If you’re looking for ideas for how to get stuck into the second weekend of the 75th Edinburgh International Festival, then keep reading. We’ve pulled together an itinerary filled with fabulous food, culture and sights to serve as inspiration, if choosing between our unbeatable performances is proving to be an overwhelming task!
Friday 12 August
Kicking off your weekend at 6pm sharp, meander down Lothian Road towards The Lyceum for an evening performance of Counting and Cracking. Get there early to kick off the weekend with a drink in the glamorous theatre bar, keeping an eye out for the famous faces lining the walls! At 7pm, make your way to the auditorium and feel the working week melt away from your mind as you become engrossed in the life of a Sri Lankan-Australian family in this heart-warming play about love and migration.
Saturday 13 August
It wouldn’t be an August weekend in Edinburgh without spending some time soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of the Royal Mile. Why not kill two birds with one stone and enjoy a leisurely breakfast along the way? The Edinburgh Larder Café is famed for its full breakfasts and is conveniently located in the Old Town. Those in search of the authentic Scottish experience can fill up on veggie haggis and tattie scones, before wandering towards The Studio to catch the 3pm performance of Vocal. Experience Persian classical and folk music performed by Aref Ghorbani, while host Zozan Yasar discusses state censorship of music and expression – the perfect combination of cultural exploration and social discussion.
After that, take some time to wander over to the Meadows, where you're sure to be able to enjoy live music and street performances. The Uplands Roast coffee van is always on hand for a warming coffee if it's chilly, or a Vietnamese iced coffee if the sun is shining! Continue your journey over to Tollcross, where you can enjoy a plethora of sushi from the Harajuku Kitchen, or perhaps a vegetarian meal packed with garden-grown produce at Hendersons, before arriving at the King’s Theatre. Take your seat at 7.45pm, ready for James Thierrée’s latest dream-like spectacle, ROOM, which combines physical theatre, mime and live music. His last Festival production, The Toad Knew, blew audiences away in 2016 and this latest offering is sure to bring a little wonder and curiosity to your Saturday night.
Sunday 14 August
Say you luxuriate in a little Sunday morning lie-in. There’s still plenty of time to potter around the independent shops and cafes lining the charming neighbourhoods of Bruntsfield and Morningside before you head to the Church Hill Theatre for a 2pm performance of The Book of Life. Allow Kiki Katese, the Women Drummers of Rwanda and a cast of shadow puppets to take you through the story of the 1994 Rwandan genocide in a moving piece that is as hopeful as it is powerful.
After that, there's still time for an afternoon visit to the National Museum of Scotland over on Chambers Street. Adults can explore exhibits on everything from Japanese contemporary design to Sir Walter Scott, while younger visitors can enjoy a variety of interactive installations, a hall of animals from all corners of the planet, and even a Lego replica of the museum!
Next up, stop by Saboteur on Teviot Place for some delicious noodles before arriving at the Festival Theatre to see Coppélia at 7.30pm. Scottish Ballet have treated us to a variety of spellbinding performances over the years and their retelling of this classic ballet, utilising an array of modern technology alongside live performance, is sure to be no exception. Cameras, projection, prosthetics and robotics all feature in this world premiere.
Monday 15 August
Make the most of your day by starting early, catching the Takács Quartet in their 11am concert at The Queen’s Hall. They're International Festival favourites for a reason, and their passionate playing is sure to take you on a riveting emotional journey. As the concert finishes around lunch time, you can settle down for a relaxed meal at Elephant & Bagels just down the road.
Continuing the theme of captivating classical music, make your way to the Usher Hall in time to see the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra led by Chief Conductor Edward Gardner at 7.30pm. There, you can see Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson in his Edinburgh International Festival debut. Get swept up in the romance of Schumann’s lyrical Piano Concerto, before Ravel’s La Valse and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances have you swaying in your seat.
There'll still be enough time for one last drink before heading home. The Jazz Bar is a great place to wind down with a cocktail, a pint or even a cup of tea as you're serenaded by live music. As the night draws in, you'll feel triumphant in the knowledge you’ve made the most of another 75 hours in the Festival City.