Unmissable Edinburgh Festivals and Events 2023

Festivals and events in Edinburgh not to miss!

We’re soon beginning a whole new year in Edinburgh! So, let’s take a look at some of the must-see Edinburgh festivals and events of 2023. One for every month of the year!

January: Burn’s Night

Burn’s Night is an annual celebration of the life and works of Scotland’s National Poet, Robert Burns. Every year, on 25th January, we Scots celebrate our favourite bard with a Burns Supper tribute of haggis, neeps and tatties. With whisky, bagpipes and the traditional address to the haggis, Burn’s Night is the perfect way to close off all the winter festivities.

Haggis, neeps, tatties and whisky

February: Six Nations Rugby

From long-loved poets to poetry in motion. February heralds the annual clash of the rugby titans. On Saturday 4th February, the Six Nations rugby tournament kicks off. Our first home game at Murrayfield Stadium is against Wales on 11th February. Hotel accommodation fills up early, so if you’re planning on taking in a match at Murrayfield, book a room early to score big.

A rugby ball on the ground with a rugby players hand on it in a lit up stadium

March: Edinburgh International Improv Festival

The Edinburgh International Improv Festival is back from 2nd to 5th March 2023. This festival, held at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, celebrates the art of improvisation. Taking place over three days, there’ll be workshops, shows and jams celebrating the very best of improv.

April: Beltane Fire Festival

As spring gets into full swing, the annual Beltane Fire Festival sets Calton Hill cacophony of drums and pyrotechnics to mark the coming of spring in the Celtic calendar. This is an ancient ritual that has been re-invented for the modern day, held on the night of 30th April every year.

Silhouette of man in front of bonfire

May: Whisky Month

Throughout May, Scotland honours its most famous expert – Whisky! Venues across the country take part with events and festivals. Here in Edinburgh, you can celebrate by attending the Whisky Stramash at Surgeon’s Hall (usually in May, date TBC). Here, you can sample different whiskies from around the world and participate in tasting sessions and experiences.

Dram of whisky with ice

June: Royal Highland Show

Celebrating all things farming, food and rural life, the Royal Highland Show returns to the Ingliston showground from 22nd to 25th June 2023. With a packed programme of livestock shows, exhibitions, live music, entertainment and events.

Highland Cow at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh

July: Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival

From 14th to 23rd July, the longest-running jazz festival in the country gets underway. With fabulous performances, free outdoor events and a highly popular Mardi Gras, the Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival is sure to hit all the right notes.

Musicians on stage at a Jazz Festival

August: Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe

When it comes to unmissable Edinburgh events in 2022, Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe is the biggest. A spin-off to the Edinburgh International Festival, which runs at the same time, the Fringe has grown into the largest arts festival in the world.

Princes Street Gardens Edinburgh in the summer, with the Festival Wheel and Scott Monument

September: Doors Open Days

On the last weekend of September, Edinburgh buildings which are usually closed to the public, or charge an entry free, open their doors for free. Doors Open Days Weekend is a unique chance to discover some of the city’s hidden gems.

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh

October: Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Revel in the art of live storytelling, with the annual Scottish International Storytelling Festival. There’s a wide range of events to take part in for all ages, during this 12-day festival.

Shadow puppets

November: Edinburgh’s Christmas

From mid-November, Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations get underway. So, get into the festive spirit with markets, food and drink, sparkling lights, fairground attractions, shows and more. 

Colourful lights at the Christmas Market in Edinburgh

December: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is the ideal way to wrap up Edinburgh events in 2023. Since Christmas wasn’t officially recognised as a holiday in Scotland until 1958, Hogmanay has long been the prevailing Scottish winter festival and the biggest event in our festive calendar. The three-day festival attractions revellers from all over the world, with a programme of ceilidhs, concerts, a street party and, of course, spectacular midnight fireworks! 

Fireworks over Edinburgh Castle

With so many Edinburgh festivals and events in 2023, it’s shaping up to be a great year!