Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Top 10 reasons to visit Edinburgh this summer

16 June 2016

Looking for beautiful scenery, outdoor day trips and unmissable cultural events this summer? Edinburgh has it all! From internationally renowned events to family friendly day trips to the picturesque seasides, our city is the perfect place to spend the summer months.

It's quite hard to limit the reasons to visit Edinburgh this summer to just 10 favorites, however we have tried to norrow it down for you! So, make the most of the longer summer days and try out some of the suggestions below:

Catch a show at the Edinburgh Festivals

Edinburgh Fringe Colourful Performers Cc Edinburgh Festival Fringe

[Image credit: Edinburgh Festival Fringe]

To many, the one thing that comes to mind when thinking of summer in Edinburgh is the Festivals. In July and August the city will showcase the best in art and culture from around the world, from the eclectic Edinburgh Fringe Festival to the swinging Jazz and Blues Festival.

During these months the city will be transformed into a hub of artistry and creativity, where any street, pub or theatre can be turned into a performance venue. If catching a show isn't on your agenda, but would like to soak up the electric atmosphere, then make sure you hit up one of the pop-up bars or food stalls where you can also enjoy music on till late.

Discover more on all the festivals in Edinburgh>

Get your barbecue sizzling in the Meadows

Meadows Barbeque Cc Antonis Lamnatos

[Image credit: Antonis Lamnatos]

Everyone loves a good get-together over a sizzling BBQ, so when the sun is shining in Edinburgh residents excitedly rush off to purchase mini barbecues and head along to the nearest green space, which in a lot of cases is the Meadows. This is the ideal place to relax in the sun, listen to some tunes, meet friends and to grill your beefburger or halloumi to your heart's content - just don't forget to keep our green spaces clean and take your rubbish with you when you leave. 

Read up on our ultimate summers day in Edinburgh>

Look for a sun trap at one of the beer gardens

Peartree Garden Cr Website

A warm summer afternoon spent in a pub beer garden is a true delight for many Edinburgh locals. From the buzzing Pear Tree to the hidden gem Royal Dick at Summerhall, there's plenty to choose from all over Edinburgh. So grab your sunglasses and get yourself down to one of Edinburgh's best beer gardens. Just make sure you get there early to claim your table - as everyone else will have exactly the same idea!

Take a look at other brilliant beer gardens in Edinburgh>

Grab your bucket and spade and hit the seaside 

Portobello Beach Cc Alljengi

[Image credit: Alljengi]

You really don't have to travel far to get some 'vitamin sea' in Edinburgh. Long summer days mean there is plenty of time to escape the city and head to our beautiful sandy beaches. There are plenty to choose from, including Portobello beach which is just a mile or two from the city centre, to the picturesque Cramond beach located near Queensferry.

Top tip: When the tide is out at Cramond beach you can walk along the causeway over to Cramond Island. Just make sure you check the board at the start of the causeway to ensure you have enough time to walk out and return safely. 

Check out all the seaside spots in Edinburgh>

Flock to Ingliston for The Royal Highland Show

RHS Highland Cow Parade

Scotland's largest celebration of food, farming and rural life rolls into Edinburgh this summer. Don't miss The Royal Highland Show from 23-26 June as it returns to the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston. Expect to find the country’s largest food festival, hosting over 100 food and drink producers at Scotland’s Larder Live! along with Talks & Tastings and a Cookery Theatre, producers from Scotland and further afield get a unique chance to talk to consumers and the farmers who have provided the ingredients which helped get their product to market. Grab your ticket this summer and experience the best of farming, food, shopping and rural life all in one event. 

Get pampered at Spa in the City

Spa In The City 2016

[Image Credit: Essential Edinburgh - Dominic Martin Photography]

Reginite your passion for all things health, beauty and wellness by heading along to Spa in the City, taking place from the 2nd to 3rd July at St Andrew Square. Come along and get tips and advice on the latest summer health and beauty trends, or simply pop along for a great day out with your friends and family. If it's a facemask, massage, or even a yoga class you're looking for, then make sure you don't miss this blissful event! 

Cycle around Holyrood Park

Bike At Holyrood 500X210

See Edinburgh from another perspective this summer by grabbing your bike and hitting Holyrood Park for a cycle, where you can admire the surrounding hilly landscapes right in the city centre.

We recommend doing a loop around the park by starting your cycle at Holyrood Park's Queen Drive and following the cycle path to St.Margaret's Loch, where you can stop off for a quick break and admire the swans and ducks in the loch. Continue on your route by following the Mountcastle Road all the way back to the west side of Holyrood Park. Make sure you round off your big ride by rewarding yourself at Edinburgh's oldest pub, The Sheep Heid Inn, for a refreshing beer!       

See other outdoor acitvities in Edinburgh> 

Take an open top bus tour

Bus Tour Edinburgh City Sightseeing

You may already live in Edinburgh, but have you ever jumped on one of the many open-bus tours that passes you everyday? If you have a spare hour and the weather is kind then this is your perfect chance to explore the city. You will be able to see the very best of Edinburgh’s New Town, Old Town, Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Our Dynamic Earth and Calton Hill. Taking a bus tour not only gives your legs a rest, but also gives you a unique perspective of Edinburgh from the top deck.

Find out more on bus and other tours in Edinburgh here>

Catch the Stockbridge Duck Race 

Duck Race

[Image by Jordan Moffat]

Go quacking mad for rubber ducks at the Stockbridge Duck Race, and all for a good cause. The annual, charity-raising competition will take place on the 3rd July at Stockbridge's Bridge where you can expect to see thousands of rubber ducks being poured into the Water of Leith. Join in the fun by purchasing a duck from some of the local stores and see if yours will make it first to the finish line first! 

Take advantage of the summer sales

Shopping With Orange Dress

The summer sales are a key shopping event, and many Edinburgh stores will be saving their biggest reductions for you to indulge in! If you'd like to avoid the high street then there are plently of little boutique hidden gem stores for you to browse. From the West End favourites like Just G Boutique and Sam Brown Boutique to Jane Davidson and Kakao by K on Thistle Street - there's bound to be a bargain for you to snap up! 

Discover more shopping hotspots in Edinburgh>

Enjoy summer 2016 with all that the city has to offer. This is Edinburgh - The Official Guide to Edinburgh.