Looking For a Family Summer Destination? Visit Edinburgh, Scotland in August!

If you are looking for an interesting and fun family getaway abroad in August, but don’t want to deal with language barriers, why not give Edinburgh, Scotland a try!?

Every August, Edinburgh hosts the fabulous Fringe Festival – a 3 week long entertainment extravaganza and the largest arts festival in the world! Thousands of performers entertain on hundreds of stages all over Edinburgh. The festival offers something for everyone and includes theater, comedy, dance, physical theater, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions, and events.

According to edfringe.com, in 2014 there were 49,497 performances of 3,193 shows in 299 venues, making it the largest ever arts festival in the world. My family spent 8 days enjoying 10 of the performances plus dozens of street acts and were amazed by the incredible amount of options! Not only were there performances that needed to be pre-booked, but hundreds of street and free performances were available throughout the old town! All you have to do is show up and you will be handed passes to free shows all over town. There are so many options for kids of all ages. My son loved the interactive shows where the kids were able to go on stage and help “rescue” or “attack” with the actors.

My son Trevor joining the street performers

Also, one of the best parts about visiting Edinburgh? The people are so friendly! We loved chatting with the locals and trying the local food – yes, even haggis!

Other than the Fringe Festival, here are my family’s favorite excursions:

Edinburgh Castle – a must see! This 11th century fortress sits on a huge volcanic rock that looks out over the entire city. It holds the Stone of Destiny (the coronation rock of early kings and queens), the crown jewels, vaults, battlements, dungeons, and much more!

The view from the Edinburgh Castle

Rosslyn Chapel – a beautiful and mysterious 15th century chapel with an interesting history – also featured in the “Da Vinci Code.”

Rosslyn Chapel

Palace of Holyroodhouse – the official residence in Scotland of Queen Elizabeth II. It has a very interesting past, especially its history with Mary Queen of Scots. Our favorite part was the half-ruined abbey that looks so mystical with its worn walls and missing roof.

The Holyrood Abbey

Edinburgh Ghost Tour – my husband and I were able to leave the kids for an evening and go on this fun and spooky tour through dark cemeteries and creepy dungeons that are supposedly haunted. No ghosts were seen, but our tour guide sure knew how to scare us!

On the Ghost Tour we visited this cemetery at night!

Besides the gorgeous parks and playgrounds, here is a list of other great family options in Edinburgh:

  • The Edinburgh Treasure Trail
  • Gorgie City Farm
  • Edinburgh Zoo
  • Union Canal Cruise
  • Inchcolm Island
  • Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • and many more!

Edinburgh Castle overlooking a park, cafe, and playground.

Edinburgh is only a 4-hour train ride from London, which is a great option if you want to visit both of these amazing family destinations. But make sure to book your hotel in Edinburgh super early – during the Fringe Festival the accommodations fill up fast. So, booking now for a holiday in Edinburgh next August is perfect timing!

Have you ever visited Edinburgh in August? Did you love the Fringe Festival too? Please share your story with us!

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