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Edinburgh - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events

Facts for the traveller for Edinburgh

Victoria Street

When to Go to Edinburgh

The climate in Edinburgh is best from May to September, but whenever you go, you're likely to see both sun and rain. In summer, daylight hours are long, and the evenings seem endless. In winter, it's cold and daylight hours are short, but with so much going on, Edinburgh is still worth visiting. Note that the city becomes impossibly crowded during the main festival period - August to early September, and Hogmanay (around 1 January) - so make reservations well ahead of time if you plan to visit then.

Edinburgh Events

They don't call Edinburgh the festival city for nothing. The peak party time of the year is August, when the sun warms into something worthy of the name, the city explodes with arts events, and the streets fill with a cosmopolitan melange of visitors high on a heady mix of culture and single malt. If you're hardy enough to brave the Scottish winter, you'll be rewarded by the fullest-bore New Year celebrations you're ever likely to see.

The highlight of Scotland's calendar is the Edinburgh International Festival, held every August. Since its inception in 1947, it has grown into one of the world's largest and most important arts festivals. The Fringe Festival began unofficially at the same time and grew in tandem to become the largest such event in the world. Over 500 amateur and professional groups present every possible kind of avant-garde performance in venues all around the city. Also held in the same period is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which takes place on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. The show is an extravaganza of daredevil displays, regimental posturing and swirling bagpipes and ends with a single piper playing a lament on the battlefields. Hogmanay, the Scottish celebration of the New Year, is another major fixture in Edinburgh's festival calendar with concerts, street parties and a massive bonfire on Calton Hill. There's also the frenzy of other international fests: Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival in July-August, Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, Edinburgh International Film Festival and a whole lot more in between.

Public Holidays
1 Jan - New Year's Day
2 Jan - New Year Bank Holiday
2nd Mon in Apr - Spring Bank Holiday
1st Mon in May - May Day Holiday
3rd Mon in May - Victoria Day
3rd Monday in Sep - Autumn Holiday
25 Dec - Christmas Day
26 Dec - Boxing Day

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