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

03 July 2019

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

It's quite hard to limit the reasons to visit Edinburgh this summer to just 10 favourites, but here are just some of the highlights to expect over the next couple of months: 

1. Feel the beat of the Edinburgh Festival Carnival

Edinburgh Festival Carnival Credit Jazz And Blues Fest

[Image credit: Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival]

For many, 13-14 July will be the start of Edinburgh's 2019 summer festival season. To celebrate, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival is set to throw a huge party with free open-air events across the city centre including the Mardis Gras and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival.

The Edinburgh Festival Carnival is one of the biggest highlights on the Capital's annual calendar. From 1.30pm the streets come alive with hundreds of performers donning colourful and flamboyant costumes, and the rousing beat of samba drums fill the air. This is one experience you do not want to miss - just make sure you get there early for a good viewing spot! 

Find out more >

2. Get your barbecue sizzling in the Meadows

Meadows Barbeque Cc 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>

3. Taste the best of Scotland at this year's bumper Edinburgh Food Festival 

Edinburgh Food Festival Contini

We hope you're feeling hungry. The Edinburgh Food Festival returns to Assembly George Square Gardens for a bumper 10 day event in 2019. Over 20 top local food and drink producers will be on the menu at this free event, and there will be demonstrations from five of the city's top chefs, including Carina Contini (pictured). 

Find out more >

4. Make Your Fringe this August

Fringe Royal Mile Crowds

With over 59,000 performances across 323 venues, Edinburgh will once again host the world's largest arts festival this summer. Not sure what to see? Check out the Inspiration Machine, an interactive arcade-style machine located on the Mound throughout August that will randomly display videos from Fringe artists at the push of a button. Or have a go at the FringeMaker game, with special challenges and rewards for uncovering hidden top hats in each of the over 300 venues taking part in this year's festival. 

Find out more >

5. Experience the magic of Hollywood at Tynecastle with LA Philharmonic Orchestra


The Edinburgh International Festival are bringing a touch of Hollywood to Edinburgh for their special opening event at Tynecastle Park Stadium. In this epic family friendly concert, The LA Philharmonic Orchestra will perform music from Star WarsHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneE.T. and many more. Tickets for this event are free, and the next allocation will be released on Friday 26 July. Get in there early and secure your spot! 

Find out more about the Edinburgh International Festival >

6. Get lost in a good book

Edinburgh International Book Festival Bookshop Cr Book Festival

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is set to return to the glorious Charlotte Square Gardens this summer. In an era of contradiction and division, the 2019 festival invites authors and audiences to find new stories to give meaning to the world.

Writers from all over the world will descend on Edinburgh for the most international gathering in the Festival’s history to participate in a series of conversations, debates, workshops and performances to champion their stories. Entrance to the gardens are free, so pop along and soak up the atmophere of this very special festival. 

Find out more >

7. Look for a sun trap at one of the beer gardens


[Image: Cold Town House]

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>

8. 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>

9. Cycle around Holyrood Park

Bike At Holyrood 500X210

See Edinburgh from another perspective this summer by grabbing a Just Eat 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> 

10. Take an open top bus tour

Bright Bus Collage

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. Bright Bus Tours have just launched in Edinburgh, offering locals and visitors alike a new perspective on Scotland's capital. 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>

Enjoy summer 2019 with all that the city has to offer. This is Edinburgh - The Official Guide to Edinburgh.