Edinburgh Festivals & Events For July in 2017

While the Edinburgh International Festival might tend to steal the headlines, there are some fantastic other gatherings to put in your diary this July. Whether you are a lover of food or fine whisky, music or culture, here are some of the best Edinburgh events to look forward to for summer 2017:

Holyrood Week & The Queen's Garden Party (4th July onwards)

As a long standing tradition, this week of Scottish festivities begins with the ceremony of the keys at Holyrood Palace, where the Queen is welcomed to the City of Edinburgh. The beautiful grounds of the palace then form the setting for the most grand of garden parties (some 27,000 cups of tea are typically served!). Music from Scotland's Royal Pipers and regimental bands completes a glorious traditional scene, where those deserving of special praise for their contribution to Scottish culture and communities are recognised with special awards. Whether you have a special invite, or simply wish to soak up the atmosphere, it is a wonderful time of year to explore the Royal Mile and see Holyrood for yourself.

Edinburgh's Jazz & Blues Festival 2017 (14th - 23rd July, various venues)

Always a city of diverse and sophisticated musical tastes, Edinburgh welcomes a truly global selection of artists for what should be a fantastic year for this renowned festival. What should you look out for this year? That might depend on whether you prefer gritty, bare bones blues or the sound of a twelve-piece swing band. Perhaps the most hotly anticipated acts for 2017 are those that blur different sounds and styles to pulsating effect. Ibio Sound Machine are one to watch, melding African rhythms with soul and electronica to create a joyful musical cocktail. Blue Note starlet Kandace Springs is another name to look out for, with a fine voice and well-tempered yet accessible jazz sensibilities. However, the beauty of this event is that you are free to pick and choose the precise acts you want to see rather than buy an all-in-one-take-it-or-leave-it style ticket. Indeed, the toughest part could be deciding between a great selection of acts: http://www.edinburghjazzfestival.com

The National Whisky Festival (22nd July)

Whether you are already a connoisseur of our national spirit, or just a visitor looking to imbibe some great whiskies and expert knowledge, this event promises an enjoyable experience. Held at Edinburgh Corn Exchange, you will find over 50 whisky producers from Scotland and worldwide, alongside excellent local food, master tasting classes and live music. You can choose between two three-and-a-half hour sessions on the day (12pm-3:30pm or 4:15pm-7:45pm) and every guest also receives a special Glencairn Whisky glass to take home. More details here.

Scottish Car Show (15th - 16th July, Royal Highland Centre)

From classic retro motors to cutting edge sports cars, this celebration of all things four-wheeled is an absolute must for anyone who loves cars. More than just a chance to meet up with enthusiasts and experts, however, the event is also a chance to experience the speed and power of your dream car and perhaps get expert opinion on your next purchase. Add a bewildering array of customized vehicles along with special demos and displays and you have a dream weekend for the petrol head. http://www.scottishcarshow.com

Edinburgh Food Festival (26th - 30th July, George Square Gardens)

While comedy and theatre tend to get most tongues wagging each summer in Edinburgh, the city’s food credentials are also well worth shouting about in 2017. Hence this gathering of gourmet food suppliers and street chefs should be just the thing to put food back on the agenda. Cannily planned for the very end of July, just before the Fringe kicks off, visitors can expect a great variety of flavours and fun activities, with a large number of stalls and artisan producers, not to mention demonstrations, debates and other food related fun. http://www.edfoodfest.com/

2017 Edinburgh Mardi Gras & Carnival (15th & 16th July)

Promising big crowds, bold processions and a riot of sound and colour, these two free events in Edinburgh bring a wonderful spectacle to the city each summer. The Mardi Gras kicks off on July 15th and brings a taste of the “Big Easy” to Scotland, complete with carnival procession, music and dancing. The very next day -if you’ve still got the energy!- there then follows the 2017 Edinburgh Carnival. This year the assembly point is The Mound, Princess Street, with a starting time of 2:30pm. An impressive 800+ performers will take to the streets, with costumes and customs ranging from Scotland to South Africa, China and Holland. http://www.edinburghjazzfestival.com/carnival.html

Concerts at Edinburgh Castle (various dates July)

What could be better than a grand outdoor concert to provide an occasion to remember in the city? The answer is a gig with the epic historical splendor of Edinburgh Castle! Each summer sees a selection of the biggest names in music appear at this most unique of venues. For July 2017, acts include Wet Wet Wet and Deacon Blue, with the magnificent Edinburgh Military Tattoo to follow in August. For full details see: https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/whats-on/concerts