Things to do in Edinburgh over the Summer Period

Stumped for what to do over the summer? Looking for inspiration? Look no further – here, you can find a list of venues and activities located within the city of Edinburgh. As well as a range of events taking place here over the summer. Whether you are seeking out live entertainment, cultural experiences, or simply to wind down in nature following a long exam season, Edinburgh has a range of exciting events on during the summer period. There are also many breathtaking attractions and outdoor hill walks if you wish to immerse yourself in the natural wonders that the city has to offer.


Festivals and Entertainment over the Summer…

Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2nd of August – 26th of August 2024)

The iconic three-week Edinburgh Fringe Festival started shortly after the Second World War when eight theatre groups were uninvited to perform live at the Edinburgh International Festival. Many performers were influenced by this movement and started to follow in their footsteps until the Festival Fringe Society eventually emerged in 1958.

The Fringe Festival now occurs every August in Edinburgh and welcomes huge numbers of artists and performers worldwide. Venues, along with bars and food stalls, are often scattered around the city centre as well. When it comes to genres of each live performance, we are spoiled for choice – you can see many live acts playing out through the city streets including circus performers, physical and musical theatre, comedy acts, opera, dance acts, children’s shows, and many, many more. Some of them are even free of charge!

You can stay up to date with what acts are on and when they are playing by following the Edinburgh Fringe Festival social media channels, checking out the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website or downloading the Fringe app.

Walks and Nature in Edinburgh …

Arthurs Seat and Calton Hill

Located within Holyrood Park and a short walk from the Royal Mile, Arthur’s Seat is a popular peak.  A hill walk for activities such as hiking and sightseeing. It is the highest point of Holyrood Park and an extinct ancient volcano which sits at 251m above sea level. And provides vast, panoramic, and breathtaking views of the cityscapes of Edinburgh. It is relatively easy to climb for avid hillwalkers and is known to take approximately one to two hours to reach the top.

If you are looking for a gentler hill walk which also has excellent, panoramic views of the city. Calton Hill is also a very short walk from Edinburgh city centre and hosts our National Monument. As well as the Collective Art Gallery which is a contemporary art centre situated on top of Calton Hill.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Don’t fancy hill walking? Located one mile from the city centre is also the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh. It offers 72 acres of magnificent landscape and scenery as well as being home to over 10,000 different plant species. Visitors can immerse themselves in the peace and tranquillity of the park scenery. And being presented with the opportunity to learn more about the fascinating origins and history of the park itself, which was founded by two doctors researching the use of plants for remedial purposes in 1670. Some of the most popular features of the gardens include the Chinese Hillside, the Queen Mother’s memorial garden, the Giant Redwood trees in the Woodland Garden and the globally recognised Rock Garden.

Albeit the glasshouses, you can visit the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh free of charge. Nevertheless, you may still be tempted to spend some money in the Botanics Shop which offers a varied selection of souvenirs, gifts, artwork and plants. You can find more information and check for any upcoming events being held there through the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh webpage.

Edinburgh International Book Festival (10th of August – 25th of August 2024)

As can be expected, our library team were going to find an opportunity to promote a book-related event here! Since 1983, visitors and book lovers have been presented with the chance to meet and engage with some of the greatest and most well-recognised authors, as well as thinkers, performers, and artists at Edinburgh’s International Book Festival. It hosts a variation of innovative and exciting events, some of which include open on-stage discussions and conversations, workshops, think tanks and masterclasses encouraging creativity and skills development. Many authors will sign copies of their books for you after each event as well.

As is the case with many festivals, food and drink is available. As well as relaxation spaces such as the indoor café on Lauriston Place. There is also an on-site bookshop should any of the authors you engage with at the festival gauge your interest! Every year, the festival also seeks out short-term staff over the summer to assist with visitors and the running of the festival. Some of the perks of the job include discounted books and entry to events. A booklover’s dream job!

The Edinburgh International Book Festival will take place at Edinburgh Futures Institute this year. More information can be found on their webpage: Edinburgh International Book Festival (


Other cool attractions to check out…


  • Edinburgh Castle
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Dynamic Earth
  • Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • St Cecilias Concert Room and Music Museum
  • The Scott Monument
  • Edinburgh Dungeon


By Rachel Downie

We will be updating the blog regularly over the summer with fun and interesting articles, stay tuned!