Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Edinburgh Art Festival

Visit the Edinburgh International Art Festival for a fantastic showcase of exhibitions and events.

[Charles Avery, Edinburgh Art Festival 2015]

27 July - 27 August 2017

The Edinburgh Art Festival is a showcase of varied and vivacious exhibitions and events. In a perfect fusion, it unites the city’s leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces featuring established and emerging artists. In 2014, it attracted nearly 300,000 attendees, making it the UK's largest annual festival of visual art. Best of all, the vast majority of the festival is free to attend.

About the Edinburgh Art Festival

Edinburgh Art Festival Hanne Darboven

[Hanne Darboven, Edinburgh Art Festival 2015]

Visual art has always been a large part of Edinburgh's cultural scene, and the Edinburgh Art Festival was added to the city's packed festival schedule in 2004. Since then, it has grown to include around 45 exhibitions at 30 venues, attracting 300,000 art lovers. 

The works on display always cover a huge spectrum of artists, ranging from up and coming Scottish talent, to Turner Prize winners and some of the most important works from the 20th century and other prominent historical movements. 

The Edinburgh Art Festival also strives to support grassroots projects, making a point every year to commission new work by Scottish artists, with a particular focus on pieces made to be displayed outside the typical art gallery environment.

Inspiring venues

Edinburgh Art Festival Regent Bridge Cr Stuart Armitt

[Image credit: Stuart Armitt courtesy of Edinburgh Art Festival]

Edinburgh Art Festival venues are dotted all around the city centre, encompassing a huge variety of spaces. From the grand surroundings of the National Museum of Scotland to the more intimate environment of Stills gallery on Cockburn Street, the Edinburgh Art Festival is a great reason to explore locations in the city that you may never have had the chance to explore before. 

Be sure to check the Festival's website to see an updated list of this year's venues. 

Top festival highlights

Edinburgh Art Festival Marvin Gaye Chetwynd

[Marvyn Gaye Chetwynd, Edinburgh Art Festival 2015]

The festival is a great opportunity to get under the skin of the works on display. In addition to the exhibitions, there are plenty of artist talks, performances and guided tours to help visitors appreciate the work in even more depth. 

Other popular events in recent years include Art Late, which is a programme of specially organised late openings and events including performances, exciting live music, artist talks and tours. It's a unique opportunity to enjoy some of the exhibitions "after hours", so be sure to keep an eye out for these events in this year's programme! 

The Edinburgh Art Festival's Festival Detour has also proved popular in recent years. These intimate performances offer alternative views on visual art from prominent icons from the worlds of comedy, poetry, music and beyond. Personalities that have taken part in the past include Phil Jupitus, Josie Long and Scott Hutchison from 'Frightened Rabbit'. 

The large programme of events has something for everyone, from the visual art enthusiast to those who want to find out more about the vibrant art scene in Edinburgh. When you can explore most of the work in the festival for free, it's definitely worth discovering one of Edinburgh's most fascinating festivals. 

Discover more Edinburgh Festivals >