tom Kitchin's The Kitchin, it is the perfect place to relax from the buzz of the centre. Leith is home to Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction, The Royal Yacht Britannia, a must-see when in Edinburgh. Explore the five decks and learn about life for the Royal Family and the former Royal Yachtsmen who served on board.

Family aboard Britannia

Image copyright:
VisitScotland/Kenny Lam
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Edinburgh International Book Festival