In the summertime, the city of Edinburgh is the best place to experience festivals of all kinds. The city is completely overtaken by a cultural storm, full of colours, sounds and impressive performances. Summer is also a wonderful time to appreciate the best of the city: architecture, cafés, beaches and gardens are even more enjoyable in longer, lighter and warmer days.

To help you navigate your way through this jungle of activities, here is our selection of 10 things to do to enjoy summer in Edinburgh.

1. Spend time at the Meadows

Summer in the Meadows II

It is known to be one of the biggest grassy, wide-open spaces in Edinburgh. Centrally located, it welcomes joggers, sports teams, acrobats and sunbathers and offers facilities such as tennis courts, playgrounds, a putting green and cafés. The Meadows is also the perfect place to share a barbecue with friends and is home to the Meadows Festival.

2. Ride with the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling

2015 Edinburgh Festival of Cycling Launch

One of the favourite Scottish pastimes has his own festival which takes place over 10 days in June in Edinburgh. Based on cycling culture, you can find activities for everyone from performances to cultural events. Check out the programme here.

3. Experience magic with the Edinburgh International Magic Festival

Keelan Leyser and Charlotte Marie Gala Show

It’s only right that such an inspiring city for magic tricks is home to one of the best magic festivals! The most amazing magicians from all over the world come to entertain you with their extraordinary and mysterious illusions from the 1st to 8th July. And if you want to become the next Harry Potter, a magic school workshop will be held to teach you all the magic secrets. Find out more here!

5. Crowdsurf at T in the Park

crowd scenes from t in the park 2011 scotland

Enjoy a music festival held out in the open air of Strathallan Castle grounds from the 8th to the 10th July, not so far from Edinburgh. The festival welcomes the biggest names in pop, rock and dance music such as David Guetta, The Libertines, The Prodigy and many more. It’s sure to get the crowd jumping! Check out the complete line up here.

5. Get carried away with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

St Giles Cathedral

Edinburgh hosts the largest arts festival in the world! During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe thousands of various weird, original and colourful performances flock to the city from all around the world. Don’t miss this incredible and unique atmosphere which enlivens Edinburgh over 3 weeks in August.

6. Feel the rhythm with The Royal Military Tattoo

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is one of the rare opportunities to see the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International Military bands in an accurate and traditional display. Here you can feel the rhythm of massed pipes and drums on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.

7. Read with the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charlotte Square 01

In the hustle and bustle of all the Edinburgh festivals, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is an oasis of peacefulness in the heart of summer. Check out the programme and make sure you don’t miss your favourite author.

8. Get swinging with the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

Jazz and Blues Festival

The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival swings in every part of the city: parks, churches, clubs… there are over 140 concerts to choose from!

9. Be in awe at The Edinburgh International Festival finale fireworks


Finish the Edinburgh International Festival with a bang and don’t miss the largest annual live music pyrotechnic display in the world. You can watch this astonishing performance from several different parts of Edinburgh: Princes Street, Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill and Inverleith Park to name a few.

10. Have a rest at the Beach

Portobello beach

After all these exiting festivals, what better way to relax than sunbathing or having a picnic on one of the plenty of wonderful beaches around Edinburgh: Portobello, Thorntonloch, Whitesands Bay, Belhaven, Seacliff, Broadsands, Gullane, Pease Bay… Find out more about each beach here