View of Salisbury Crags from window

Things to do in Edinburgh

Make the most of your stay in Edinburgh

All the events below are within easy walking distance of all our Edinburgh holiday rentals. So, if you can bear to leave the most luxurious self catering accommodation in Edinburgh, take a stroll to take in some of the best entertainment in the world!


August – The Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe

Everyone has heard of ‘the Festival’ which takes over the capital in August and when the city buzzes like no other time of the year. The Festival comprises several separate elements – TV, film, literature, art, jazz and politics all have their own festival. Possibly the most well known and enjoyed part of the Festival is the break away ‘Fringe’, which always takes place in the first three weeks in August. In 2014, the Fringe boasted nearly 50,000 performances in nearly 300 venues across the city. The Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and has something for everyone – comedy, dance, theatre, circus acts, cabaret, kids’ shows, music of all kinds from musicals to opera, exhibitions, events, physical theatre, exhibitions and other events. The performers include big celebrity names in the entertainment world to unknown artists taking to the platform for the first time. The pavements are also awash with street performances, particularly around the Royal Mile and Grassmarket, so you can just soak up the atmosphere as you wander around. Flyers will be pressed up on you as walk around the city as performers promote their shows but for a full list, check out www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk or pick up the Fringe festival brochure or a copy of The List (www.list.co.uk) or the Fringe festival brochure.

Hot spots for Fringe favourites – all of which are just a stroll from Edinburgh Hideaways properties – include the Traverse Theatre and the Hub; the former General Assembly church; The Pleasance; and the Underbelly at Bristo Square, to name but a few. More highbrow performances, such as dance, theatre and opera, take place at the opulent Edinburgh Festival Theatre. There’s also free sample performances on Fringe Sunday, a Festival garden party attracting around 15,000 visitors to the Meadows on the Fringe’s second weekend.

September – Doors Open Day

Obviously our guests at Edinburgh Hideaways luxury holiday rentals are a cultured bunch! You therefore might enjoy the annual activities pulled together each year by heritage body the Cockburn Association. It collaborates with organisations and individuals to allow public access to buildings that few people usually get to see – everything from private homes which have been designed by leading architects to lighthouses. And it’s all free. Check out www.cockburnassociation.org.uk for the schedule.

October 27-31 – Samhuinn (Hallowe’en)

Edinburgh is known for being one of the most haunted places in the world so ghost tours are big business at any time of year. Whilst of course you are guaranteed to get the best night’s sleep at any of our luxury holiday rentals in Edinburgh with no ghosts and ghouls to disturb you, you can still throw yourself in to the spirit of things at Hallowe’en with events throughout the city. A couple of examples of events are below:

Samhuinn, on 31st October, symbolises the end of the Celtic summer, six months after Beltane. You can enjoy a flamboyant display from the Beltane Fire Society – with music, folkdance, theatre and of course fire to celebrate the pagan origins of this time of year. The troops take to the streets in the Old Town, travelling from the Castle and down the Royal Mile to Parliament Square. Check out www.beltanefiresociety.wordpress.com for details.

Mary King’s Close and Mercat Tours: A ghost tour during your stay in Edinburgh is a definite on the ‘must do’ list and even more so at this time of year. The ghost tours which take place in the underground spaces and streets of the city are an ideal way to throw yourself in to the myths and legends of Edinburgh’s spiritual underworld! The Real Mary King’s Close usually hosts special Hallowe’en tours, with costumed actors telling blood-curdling tales about what is believed to be the most haunted place in the UK. Check out (www.realmarykingsclose.com) with tours starting just off the High Street in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Mercat Tours, one of the biggest providers of spooky tales, always have a range of tours over Halloween when they promise that the spirits are scarier, the guides more demonic and the vaults are spookier than ever. They invite you to join them, if you dare, with tours beginning at St Giles Cathedral (www.mercattours.com)

October/November – Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair

For our cultured Edinburgh Hideaways’ guests, you might enjoy five days of discussions and readings, focusing on radical and independent publishing houses, all taking part in Leith. For more, contact www.word-power.co.uk.

November 5 – Bonfire Night

St. Andrew’s Day commemorates Scotland’s patron saint. In 2007, the Scottish Parliament made themselves very popular for declaring St Andrew’s Day as a public holiday and that is good enough reason to raise a glass and say ‘slange var’ at the various events across the city. In Edinburgh, St. Andrew’s Day marks the start of the Winter Festivals season, which includes a range of events in the run up to the ‘biggie’ of Christmas and Hogmanay. St Andrew’s Day celebrations usually feature free activities in Edinburgh on whatever is the nearest weekend. For example, Edinburgh Castle, normally a paid attraction, is free to enter.

November 30 – St Andrew’s Day

People in Edinburgh love to celebrate and Christmas is the biggest excuse we have, along with Hogmanay of course! The city-wide Festival includes the Winter Wonderland in Princes Street Gardens, featuring fairground rides, crafts market, skating rink, the ‘Star Flyer’, the Edinburgh Wheel (a giant Ferris wheel) and other rides. It’s also grown to include some fantastic rides and activities in St Andrew’s Square. Wandering around the fare with a glass of hot mulled wine is a great way to get in to the festive spirit. Check out www.edinburghchristmas.com.

Late November – early January – Christmas in the Capital

People in Edinburgh love to celebrate and Christmas is the biggest excuse we have, along with Hogmanay of course! The city-wide Festival includes the Winter Wonderland in Princes Street Gardens, complete with fairground rides, crafts market, skating rink, the ‘Star Flyer’, the Edinburgh Wheel (a giant Ferris wheel) and other rides. It’s also grown to include some fantastic rides and activities in St Andrew’s Square. Check out www.edinburghchristmas.com.

December 29 – January 1 – Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

There’s a reason Edinburgh Hideaways holiday rentals get booked up well in advance at New Year. No-one celebrates the end of a year and the beginning of a new one like the Scots and particularly so in the capital city. Edinburgh’s modern ‘Hogmanay’ celebration is a four-day festival of fun, featuring a torchlight procession, bands in Princes Street Gardens, spectacular fireworks, street performances, and even, for those who have not overdone it or want to sober up fast, a mini-triathlon on New Year’s Day itself. The party in the streets on the evening of 31 December means that the city centre is cordoned off to traffic in readiness of the big party which is attended by up to 100,000 ticket-holders. See www.edinburghshogmanay.org for details on how to book tickets. There are also family friendly events throughout the city, including ceilidhs (Scottish dancing which is great fun for all). For example, check out ww.edinburghshogmanay.org for an evening of whisky, food, music and dancing. It can be a nightmare trying to get a taxi home after the New Year celebrations but thankfully Edinburgh Hideaways luxury holiday rentals are all within easy staggering distance home.

January 22-25 – Burns Night

Our national bard, Robbie Burns, only achieved such an illustrious title after his short life (1759-96) had ended but his reputation as our finest poet lives on. ‘Burns Suppers’ have been a highlight on the cold winter Scottish evenings for over 200 years in his memory. These dinners – run by restaurateurs, community groups, Burns’ societies and churches – usually take place on, or around, his birthday (25th January). The traditional format is always the same – an ‘Address to a Haggis’, a hearty meal (consisting of our national dish of haggis, along with neeps and tatties (potatoes and mashed swede), all washed down with a dram or two of whisky. There’s no one big ‘Burns’ Supper’ event but you will find themed Burns Suppers, sometimes complete with a ceilidh (Scottish dancing), in restaurants and hotels throughout the city. Keep an eye out for what’s on and where at www.visitscotland.com.


Published on: August 20, 2014  -  Filed under: Entertainment in Edinburgh