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Edinburgh International Festival

Today, a diverse programme of 11 official festivals make up the world-famous Edinburgh Festivals. But the Edinburgh International Festival is where it all started. This was the very first Edinburgh Festival, founded in 1947. A celebration of the world’s greatest performing arts, which takes place every August throughout the city’s major theatres and concert halls.

History of Edinburgh International Festival

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the UK was looking for ways to move forward and heal as a nation. And so the idea of cultural festival was born, which would “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit”.

In 1947, the Edinburgh Festival of Music and Drama, which later became the Edinburgh International Festival or EIF, took place for the very first time. The finest acts were invited to perform in a series of concerts, which focused mainly on classical music. The festival has returned to Edinburgh every summer since, growing into the spectacular event we enjoy today, and inspiring many more festivals in turn.  

Home of the EIF

Since 1999, the Edinburgh International Festival has based itself at The Hub on the Royal Mile. You can’t miss this imposing 19th century church building with towering Gothic spire, previously known as the Tolbooth Church, which sits just below Edinburgh Castle. During the festival, this is the main ticket office, information point and sometimes also a performance venue.

Venues and Performances

Performances are hosted in major venues across the city, such as Edinburgh Playhouse, Festival Theatre, King’s Theatre, Royal Lyceum, Usher Hall and Queen’s Hall.

The programme of live shows and concerts features classical and contemporary music, dance, opera and theatre. And also large-scale outdoor events, including the annual Fireworks Concert with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Edinburgh Festival Tickets and Accommodation

Our central hotel is perfectly located for the Edinburgh festivals. So, take a look at our special offers and book your festival accommodation today. Then view the full EIF Programme online and book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

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