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Unmissable Edinburgh Festivals 2020

We are about to begin a whole new year in Edinburgh! So, let’s take a look at some of the must-see Edinburgh festivals of 2020. One for every month of the year!

January: Burn’s Night

Haggis, neeps and tatties served with whisky

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.

February: Six Nations Rugby

Rugby ball in a Rugby Stadium

From long-loved poets to poetry in motion. February heralds in the annual clash of the rugby titans. On Saturday 1 February, the Six Nations rugby tournament kicks off. Our first home game is the famous Calcutta Cup against England on Saturday 8 February. Hotel accommodation fills up early, so if you’re planning on taking in a match at Murryfield, book early to score big.

March: Edinburgh Festival of Ireland

Man and woman in pub wearing green on St Patrick's Day

A celebration of all things Irish, taking place around St Patrick’s Day in March. The Edinburgh Festival of Ireland is always a good craic. Including family days out, comedy concerts and dancing. There is also an annual St Patrick’s Day Ball, a glamorous black-tie event and real Irish shindig!

April: Beltane Fire Festival

Silhouette of man in front of bonfire

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.

May: Whisky Month

Dram of whisky with ice

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. Here, you can sample different whiskies from around the world and participate in tasting sessions and experiences.

June: Edinburgh International Film Festival

Close up of red carpet rope at a VIP event

In the star-studded month of June, behold all the glitz and glamour of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. With premieres, screenings, events interviews with our favourite actors, Hollywood is coming to Edinburgh in June.

July: Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival

Musicians on stage at a Jazz Festival

If June’s Film Festival sounds like music to your ears, just wait until 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.

August: Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe

Fireworks from Edinburgh Castle

When it comes to unmissable Edinburgh events in 2020, the hilarity of Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe is no laughing matter. 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. Today the Fringe is more than just another Edinburgh festival – it is a right of passage. 

In addition to the many Fringe artists and performers lining the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, August is affectionately dubbed the unofficial month of festivals in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo also puts on a spectacular piping display against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. While the Edinburgh International Book Festival leaves nothing to the imagination.

September: Doors Open Days

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh

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.

October: Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf shadow puppets

Revel in the art of live storytelling, with the annual Scottish International Storytelling Festival. There are a wide range of events to take part in during this 12-day festival, for children, families and adults alike. 

November: Edinburgh’s Christmas

Colourful lights at the Christmas Market in Edinburgh

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. 

December: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Friends celebrating New Year's with a champagne toast

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is the ideal way to wrap up Edinburgh events in 2020. Since Christmas wasn’t officially recognised as a holiday in Scotland until 1958, the 3-day Hogmanay Festival has long been the prevailing Scottish winter festival and the biggest event in our festive calendar. With ceilidhs, concerts, parties and, of course, spectacular midnight fireworks! 

With so many Edinburgh Festivals in 2020, it’s shaping up to be a great year!

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