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There are few cities in the UK that are filled with more art, culture, and history than the capital of Scotland – Edinburgh. The city is home to some of the biggest festivals held annually in the UK, most notably the outlandish Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. If you’re looking for something to fill your time over the next couple of weeks then Edinburgh is the place to go.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe 2010: The Flash

The Flash. Street performers on the Royal Mile – Via. Flickr

This wacky, weird, and witty festival is the largest arts festival in the world, this year hosting an astonishing 2,695 shows in 279 venues and including an estimated 22,457 performers! The city is all but taken over by the festival during it’s nearly month long run, from August 3rd to August 27th, 2012 this year, filling the streets with festival goers and street performers from around the world.

No matter your taste in entertainment there is sure to be a show for you, with on-stage performances including comedy, theatre, music, cabaret, dance, physical theatre, exhibitions, children’s shows and spoken word. The variety is absolutely astounding – from the concerts by the UK ukulele orchestra, TUKUO, to the performance art of Bootworks Theatre who will devise their show 30 Days to Edinburgh while walking to the festival from their home in Chichester, England.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a ticket to a show yet, unlike the Olympics there is always something available, and there are lots of free events held during the course of the Fringe, and the streets are always packed with street entertainers competing for the spare change of the passing tourists.

To see everything that is going on over the month long festival visit the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Fireworks Over the 2011 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Fireworks Over the 2011 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – Via. Flickr

For something completely different while visiting the capital head to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a spectacle of military precision and music from around the world. This international festival of military bands has been happening in the grounds of the historic Edinburgh Castle since 1950, over which time it has grown to be one of the biggest in the world. Over the month of performances held at the castle an average of more than 220 000 people observe the display, which features highly trained pipe and drum bands from the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth Forces, and military bands from around the world.

So what will you experience while at the Tattoo? Well, from August 3rd to 25th the lucky ticket holders will enter the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle at twilight, waiting patiently for darkness to fall and the show to begin. The floodlights rise and the spectacle begins when the grand oak gates of the castle open to allow the hundreds of assembled pipers and drummers to enter the stadium. It is hard to not be moved by the majesty of the show, which has been intentionally designed to be magnificent and emotional. Throughout the course of the show there are dancers, battle re-enactments, motorcycle riders, horses, and to end it all, a fireworks display from the castle ramparts.

There are still tickets available for some nights of the Tattoo, but they are sure to go quickly so don’t take too long to make your decision. Visit the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo website for more information.

Don’t worry if you haven’t booked your accommodation yet, there are still lots of cottages available in Scotland throughout August. This is one of the most beautiful and fascinating parts of the UK so why not take a last minute holiday with the family in Scotland before the kids head back to school. We can guarantee that it will be a holiday not soon forgotten!

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