In the capital, festival season is upon us. With thousands of theatre, comedy and other performing arts shows on the doorstep of those living in Edinburgh, it’s a fantastic time of year. And let’s not forget about all the fantastic goings-on in the rest of the Lothians, Fife and the Borders, where there are cultural events, festivals and outdoor activities on offer. Here’s a guide to what’s going in east central Scotland during August.

© Chris Scott / Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society


The festival city comes into its own in August, with the combined efforts of the Fringe, International Festival, Book and Art festivals, as well as the Royal Military Tattoo, transforming the Scottish city into the cultural capital of the world for one colourful month of the year. With thousands of events to choose from, alongside a sudden plethora of pop-up bars and restaurants, it’s a brilliant time of year to be in the city.

Fringe by the sea

East Lothian

If you love the Fringe but find it is a little too big and busy for you in the capital, then you’re in luck as North Berwick hosts a smaller seaside version in August. This year, Fringe by the Sea runs from 3rd–12th August and highlights of this year’s line-up include writer and news presenter Sally Magnusson, comedian Mark Steel and musicians Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham. Plus, there’s a great range of other performances and talks on in the pretty coastal town, which also features a lovely selection of cafes and restaurants.


The area of Midlothian is an ideal spot for country lovers, with the Pentland Hills Regional Park offering superb hillwalking, running and cycling routes. The area is also home to Loganlea Reservoir, which is an unrivalled fishin spot. It’s the perfect place to get some headspace from the craziness of the Edinburgh festivals.

West Lothian

Sitting in the grounds of Bonnington House, the sculpture park Jupiter Artland is a perfect way to satisfy your art and culture cravings in peaceful surroundings. Plus, as the Edinburgh Art Festival is on during August, there are free buses running from the city centre to offers residents and visitors a chance to escape to the tranquil grounds.
If music festivals are more your scene, then Party at the Palace, Linlithgow’s annual family-friendly music festival is on 11th–12th August, featuring headliners James and Texas, plus lots of great other acts, kids’ entertainment and great food.


Hosted by the small fishing town in East Fife, Pittenweem Arts Festival is a celebration of the visual arts, held across nine galleries and featuring 120 artists. This year, the festival runs from 4th–12th August and offers a great range of events for art connoisseurs.

Scottish Borders

Seeking to break down borders between different groups and cultures, the Beyond Borders International Festival is held at Traquair House in Innerleithen from 25th–26th August. Through the mediums of film, music and storytelling, it facilitates wider dialogue about politics and culture. Some of the highlights of this festival include music from Barbara Dickson and a talk by writer Magnus Linklater.

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