Robert Burns was the poet who used Scottish dialect at a time when this was frowned upon in genteel society. Now he is the much loved National Bard, and Scotsmen everywhere celebrate his life and work on the anniversary of his birth in 1759. Traditionally this takes the form of a Burns' Night supper, an evening meal where Burn's poetry ('To a Haggis', 'Tam O'Shanter' etc) is recited and haggis, neeps (mashed swede), and tatties (mashed potatoes) are consumed.Date: 25 January 2020 - 25 January 2020
Venue: Various venues.
Six Nations Rugby
International rugby teams from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England, France, and Italy meet each spring to compete in the Six Nations tournament. Even if you don’t bag a ticket, the atmosphere in Edinburgh during match weekends is electric, especially when Scotland and England are battling to win the Calcutta Cup. Two or three Scotland games take place in the city each year, attracting hordes of supporters both to Murrayfield stadium and most of the city’s pubs.Date: 08 February 2020 - 08 March 2020
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium
Rat Race The Mighty Deerstalker
Known as the toughest off-road run in the UK, 'Rat Race-The Mighty Deerstalker' requires participants to plough through mud filled trenches, scramble up scree slopes, and navigate the night - usually dressed in kilts, tweed, or other "appropriate" athletic apparel. After crossing the finish line, runners can stumble over to the legendary Beerstalker party tent and limber up for a bit of crowd surfing.Date: 14 March 2020 - 14 March 2020
Venue: Traquair House
Edinburgh International Science Festival
To disprove the notion that science is not fun, this two-week festival of science covers most things from the big bang to body language in an enjoyable format. Past topics have included new powers to control human behaviour, why 70% of Americans believe in angels, and a taste test to spot the difference between basic and premium wine. The event is for all levels and age groups, including plenty of hands-on stuff for kids.Date: 04 April 2020 - 19 April 2020
Venue: Harbourside House
Beltane Fire Festival
Before the Romans divided the seasons into a calendar of 12 months, the Celtic year was marked by four Quarter Days: Beltane, Lughnasadh ('Luna-sa'), Samhuinn ('Sa-wain') and Imbolc. The arrival of each season was reason for a great celebration and Beltane - which marks the coming of spring in a Celtic calendar - was the biggest of the four celebrations. The Beltane Fire Society celebrates each of the four seasons, but especially Beltane, which is marked with a fire-and-costume spectacular evoking the mystic rites of ancient Britons. It is a fairly serious performance but greatly entertaining to watch, with drummers and dancers in a fire-lit procession around Calton hill, led by the May Queen and her white-clad warrior women. Including a fabulous cast of lurid and flamboyant pagan devils, sprites, and goddesses all spiced up by a cacophony of drums and blazing pyrotechnics - this is devilishly different from your average festival. It's a popular event that each year attracts upwards of 8,500 visitors.Date: 30 April 2020 - 30 April 2020
Venue: Calton Hill.
Leith, Edinburgh's port on the banks of the Firth of Forth, puts on a big show with a parade, walks, talks, exhibitions, sports, drama and theatre, music and dancing, literature and poetry. The scope is varied and so are the venues, from church halls and theatres to pubs and car parks. This is essentially a community festival made possible by Leithers themselves. The organisers are determined to make sure that the emerging Leith is one that encompasses both old and new. After all, they say, 'being a Leither is not a postal address - it's a state of mind'.Date: 13 June 2020 - 21 June 2020
Venue: Various venues in Leith.
Ticket prices vary
Royal Highland Show
Beef cattle, dairy cattle, heavy native horses and ponies, light-legged horses and ponies, and goats are among a cast of over 5,000 livestock at Scotland's premier agricultural show - one that attracts more than 180,000 visitors over four days. The livestock competitions take place in a vast covered area, but there are many stalls and stands on this extensive site at the edge of Edinburgh. Competitions are numerous and varied, from show jumping to farriery, and from honey, cheese, and butter to sheep shearing. There is a Scottish food exhibition, a giant flower display, and numerous arts and crafts.Date: 18 June 2020 - 21 June 2020
Venue: Royal Highland Centre.
Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival
This is the longest-running jazz festival in the country, with a wide range of jazz musicians perform here yearly. Top artists have previously included Dr John, Sugar Blue, Bruce Katz, Humphrey Lyttleton, Larry Adler, and Courtney Pine. As well as indoor concerts, there are free outdoor events, including the highly popular Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket on the first Saturday.Date: 17 July 2020 - 26 July 2020
Venue: Various indoor and outdoor venues in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh International Film Festival
This dynamic festival has been running since 1947, showcasing both new talent and established directors. The programme is packed with British and international feature films, documentaries, star-studded premieres, glitzy gala screenings and interviews with leading actors and directors. ‘Under the Stars’ is a free outdoor cinema created for the festival in St Andrew Square showing a mix of classic Hollywood blockbusters and kids’ films.Date: 17 July 2020 - 26 July 2020
Venue: Various venues.
Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh's showpiece cultural event brings a rich programme of classical music, theatre, opera and dance to the city. From its inception in 1947, the festival inspired people to put on shows of their own outwith the official festival, and soon these grew into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Since then half a dozen or so more festivals have grown up around it in August and early September, and collectively these are often known as the 'Edinburgh Festival'.Date: 07 August 2020 - 31 August 2020
Venue: Various venues in Edinburgh
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Against the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, performers from across the globe provide an abundance of entertainment on the floodlit esplanade of the city's top attraction. The action-packed programme features exciting contributions from the Massed Bands of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, highland dancing, the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and the stirring music of the world-famous Massed Pipes and Drums.Date: 07 August 2020 - 29 August 2020
Venue: Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The largest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe has over the years even outgrown its parent event, the Edinburgh International Festival, which runs in tandem. The Fringe has expanded to immense proportions, and with many organised and impromptu events, it often gives unknown artists their first break. Organisers sell well over a million tickets each year for exhibitions, theatre, music and, the largest category of all, comedy acts.Date: 07 August 2020 - 31 August 2020
Venue: Various venues in central Edinburgh
Edinburgh International Book Festival
The city's vibrant literary festival attracts authors from Scotland and around the world along with many visitors. Hundreds of writers and thinkers participate in over 500 events, from 'Meet the author' sessions to animated discussions and debates on global affairs. The excellent children's programme presents top children's authors and illustrators, featuring storytelling, writing workshops and book signings.Date: 15 August 2020 - 31 August 2020
Venue: Charlotte Square Gardens.
Scotland celebrates the New Year like nowhere else and Edinburgh's own Hogmanay is billed as the biggest and best in the world. Over three days there is a relentless succession of fun events, including a torchlit procession, concert in the Gardens with top groups, outdoor ceilidh (The Keilidh), and street party. And of course, there’s a spectacular Seven Hills firework display on the stroke of midnight, 31 December on the heights of Edinburgh Castle and six other prominent positions across the city.Date: 31 December 2020 - 01 January 2021
Venue: Various streets and venues in Edinburgh
The Loony Dook
For a quarter of a century, brave swimmers have been bringing in the New Year with a bracing dip in the Forth. Participants join a grand parade along South Queensferry’s High Street before plunging into chilly water beneath the historic Forth Bridge. The event raises enormous sums for charity, attracts large crowds of amused onlookers, and is now officially part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations. Register in advance from late September.Date: 01 January 2021 - 01 January 2021
Venue: South Queensferry