Edinburgh’s Summer Festivals

27 July 2022

August is here and with it arrives a cavalcade of glorious festivals, earning Edinburgh its title as the world's leading festival city.

From art to literature, comedy to dance, film to performance, however you like your culture, if you’re looking for entertainment, Edinburgh in August is the place to be.

Read on to discover the low-down on this year's festivities and discover the excitement that awaits......

The Edinburgh Art Festival (28 July to 28 August)

Edinburgh Art Festival Credit Julie Howden(Image Credit: Julie Howden)

Celebrating its 18th anniversary, Edinburgh Art Festival returns with 35 exhibitions across the city.

From photography to carnival-inspired performance art, the 2022 programme features leading international and UK artists alongside exciting new talent, exhibitions of historic figures, and a special programme of newly commissioned artworks that responds to public and historic sites in the city.

Key things not to miss include a range of special commissions to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Union Canal; the work of Tracey Emin at Jupiter Artland and the largest exhibition of her work in Scotland - Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life at The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two). Taking place at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Art Late features an evening of exhibitions, live performance, artists and curators in conversation, while Platform: 2022 showcases the work of emerging visual artists working in Scotland.


Edinburgh International Festival (5 to 28 August)

The Queens Hall Mihaela Bodlovic

Bringing the world’s best music, theatre, opera & dance together, Edinburgh International Festival is the world’s leading performing arts festival, featuring the finest performers from the worlds of dance, opera, music and theatre.

In 2022 this renowned festival celebrates its 75th anniversary - 75 years of unique collaborations, world premieres, critically acclaimed productions and more - all of which have captivated, thrilled and entertained worldwide audiences.

Highlights of this year’s programme include Liz Lochhead’s modern twist on the Greek tragedy Medea and Alan Cumming exploring the true character of Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns, in the much anticipated, Burn. The renowned Philadelphia Orchestra will be taking up residence across four concerts and The Akram Khan company will be retelling a magical dance of Rudyard Kipling’s family classic, Jungle Book Reimagined.

A highlight of this year’s opera offerings will be Rusalka, the romantic tale inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale,"The Little Mermaid", while if indie rock is more your thing, Arab Strap will be performing at Leith Theatre


Edinburgh Festival Fringe (5 to 29 August)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Credit David Montieth Hodge 2019(Image Credit David Montieth Hodge)

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an explosion of creative energy. Artists and performers from around the world take to stages across the city to present around 3000 shows for every taste, including theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music and the spoken word.

Taking to stages around the city this year are musical comedy duo Flo & Joan with their brand new show, Sweet Release; a reimaging of the classic play, Hamlet with Ian McKellen and the musical might of Mark Billingham, Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre, Luca Veste, Doug Johnstone and Stuart Neville – collectively known as The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers.

And for the younger members of the family there’s a multitude of entertaining and engaging events to choose from, such as The Adventures of Bo Peep for 2 to 6-year-olds; The Funny Punny Magic Show, which is presented in partnership with Edinburgh Deaf Festival and a charming adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny.


The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (5 to 27 August)

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2019 Finale 1

After a 2 year absence, the much-loved Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo makes a welcome return to Edinburgh Castle Esplanade to delight and mesmerise guests with a cultural and musical showcase.

Featuring 800+ worldwide performers and exploring the theme of Voices, this year’s show will be a celebration of expression.

Embracing military tradition with exciting new innovations and contemporary touches, audiences can expect to hear the legendary sound of the massed pipes & drums echo around the Esplanade, supported by pipes & drums, dancers, fiddlers and musicians from UK and worldwide military regiments.

Joining this year’s incredible line-up will be over 100 performers from the Banda Monumental de Mexico, bringing an explosion of energetic, colourful carnival energy. The renowned Highland Divas will be making their Tattoo debut with the eclectic repertoire of folk music from Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand. While making their 7th Tattoo appearance, the New Zealand Army Band will once again be entertaining audiences with an energetic performance that’s sure to dazzle and amaze.



Edinburgh International Film Festival (12 to 20 August)

Edinburgh Film Festival Prince Ahmed At Filmhouse C Chris Scott(Image Credit: (Image Credit David Montieth Hodge))

Taking place at many of the city’s iconic and exciting spaces, including Filmhouse Cinema, Cameo Picturehouse, Everyman Edinburgh, St James Quarter and Vue Edinburgh Omni, Edinburgh International Film Festival’s rich and varied programme will feature major features, short films, experimental cinema & documentary films.

One of 2022’s theme’s will also pay homage to the 1972 Festival, which presented the first global film event entirely dedicated to the cinematic achievements of female directors.

Having premiered as part of International Critics’ Week during this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this year’s EIFF opens with the critically acclaimed feature debut, Aftersun from Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells. The closing gala has been announced as Kogonada’s critically acclaimed After Yang starring Colin Farrell.

And if you prefer your cinema viewing to be an outdoor affair, don’t miss Film Fest in the City which returns to St Andrew Square Gardens from 12 to 14 August with a free programme of family favourites and cinematic classics.  


Edinburgh International Book Festival (13 to 29 August)

Edinburgh International Book Festival Village 6

Now well settled in its new home at The University's Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh International Book Festival returns with an exciting programme celebrating the written word, literature & ideas.

Featuring leading and emerging international, British and Scottish authors and thinkers, the extensive programme includes discussions, performances and interactive events, as well as the traditional interview-style conversations and readings. And the topics and issues are wide and varied – featuring social, ethical and political as well as literary and cultural.

Highlights of this year’s programme include Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa and author of the hugely-popular "Outlander" series, Diana Gabaldon. Irvine Welsh talks about his latest crime novel, "The Long Knives", while from the world of music, Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross, talks about the influence of music in his life.

For young bookworms there’s an exciting choice of events to choose from, including talks by bestselling author-illustrator Cressida Cowell and "Gruffalo" author, Julia Donaldson. Michael Morpurgo makes a welcome return with "Carnival of Animals", a musical event for the over fives.


From festivals to exhibitions, trails to concerts, Edinburgh is packed to the rafters with events that’ll keep all the family amused. Check out more upcoming events in our What’s On guide