It’s widely accepted that you don't travel to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, for the weather (rain, and more rain). Throughout the year, this vibrant city is awash with new cool restaurants and bars. But if you like culture in all of its various guises, the month of August will definitely stimulate and satisfy the most curious of minds with its acclaimed International Arts Festival, which turns 70 this year.
For years, Edinburgh has managed to perfectly embrace and celebrate its beautiful un-spoilt history whilst reveling in the best of today’s cuisine, nightlife and general joie de vivre. But in August it bursts into overdrive.
Edinburgh’s Arts festival, or collection of festivals and fringe events, is recognized as the largest of its kind in the world and has played host to the globe’s greatest stars, from Maria Callas, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Marlene Dietrich all the way to comedian John Oliver and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Hungarian and Polish shadow puppetry your things? You will probably have four shows to choose from. Fancy seeing the world’s greatest orchestras and ballet companies premiere their new work? They will be here.
Edinburgh is your place with more than 2,000 shows a day for the whole month. The city’s population doubles in those 31 days, so prepare, in every sense of the word. Book your hotels and flights straight away and scan the event guides cover to cover.
Whilst you are taking a “wee” (short) break from experiencing culture, do ask for Macsweens Haggis in the famous Jenners department store’s food hall on Princes Street or call in for coffee at The Elephant House where J K Rowling first penned her Harry Potter stories. If you are over 18, drink Paolozzi beer – named after the original pioneer of Pop Art and famed Scots/Italian artist Eduardo Paolozzi. Check out the Fish and Chips at L’Alba D’Oro and if you’re longing for some Scottish tweed, visit Stewart and Chrsitie, in business since 1720.
And if it is raining, make a point to remember that you are in the UK’s greenest city… and it didn't gain that accolade all by itself.