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Edinburgh’s sensational summer

Think summer in Edinburgh is all about August? Think again. There are exciting events happening all over the city before the Festival comes to town.

Diego Urcola's Trumpet, photo credit: Jimmy Baikovicious

Poet Hugh MacDiarmid described Edinburgh as ‘a mad god’s dream’. We don’t know about god, but we reckon Edinburgh is the stuff of dreams for most visitors. Even before you factor in August’s internationally famous festivals, there’s something to tempt every taste.

If you love…music

You won’t want to miss jazz legends George Benson and Jools Holland as they headline the 2015 Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Benson is one of the true jazz greats, playing with the likes of Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder, while Jools Holland is a champion of new music and as much a part of any Hogmanay celebration as a nip of the ‘water of life’. This year’s festival runs from July 17–26. Or you could head to one of the spectacular summer concerts taking place on the Castle Esplanade from 18–25 July. The Vamps are the headline act, performing along with Lionel Richie and Boyzone. A winner if you feel like recapturing the 90s!

If you love…art

Photography is big news this summer in Edinburgh. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery stages a fascinating exhibition featuring 100 images of Picasso taken by celebrated photographer and model Lee Miller, alongside some of Picasso’s own portraits. The National Museum of Scotland kicks off an exploration of the history of photography with its special exhibition ‘Photography: A Victorian Sensation’, which starts on 19 June. Meanwhile, Retina, the Scottish Photography Festival runs from 10–30 July at venues across the city.

If you love…exploration

Get to know Edinburgh as its best-loved corners stage their own celebrations. Once a separate town but now part of Edinburgh with its own distinct maritime identity, Leith is a bohemian favourite. Check out the Leith Festival in June, a nine-day showcase of music, theatre and dance. Or, on the University of Edinburgh’s own doorstep is the indie music favourite Edinburgh Meadows Festival, a weekend of fun in a picturesque location on the weekend of 6-7 June. Finally, if you want to discover more about the engineering marvel that helped connect Edinburgh to the rest of Scotland, visit the National Library of Scotland in the first three weeks of June for its Treasures Display, commemorating the iconic Forth Bridge.


2015 marks 175 years of the ever-popular Royal Highland Show, which brings together the best of Scottish livestock and high-quality produce, alongside competitions, performances and culinary demonstrations. As the show itself proclaims, it’s ‘moo-hoosive’! The 2015 Show takes place on 18-21 June but book early to avoid disappointment. Finally, Savour on 5 July celebrates the best of artisan making, from craft beer to independent restaurants. Not to be missed.