11 January 2024

New in Edinburgh this year

Drone image of Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh West End

New things to see, do and experience in Edinburgh in 2024.

Produced in collaboration with The Skinny.

From festivals to food and drink, new sights to iconic architecture, here are just a few of the reasons to visit Edinburgh this year. There are many reasons to take a trip to Edinburgh this year (we’re about to take you through some of them!) but the ease of getting here is near the top of the list. Frequent trains from Glasgow, Aberdeen, Manchester, Newcastle and London drop you in the heart of the action – the Old Town, New Town, Princes Street and the St James Quarter all right in front of you. It’s also handy for many of the city’s newest places to stay – take your pick from the ‘much-discussed’ W Edinburgh at the St James Quarter and 100 Princes Street, a new five-star hotel in the former clubhouse of the Royal Overseas Legion, or stroll to Holyrood for a relaxing stay at The Scott, the freshly-revamped boutique hotel set in an 18th century mansion house run by The University of Edinburgh.

Speaking of strolling, if you’re able to do so, walking is one of the best ways to explore Edinburgh, offering the chance to take in the city and check out the new places and changed spaces since your last visit. You’ll also see how Edinburgh’s neighbourhoods fit together.

Here’s an example. You’re in the Old Town, walking down the Royal Mile; don’t stop at the Scottish Parliament and Palace of Holyroodhouse. Keep going and you’ll hit Abbeyhill, with its thriving artist community and great independent bars, cafes and restaurants. Two great new additions are Fortitude Coffee’s latest outpost on Abbey Mount and Montrose, the delightful new restaurant from the team behind the Michelin-starred Timberyard. Carry on down the hill and you’re onto Easter Road – check out Kitchen Table from the team at much-loved bakery Twelve Triangles. Beyond that it’s the always-exciting Leith with countless bars and cafes to check out, and its own array of festivals and events, including the Biscuit Factory Beverage Festival in April and the Leith Comedy Festival in October.

From floating hotels to shopping for all occasions, discover more about the neighbourhood of Leith

Don’t fancy walking? Edinburgh’s public transport is excellent. The bus network extends across the city, and Edinburgh Trams now run all the way from the Airport to Newhaven; a combination of bus and tram will get you to Lost Shore, Europe’s largest surfing destination opening at Ratho in September. For now, take the tram to Ocean Terminal and the Port of Leith Distillery – inside its jet-black structure you’ll find tours of the incredible vertical whisky distillery, an excellent bar and restaurant, and unmatched views across the waterfront to Granton. Keep that view in mind as you hop onto the bus; in 20 minutes, you’ll be at the new home of pioneering street food venue The Pitt, opening on the shorefront this spring.

The Port of Leith Distillery isn’t the only place in Edinburgh where you can take a fresh look at the national drink. The Scotch Whisky Experience on Castlehill reopened in December after a multi-million pound refurb; take an immersive trip through the sights, smells and tastes of Scotch. If gin’s your thing, look out for the new distillery and visitor centre from Edinburgh Gin, opening for tours and experiences at their new home on Market Street this summer.

Edinburgh’s world-renowned August festivals return in 2024 – the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe kick off on 02 August, with the Edinburgh Art Festival following a week later. When the Edinburgh International Book Festival returns, it will be in a brand-new location with a very special history. The Edinburgh Futures Institute is based on the site of the former Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, with a huge revamp turning the category-A listed building into a state-of-the-art space for teaching and collaboration. You’ll have the chance to look around when the Book Festival opens on 10 August.

From books to visual art, music to performance, Edinburgh has a festival to delight all interests. Discover more about Edinburgh’s Festivals.

National Galleries Scotland’s venues offer the double whammy of exciting new exhibitions and spectacular architecture. At the neo-classical Royal Scottish Academy, The Printmaker’s Art | Rembrandt to Rego charts the development of printmaking with work by Tracey Emin, Bridget Riley, Chris Ofili and Hokusai. The exhibition runs until 25 Feb; while you’re here, pop into The National next door. A refurb has breathed new life into the William Playfair designed building, adding a new space showcasing Scottish art and artists. At The Modern in the West End, a new retrospective of Edinburgh sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi runs until April – a leafy stroll down the Water of Leith from Stockbridge will take you right to the galleries. In the category of ‘iconic piece of Edinburgh architecture with a nice walk to get there’, they don’t come better than St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile. The Cathedral celebrates its 900th anniversary this year, while the city itself celebrates its 900th in 2024 – a programme of community events are expected to mark the occasion.

Edinburgh’s theatres also provide the chance to experience a piece of the city’s heritage while taking in something new. The 2024 programme at the 95-year-old Edinburgh Playhouse includes visits from The Wizard of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Six. There has been a theatre on the site of the Festival Theatre in the Southside since 1830, and the venue hosts Broadway mega-hit Hamilton this spring. February sees the return of Manipulate Festival; experience cutting-edge theatre, film and puppetry at a host of iconic venues including the former veterinary school at Summerhall in the Southside, and Fruitmarket, the contemporary art gallery next door to Waverley Train Station – an ideal place to start your visit.

Explore what’s on in Edinburgh

Ballet dancers performing Swan Lake.

From exhibitions and theatre, to walking trails and festivals, find out more about upcoming events coming to Scotland’s capital. Explore what’s on in Edinburgh

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