Festivals mean different things to different people.
There’s Glastonbury Festival if you like music and mud.
There’s Cannes Film Festival if you like glitz and glamour.
And there’s Edinburgh Festival if you like, well, almost anything.
Edinburgh now seems to be the UK’s festival centre, with a dozen major festivals each year.
There are the big ones – the main International Festival, The Fringe and the Military Tattoo but there are also festivals of art, film, books, storytelling, jazz and blues and more.
Edinburgh boasts all these things as well as the glorious backdrop of Scotland’s capital city.
A good festival needs a good setting, doesn’t it, and Edinburgh is certainly that.
We had a good look round number one landmark Edinburgh Castle, as you do, and the National Museum of Scotland had a special exhibition running on Mary Queen of Scots so, with her Sheffield connections at Manor Lodge, that proved interesting.
But we were here for the festival season and the hard bit was deciding what to see and what to miss. Never mind two nights and three days in Edinburgh, we could have done with two or three weeks.
We arrived for the end of the jazz and blues festival and so enjoyed the Champian Fulton Trio in concert – all the way from New York – and a nice jazz in the sun afternoon at the Palazzo Speigeltent the next day.
Highlight, entertainment-wise, of our visit was The Saturday Night Show at The Stand Comedy Club.
The flagship Saturday comedy show has been sold out every night for five years and featured four comedians limbering up for the forthcoming Fringe.
Host Scott Agnew was terrific – although the planets aligned for him when he discovered that the front row featured four Essex girls on a hen weekend and, separately, two international bankers (boo, hiss).
We enjoyed a fine dinner in the bustling Hotel du Vin & Bistro and a splendid lunch at fish specialists Whighams Wine Bar, a Georgian wine cellar just round the corner from our hotel, the Crowne Plaza Roxburghe.
And for a ‘wee dram’ before one show we nipped into the Whiski Rooms where they do so many whiskies they have a menu...
Edinburgh is a great place to go for a city break at any time.
The festival season just makes it even better.
Two nights in Edinburgh - at an award-winning hotel
Our base was the Crowne Plaza Roxburghe, pictured left, on Charlotte Square, just off one end of Princes Street.
It has just claimed the Best Hotel in Edinburgh award at the 2014 Scottish Hotel Awards, and it’s right in the city centre, making festival venues (and Edinburgh’s two main railway stations) just a short walk away.
It boasts fine cooked breakfasts (‘Signature breakfasts’ not ‘English breakfasts’ of course because we’re in Scotland), a good pool and gym for working off those breakfasts, and very friendly staff even by the standards of good hotels these days.
Excellent hotel, excellent location.
Crowne Plaza Edinburgh – The Roxburghe, 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4HQ.
Book online or ring 0844 8799063.
Up-coming Edinburgh festivals
- Edinburgh International Film Festival, June 18-29 – tickets available June 2
- Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, July 18-27 – tickets on sale
- Edinburgh Art Festival, July 31-August 31
- Edinburgh Festival Fringe Festival, August 1-25 – tickets on sale (full programme June 5)
- Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, August 1-23 – tickets on sale
- Edinburgh International Festival, August 8-31 – tickets on sale
- Edinburgh International Book Festival, August 9-25 – tickets available June 11
- Edinburgh Mela Festival, August 29-31
- Scottish International Storytelling Festival, October 24-November 2
- Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – December 30-January 5 – tickets on sale