Edinburgh is one of the most famous cities in the UK. With hundreds of years of history and a vibrant cultural heart, millions visit the city every year to take in the sights. As well as its attraction to visitors, Edinburgh is also home to the latest Cactus school. So, you can soak up the Edinburgh Festivals while you soak up a new language. We have taken a look at some of the top festivals that take place in this Scottish city. This will help you find the best places to unwind when not on your language course with Cactus.
Edinburgh Film Festival
The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) holds the title of being the longest continually run film festival in the world! Starting in 1947, EIFF has hosted many premieres during its time. The festival is a highlight for all cinephiles in the UK and Europe.
This Edinburgh festival hosts films from all genres. But, with a focus on documentary, experimental, short, and world cinema. As well as this, retrospectives play a big part of the program. EIFF highlights rebellious voices in American independent cinema.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place every year in August at a range of cinemas across the city.
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
When you think of jazz and blues music you might automatically think of New Orleans or New York. You’d be forgiven for Edinburgh not being in your initial list of cities with a strong jazz following, but you would be wrong!
Since its start in 1978, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival it’s a major festival and takes place in July. Thousands of people have flocked year in and year out to discover new and existing jazz and blues artists from across the world. This is definitely in the running for one the most relaxing and chilled out of the Edinburgh Festivals. And for those who love their jazz and blues music, it is one of the most respected and attended in all of Europe!
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Edinburgh International Book Festival
For those who love to lose themselves in a great novel. Or, to discover more about fascinating subjects in an autobiography. Or even have a passion for poetry. Then Edinburgh International Book Festival is the event for you!
Run alongside the Edinburgh Festival itself, the Edinburgh Book Festival celebrates everything to do with the printed word. From author talks and signings to discussion panels and retrospectives. This is definitely the festival for those who love to read. As well as public events, the festival prides itself on its educational programs. A programme for local schools as it develops the passion for books and reading to a younger audience.
Over its time, the festival has seen an impressive list of authors grace its stages. From Matt Osman and Carol Ann Duffy to Malorie Blackman and James Acaster. Including the well-reported and now legendary no show of Hunter S Thompson. This is definitely one for those who love all things literary.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe has always been the naughty little sibling of the Edinburgh Festival. Established in 1947 as an alternative to its older sibling, Fringe offers some of the more diverse acts taking place in August in the city. Famous for its comedy shows, Fringe also features acts from the world of dance, music, cabaret, and other performing arts.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe is utilised by a large number of stand-up comedians as an opportunity to try out new routines before touring. It is the perfect place to snap up a ticket to see a work-in-progress show at a fraction of the price and in a more intimate venue.
A large number of artists got their big breaks at Edinburgh Fringe. This is thanks to the word-of-mouth buzz which flies around the festival. Powerhouses of comedy such as Stephen Fry and Rowan Atkinson all kickstarted their careers at the festival. Or, Robin Williams and New Zealand folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. Then they moved on to become world-renowned.
Connect Festival Edinburgh
Connect Music Festival can be described as the Edinburgh Festival’s equivalent of Glastonbury. Although, a much more scaled-down version. With headlining music acts, dance performances, spoken word, and a focus on wellbeing. The festival takes place at the Royal Highland Center, just outside the city.
The festival started in 2007, but stopped after the 2008 edition only. It was then reignited in 2022 at its new location. Yet, over these four editions, it has seen big names in the world of music grace its main stage. Acts such as Beastie Boys, IDLES, Bjork, and Primal Scream have all taken main billing at the event. The 2023 edition saw over 20,000 people attending.
Other Festivals Around Edinburgh
These are only some of the festivals which take place in Edinburgh throughout the year. There a dozens of different events taking place curated for almost any audience every month. For those who love their food, there is the ever-popular Foodies Festival. Perfect for those who enjoy trying new world cuisine.
There is the Edinburgh International Science Festival for all the science fans out there. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an amazing spectacle for those who love their pageantry. And for those who prefer body tattoos, there is the Edinburgh Tattoo Convention. This offers attendees the chance to get ‘inked’ by their favourite artists. No matter what your passion or interest there is a festival in Edinburgh for you.
One of the most popular and rewarding things to do in Edinburgh, outside the festivals, is to take the opportunity to learn a new language. Cactus offers 10-week courses in the heart of Edinburgh for 12 different languages and all abilities throughout the year. Our group learning experience is built on proven methodology. It guarantees you a progressive and rewarding language learning experience. Once you have chosen the language you wish to learn, then take our quick, level test to find out which course would be the best for you.