Edinburgh Festival Guide: Old Town

Discover street theatre on the Royal Mile and late night entertainment on the Cowgate

Edinburgh Festival Guide: Old Town

The Royal Mile / credit: Chris Scott

The famous Royal Mile begins at Edinburgh's most iconic landmark, Edinburgh Castle, home to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Watch out for the Massed Pipes & Drums striding their way down the cobbles and past The Hub to 'Scotland the Brave' as they lead the troops back to barracks.

The Hub is the central box office for the Edinburgh International Festival, with the Fringe office, and numerous pop-up stages where performers offer a taster of their shows, a little further down the Mile. A quick nip down one of the narrow medieval closes will bring you out on The Mound beneath the two towering turrets of Assembly Hall.

Beneath the castle is the mostly-pedestrian Grassmarket. Previously a site of public executions it is now home to a multitude of bars and Fringe venue Dance Base, who host an international programme of dance and physical theatre shows.

The Grassmarket leads into the Cowgate where cow-themed venue Underbelly Cowgate have seven spaces, you may find yourself affirming that you are indeed queuing to enter the 'Big Belly' or the 'Belly Button'. Along the Cowgate the Mash House showcases a programme of stand-up comedy while The Three Sisters bar (renamed The Free Sisters for the month), nightclub La Belle Angèle and live music venue Stramash offer free shows.

Up the hill on Chambers Street sits C venues' main space, C Venue - C and the National Museum of Scotland, who showcase a mix of Fringe performances amongst the exhibits at their After Hours: Friday Fringe Takeover events. Just round the corner is thespace @ Surgeon's Hall, offering a cross-genre programme, courtyard bar and food village.

Read more:
Where to eat in Old Town
Where to drink in Old Town


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