April 2016 in Edinburgh

From scary movies, science and beer to world class art and show stopping theatre there is so much to do in Edinburgh this month. Here’s our eyes, ears and mouth guide of 12 good reasons to visit Edinburgh this April. 

Edinburgh Beer Festival 

Edinburgh Beer Festival is the city’s newest dedicated craft beer festival.  Across a range of taps will be showcasing a range of great craft beers and breweries from near and far. Resident brewers Stewarts will be joining forces with the Lake District’s Hawkshead, Stirlingshire\'s Fallen and Oregon’s Crux Fermentation Project to brew up a couple of collaborative storms. 

16 April | Stewart Brewing, Loanhead | Website


Showcasing the importance of science in the most delicious way possible, GastroFest returns in 2016 with a packed menu featuring producers, artisans, scientists and chefs. From the tempting and tantalising to downright delicious this smorgasbord of insightful discussions, thought-provoking presentations and out-of-this-world foodie experiences offers options to suit all tastes.

26 March - 10 April | Across the City | Website

Dead by Dawn

Dead by Dawn is the UK’s longest running horror film festival, happily ensconced at the wonderful Filmhouse since the very beginning in 1993. The festival returns in April 2016 for it’s 23rd edition with a tantalising selection of independent previews, amazing classics and extensive short film programmes stuffed full of spectacular treats.

21 -24 April | Filmhouse | Website

Tradfest 2016

Bringing the Old Town to life with song, dance, craft and storytelling, Tradfest celebrates Scotland’s past and present while showcasing the best folk artists the country has to offer – providing a thrilling programme of cultural events for all ages.  Celebrate all things Celtic, Pictish, Anglo-Saxon and more, from gossipy Gaelic waulking songs to bawdy Lowland tales.

27 April - 8 May | Old Town | Website

Beltane Fire Festival

Join hundreds of performers and thousands of revellers as they come together on Calton Hill to celebrate the death of winter and the birth of summer by casting off the darkness and celebrating the light on one of the most magical nights of the year.  Expect to see a great deal of fire, head-to-toe body paint, and impressive acrobatics at this must-see annual event.

30 April | Calton Hill  | Website

Edinburgh International Science Festival 

Building Better Worlds is the theme behind the 2016 Festival. Life on Mars imagined in Lego, why chocolate may become extinct, the ethics of artificial intelligence and an exhibition of tiny homes are just some of the highlights for visitors this year. 

Edinburgh International Science Festival delivers one of Europe's largest Science Festivals, giving audiences amazing experiences through a programme of innovative and inspiring discussions, workshops, performances, screenings, special events and exhibitions. From 26 March – 10 April venture forth to explore how science, technology, engineering and design have the potential to improve the world we live in and the way we live within it.  

26 March - 10 April | City Wide | Website

Great Edinburgh Run

The 10 mile route is a unique distance for the city making it the perfect event for those wanting to stretch themselves from a 10k, or for those in training for a ½ marathon. Starting at 9.30am in Holyrood Park at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, the course takes runners past some of the city's most iconic sights including Edinburgh Castle, Greyfriars Bobby, the Scott Monument and the Royal Mile. 

17 April | Holyrood Park | Website

The 39 Steps

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller, The 39 Steps, brilliantly and hilariously recreated for the stage as the smash hit Olivier Award Winning Comedy is now on tour after 9 years in London’s West End.Follow the incredible adventures of our handsome hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff- upper-lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women.

19 - 23 April | Kings Theatre | Website

British Art Show 8

British Art Show 8 explores artists’ engagement with the material world at a time of increasing convergence between the real and virtual spheres. Through works by 42 artists whose practices merge research, studio-based and other production processes, the exhibition investigates new thinking around materiality and reflects on the meaning and manifestations of objects in the seemingly dematerialised reality that marks our times. Echoing recent philosophical developments, objects are considered here as active agents, generative entities, mutating forms and networked realities, rather than being simply defined by their properties or their effects.

until 8 May  | City Wide | Website

Mary Poppins

The magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny arriving on Cherry Tree Lane has been triumphantly and spectacularly brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs. The stage version of Mary Poppins is brilliantly adapted from the wonderful stories by PL Travers and the beloved Walt Disney film.

27 April - 21 May | Festival Theatre | Website

Masters of the Everyday

The Dutch artists of the seventeenth century painted ordinary people doing everyday things. They offer us a glimpse into the rumbustious life of village taverns and peasant cottages, and the quiet domesticity of courtyards and parlours. Presenting 28 masterpieces from the Royal Collection, the exhibition includes works by Gerrit Dou, Gabriel Metsu, Jan Steen and Pieter de Hooch, and Johannes Vermeer's A Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman.

April  | Palace of Holyroodhouse | Website

BUILD IT! Adventures with LEGO® 

This spring the National Museum of Scotland introduces BUILD IT! - a fun display in the Grand Gallery for all the family to enjoy. Dig in for some exciting LEGO® bricks activities, or why not find your creative side in the builders yard? Help to create sculptures of museum objects or perhaps build your own masterpiece.  BUILD IT! is part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design celebrations. 

’til 18 April | Chamber Street | Website