SEPT 2016 in Edinburgh

As the City calms after a frenetic August, September is the perfect month to visit the majestic capital, from vibrant markets and mind expanding art to world class theatre and fun days out there is so much to do in Edinburgh.  Here’s our eyes, ears and mouth guide of 12 good reasons to visit Edinburgh this month. 

Caledonian Brewery Raceday

Musselburgh Racecourse hosts an exciting day of racing this September at the Caledonian Brewery Raceday. Enjoy a spectacular day of flat racing, along with the chance to sample a range of beers straight from the nearby Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh. The day begins with traditional harness racing at 2.45pm, before the main flat racing action begins at 4.15pm. There will be seven flat races in total, including the big St Leger from Doncaster race and The £20,000 Caledonian Cup.

10 Sept | Musselburgh Racecourse | Website

The Jungle Book at Edinburgh Zoo

Join Edinburgh Zoo this September bank holiday for a weekend full of film magic. What better place to watch a world of animals on the silver screen, than surrounded by a world of animals at the Zoo? Two of the top three highest grossing films of 2016 are all about animals – Zootropolis and The Jungle Book. Head along to see a film at the Budongo Trail, where you will be able to hang out with the chimpanzees. 

17 September | Edinburgh Zoo | Website

Harvest Festival

The annual Harvest Festival is a celebration of the vegetable growing year. Join RBGE for fun activities, gardening advice, information about harvesting, cooking and storing crops, tasters and more. Be inspired to get growing with our community garden produce show and discover the delights of growing your own vegetables with the Edible Gardening Project team.

17-18 Sept  | Royal Botanic Gardens | Website

Swan Lake

One of the most famous ballets of all time, Swan Lake, with Irina Kolesnikova as the enchanting Odette, is in the City for a limited 3 night run at Edinburgh Playhouse. Undoubtedly the most famous and beautiful of all classical ballets, Swan Lake is the time-honoured tale of love, fate and tragedy that has been enjoyed by audiences around the world for hundreds of years.

1 -3 Sept | Edinburgh Playhouse | Website

Doors Open Day 2015

The Edinburgh Doors Open Day 2016gives you the chance to discover some of Edinburgh’s most unique and interesting buildings which are normally closed to the public. Across the weekend you can visit these fantastic sites across the city, completely free of charge  The theme for this year is food and drink, and this is reflected in the programme of buildings that are throwing their doors open to the public over the course of the weekend. Over 100 properties will open their doors during the course of the weekend.

24 - 25 Sept | City Wide | Website

Bridget Riley | Paintings, 1963-2015

This focused display brings together a group of major paintings by Bridget Riley (b.1931) spanning over fifty years of the artist’s career to explore the dialogue between monochrome and colour in Riley's practice. Throughout her career, Riley has created paintings that not only engage the eye, but which elicit physical sensations of flux, rhythm and energy.

Thru September |  National Gallery of Modern Art | Website

Riding of the Marches

Get caught up in the excitement of the Edinburgh Riding of the Marches on Sunday 13th September and enjoy an age old tradition that dates back to 1579. The Riding of the Marches commemorates the tradition of inspecting the city’s boundaries. After the Union of Parliaments in 1707 the annual inspection. It returned in 2009, and since then has become a popular event in Edinburgh, attracting hundreds of riders each year. 

11 Sept | Royal Mile | Website

Edinburgh Markets

Edinburgh’s rich seam of history undoubtedly suggests an abundance of vintage and quirky goods being rediscovered and brought to market. Similarly, the global reputation of the food, drink and fresh produce means an abundance of artisan and homemade ingredients on offer at any given farmers market. Check out the best markets in Edinburgh for food, clothes, antiques, and those indescribable one-off gems you could only find in the Scottish capital.

Thru September | City Wide | Website

Professor Brian Cox Live

The hotly anticipated tour by the acclaimed Professor Brian Cox, OBE. The show will take audiences on a dazzling journey through space and time, delving into ‘high science’ and freewheeling on the edges of the known cosmos. Whether an avid science reader or a total novice, Professor Brian Cox Live will test the limits of our knowledge and make highly complex ideas accessible to all.

22 Sept | Usher Hall | Website

Billy Elliot 

Celebrating 10 extraordinary years in London’s West End, Billy Elliot the Musical, one of the most beloved shows on stage today, is embarking on its first ever UK and Ireland tour. Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dream come true.

From 20 Sept | Edinburgh Playhouse | Website


The idea of a shared Celtic heritage across ancient Europe retains a powerful hold over the popular imagination. But many common ideas about the people known as ‘Celts’ are in fact more recent re-imaginings, revived and reinvented over the centuries.This major exhibition, unravels the complex story of the different groups who have used or been given the name ‘Celts’ through the extraordinary art objects they made and used.  

throughout Sept | National Museum, Chamber Street | Website

Surreal Encounters | Collecting the Marvellous

Surreal Encounters: Collecting the Marvellous brings together some of the finest Surrealist works of art from four legendary collections, those of Roland Penrose, Edward James, Gabrielle Keiller and Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch.  The ways that Surrealist art has been collected display many of the idiosyncratic passions of Surrealism itself. This exhibition will examine the different impulses behind these four extraordinary collections presenting a fuller and richer picture of the Surrealist movement as a whole.

throughout Sept | Gallery of Modern Art | Website