4 April 2024

Explore Edinburgh’s spring festivals

actors from The Unexpected Gift- at Edinburgh International Children's Festival
©Andrew Perry

The unmissable festivals coming to Edinburgh this spring.

While Edinburgh is known for its world famous summer festivals, springtime can be just as an exciting time to visit, with a host of unique festival experiences to entertain all ages.

From the wonders of science to traditional music, food and drink to outdoor cinema, take a look at some of the fantastic festivals coming to Scotland’s capital this spring.

Edinburgh Science Festival

Lady watching Biomimcry programme on the planetarium screen at Dynamic Earth
Girl doing experiment at Edinburgh Science Festival in the City Art Centre
People looking through microscopes at the Edinburgh Science Festival

The world’s first and largest celebration of science, Edinburgh Science Festival has a bumper programme of workshops, shows, talks, exhibitions and nights out, all with a fun and interesting scientific twist that aim to educate and inspire.

This year’s festival has over 150 events (many of which are free to attend) in iconic venues throughout the city, including the City Art Centre, Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh Zoo, National Museum of Scotland and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The theme of this year’s festival is Shaping the Future, showcasing some of the cutting-edge science and technology that can help us create a future that is sustainable and accessible for all.

The Edinburgh Science Festival runs from 30 March to 14 April 2024.

Edinburgh International Harp Festival

Harpists at Edinburgh International Harp Festival

Established in 1982, Edinburgh International Harp Festival is the UK’s premier harping event.

Over the course of its 5 day programme, which takes at the city’s George Watson’s College, there are a variety of concerts, courses and workshops to choose from. The popular family ceilidh returns and the festival’s concerts will feature an eclectic mix of UK and international genres.

The Edinburgh International Harp Festival takes place from 05 to 09 April 2024.

Beltane Fire Festival

Beltane Fire Society on steps of the National Monument.
©Gordon Veitch for Beltane Fire Society.

Wave goodbye to winter with a bang with Beltane Fire Festival.

A modern reinterpretation of an ancient Iron Age Celtic ritual celebrating the first signs of summer, acrobatics, drummers, dancers, clowns, musicians, actors and puppeteers all take to Calton Hill in an awe-inspiring cavalcade of dancing, music and theatre.

Be part of Beltane Fire Festival on 30 April 2024.

Edinburgh Tradfest

Clare Sands playing at Tradfest
©Claire Loughran

Showcasing the very best in traditional arts, Edinburgh Tradfest will feature an unmissable line-up of music, talks, adult and children’s music workshops, ceilidhs, films and storytelling.

Running for 11 days and showcasing more than 100 artists and musicians, performances will take place at various city venues, including the Queen’s Hall, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, the Edinburgh Folk Club and the Traverse.

Edinburgh Tradfest runs from 03 to 13 May 2024.

Edinburgh Seafood Festival

Ka Pao Edinburgh

Taking place within the St James Quarter, Edinburgh Seafood Festival brings the best of Scotland’s seafood to the capital.

A real treat for seafood lovers, the 3 day event will feature cooking demonstrations, pop-up markets, exclusive dishes and menus.

Catch Edinburgh Seafood Festival between 04 and 06 May 2024.

Edinburgh International Children’s Festival

School children from Forthview primary celebrate the launch of Edinburgh International Children’s Festival 2024 at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh
Actors from Trashedy on stage at Edinburgh International Children's Festival
Univers at Edinburgh International Children's Festival

A festival for the young, and the young at heart, Edinburgh International Children’s Festival celebrates the best of children’s theatre and dance from around the world.

Presenting a mix of circus, dance, storytelling and theatre and with an emphasis on striking visual productions, the programme aims to inspire and engage children, from toddlers to teenagers.

This year’s festival will feature 14 productions that represent work from 9 different countries. It will explore topics such as the environmental crisis, consumerism, war and racial discrimination, all in a way that make them accessible to children.

Experience Edinburgh International Children’s Festival between 25 May and 02 June 2024.

Edinburgh Marathon Festival

Edinburgh Marathon
©Paul J Roberts

Established in 2003, Edinburgh Marathon Festival is the biggest running festival in Scotland.

Taking place over 2 days, there are 9 different events and distances to choose from, including junior events. Participants can enjoy backdrops of some of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks and scenic routes, all while raising vital funds for their chosen charity.

Join Edinburgh Marathon Festival on 25 and 26 May 2024.

Cymera Festival

Gus Harris Reid reading from his book at the Cymera Festival
©Chris Scott

If you’ve got a passion for science fiction, fantasy and horror writing, don’t miss Cymera Festival.

Each year it welcomes around 80 authors from around the world, with guests able to enjoy a variety of panels, plays, writing workshops, quizzes and more.

As in past years, the 2024 programme will include both in-person and online events.

Cymera Festival takes place from 31 May to 02 June 2024.

Square Cinema

Square cinema audience and big screen in St Andrews Square

Fancy relaxing in one Edinburgh’s pretty public gardens while taking-in a cinematic classic, all for free? If so, Square Cinema will be music to your ears.

The popular event returns with 3 days of family favourites and big-screen blockbusters. All you need to do is pack up your picnic blanket.

Keep an eye on their website for the full film line-up.

Join Square Cinema between 14 and 16 June 2024.

Leith Festival

Leith Festival began in 1907 as a means to raise money for the then Leith Hospital and is still going strong today.

Held over 9 nine days, it is a vibrant display of colour, sound, culture and pageantry, all of which celebrate the multicultural diversity of this buzzing neighbourhood.

The festival kicks off with Gala Day, which hosts art and food stalls, music and performances on Leith Links. There’s also a local community pageant and a variety of events to enjoy, before celebrations are rounded-off with the community tattoo, which combines traditional and contemporary performances, alongside the pipes and drums.Enjoy Leith Festival from 08 to 16 June 2024.

The Great British Food Festival

Showcasing amazing food and drink, demonstrations and entertainment, The Great British Food Festival returns to Dalkeith Country Park this June.

Enjoy chef demonstrations, a BBQ stage, foraging walks, a craft and gift marquee, artisan market and a range of fabulous food and drink for all tastes – all while enjoying a mix of live music throughout the day.

The festival will be sure to be fun for the whole family with a range of kids activities on offer, including a mini zoo, circus skills workshops, bouncy castle and fairground rides. Plus, it’s also dog friendly.

The Great British Food Festival will be at Dalkeith Country Park from 15 to 16 June 2024.

Edinburgh Canal Festival

A raft being paddled along the Union Canal during the Edinburgh Canal Festival

Enjoy a day of fun on the water at the Edinburgh Canal Festival.

A celebration of Edinburgh’s canal and its community, the festival will have a variety of free activities and entertainment between the Lochrin Basin and Harrison Park.

2024 will also see the return of the popular Raft Race, with booking now open for raft participants.

Take part in the Edinburgh Canal Festival on 15 June 2024.

And that’s not all! Looking ahead to the summer months, there’s a huge selection of festivals to enjoy. Hidden Door will be back with a bumper programme of music, art, theatre, dance and spoken word. The Royal Highland Show celebrates the best of Scotland’s food, farming and rural life, and Edinburgh Food Festival will be turning George Square Gardens into foodie heaven with a selection of mouth-watering street food stalls. Not to mention, the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo,  Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival to look forward to.

Keep up to date with all the top events and festivals coming to Scotland’s capital city.


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