Our Favourite Edinburgh Festival Venues

Group of people drinking in festival gardens

It's that time of year when we start planning what to see at the Edinburgh Festival.

With many hundreds of Edinburgh venues across five summer festivals, there's a lot to choose from. So, where do the locals go to soak up the festival atmosphere and see a few shows? Let's find out ...

George Square Gardens

This gorgeous city centre garden is barely used during the rest of the year, but it comes alive every August for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A real hub of activity wth magical lighting, striking bar areas and fantastic street food, George Square Gardens is chilled in the day (great with kids), then lively and sociable at night. The atmospheric Spiegeltent Palais du Variété and Piccolo Tent are both based here. Definitely this local's favourite!

The Pleasance Courtyard

The Scotsman called this the 'centre of the cultural universe' and it certainly has to be on everyone's list of destinations during the Fringe Festival. Good for star-spotting, The Pleasance is a cobbled courtyard, usually part of the university but in summer the Fringe takes over. Everyone will come here at some point during the festival and you are almost certain to spot a celebrity or two. There's also a good Kid Zone with plenty of activities for the wee ones.


Another favourite Fringe venue. Where else in the world do you see a giant inflatable upside-down purple cow? And, get to venture inside for a show? The Udderbelly (part of Underbelly) is a purpose built, unique venue with brilliant atmosphere. Plenty of seating but still with that intimate small venue feel.

The Hub

The Hub is the home of the Edinburgh International Festival. You can't miss this amazing Gothic tower, close to Edinburgh Castle on the Royal Mile. Not only is it a key venue for several shows and events throughout the festival, you can also grab a coffee in the Hub Cafe, peruse the vast festival programme and book your event tickets at the Box Office.

Princes Street Gardens

On a sunny day, head to Princes Street Gardens, where there is plenty of space for picnics and outdoor fun. There is often live music and performances on at the Ross Theatre bandstand within the gardens. And on the last day of the International Festival, Princes Street Gardens and the Ross Theatre host a sensational Fireworks Concert, where a stunning fireworks display is set to live classical music. It's the best way to conclude the summer festival season!

Charlotte Square Gardens

The place to be for all book lovers in the city. Charlotte Square Gardens is the main venue for the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It's free to enter the tented village where you can browse the book shops and enjoy the atmosphere. There is also a wide programme of events to get involved with, including meet the author, book signings, talks and workshops.

Edinburgh Castle Espalande

Every August, Edinburgh Castle's Forecourt becomes the venue for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. An event which showcases traditional music and performances from troupes all over the world. There is no better backdrop for this spectacular military display than our ancient and majestic castle.

Accommodation near Edinburgh Festival Venues

It's important to book your Edinburgh Festival accommodation early, as our properties fill up fast in August! Take a look at our city centre self-catering accommodation, close to the Edinburgh Festival venues, and give us a shout if we can help you plan your summer trip.

Local guides from local experts. Stay with us and enjoy a true Edinburgh experience.

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