May 2016 in Edinburgh

From Whisky, festivals and sport to world class museums 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 May. 

Whisky Month / Whisky Stramash 

For Whisky fans, the month of May means one thing and one thing only - Whisky Month! From tasting whisky in the name of scientific research to a ghost tour and walks followed by whisky tastings. There are plenty of options for all the whisky connoisseurs!  

The standout Whisky Stramash returns to Surgeons' Hall on Nicolson Street. The event will give you an opportunity to encounter many elements and experiences of Scotland's National Drink. 

All Month | Across the City | Website

Festival of Museums 

Some of Edinburgh's top museums and galleries are coming together to host an exciting programme of shows and events for Festival of Museums 2016. Many of the events are free of charge and are located at various venues around the city. So, whether you're into gory history, fascinating art or curious anatomy, you're bound to find something on offer that will delight and intrigue all the family.

13 -15 May | Citywide | Website


Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, the musical tells the story of brave little girl Annie who lives a life of misery in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. However, the devious Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to put a stop to Annie’s search… 

16 - 21 May | Edinburgh Playhouse | 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

Pearl Izumi Tour Series 2016

Edinburgh will host round three of the 2016 Pearl Izumi Tour Series. The Edinburgh race will take place on a new, 1.6-kilometre circuit, including Victoria Street before turning left to take in the Lawnmarket and Johnston Terrace below Edinburgh Castle, before returning to the Grassmarket via West Port.

19 May | Old Town  | Website

Summerhall's Beer FestiVALE

On 20th and 21st May some of the best Scottish craft beer and spirit producers will descending on Edinburgh's creative hub for the arts with multiple cars inside and out. Look out for the likes of Barney’s, Williams Brothers, Fallen Brewing Co, six°north, The Bar of Unearthly Delights, Pickering’s Gin, The Rum Surgery, Cocktails & Drams and Thistly Cross Cider. 

The three sessions across the weekend will give you the chance to meet the brewers and take part in distillery and brewery tours. There will also be live music, DJ’s, beer tokens and merchandise from the Beer Bank, plus a late night bar.

20 -21 May | Summerhall | Website

Hidden Door Festival 

One of Edinburgh's most intriguing festivals, Hidden Door, returns to the city for 2016. This year's event will be returning to the disused street lighting depot behind King’s Stables Road, transforming it into their secret courtyard for one final time. 

The Hidden Door Festival aims to showcase the best new creative work in Scotland in a unique setting and create an experience for the people of Edinburgh which is thrilling, innovative and high-impact.

The theme of this year's festival ‘Hidden Door Electric City,’ in homage to the site’s recent history as a street lighting depot, and will feature a fantastic programme across the arts, including live music, theatre, cinema and inspiring visual art installations. 

27 May - 4 June l King’s Stable Road | Website

Guinness Pro12 Final

For the first time ever the Guinness PRO12 Final is coming to Edinburgh. The annual rugby union competition involves twelve professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. There will be fan zones set up across the city and you can expect the magnificent BT Murrayfield to rise to the occasion in delivering an outstanding festival of rugby. The capital city will be full of rugby supporters wearing their own team’s colours hoping to see their side lifting the trophy!

28 May | Murrayfield | 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

The Imaginate Festival 2016

Imaginate Festival is Scotland’s international festival of performing arts for children and young people, running from Saturday 28th May to Sunday 5th June 2016 at venues across Edinburgh. A variety of lively performances and companies will be showcased throughout the week which will spark the imaginations of young and old.  Every year, the Festival presents the finest selection of shows from Scotland and this year, the Festival welcomes companies from all over Europe, such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

28 May - 5 June  | Various venues | Website

Edinburgh Marathon Festival

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival is the second largest of its kind in the UK. Over the course of the weekend, the streets of Edinburgh and East Lothian will become filled with runners of all abilites, from professional athletes, to amateurs trying to beat their personal best, or those wanting to do their bit and raise money for charity.

28 - 29 May | Citywide | Website