From spooky goings-on at the National Museum to artisan gin at the Corn Exchange, here’s our pick of the best things to do in Edinburgh in October . . .
Brass in Pocket, Don’t Get Me Wrong, Kid… The Pretenders really did turn out some classics in their day. Off the touring circuit since 2012, their day dawns once more with this Usher Hall concert, 7.30pm, tickets from £30.25. Supported by The Rails, they’ll be the Talk of the Town.
A Streetcar Named Desire
It’s hard to believe Tennessee Williams’ tale of Blanche DuBois and brutish brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski is 70 years old, its searing drama feeling as fresh as it did in the Forties. See what Rapture Theatre makes of it as their production visits the King’s. Curtain up at 7.30pm, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm, tickets from £20.50.
For lighter fare, there’s Sunset Boulevard, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Christopher Hampton’s camp musical take on the classic movie about a faded Silent star desperate to recapture former glories. Ria Jones is Norma Desmond at Edinburgh Playhouse, with support from Strictly star Danny Mac, times as Streetcar, prices start at £18.
Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend
Edinburgh Gin Festival
Fancy a drink? If it’s one of the alcoholic variety you’re after, these could be the events for you. For cocktails, buy a £6 wristband, head for any – not all, be responsible, folks! – of the 50 or so bars taking part and you can try special cocktails for £4 a pop. If Mother’s Ruin is your thing, get thee to the Corn Exchange, buy tokens for £5 and swap them for a gin-based drink; stay awake and you can enjoy demos and talks, too!
Morningside Makers Market
Held on the first Saturday of every month at the Columcille Centre on Newbattle Terrace, this boutique market gathers artists, crafters and designers hawking handcrafted ceramics, jewellery, glassware, photography, textiles and art. Be there between 11-4pm, entry free.
Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair
Could there be a classier locale for this award-winning event featuring some of the UK’s finest vintage traders than the Assembly Rooms? Find 40 stalls of retro party clothes, homeware and collectables dating from the 1920s to the 1980s. 11am-4pm, entry free.
The Kite Runner
Based on Khaled Hosseini’s international bestselling novel, this haunting tale of a friendship spanning cultures and continents follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption. It begins with two boys in Afghanistan, taking part in a kite-flying contest… King’s Theatre, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday, seats from £18.
Dig out your lederhosen, the Bavarian beer festival tent is returning to Princes Street Gardens. Times and prices vary for this ‘schlager’ than life event.
Scottish Ballet Dances – Stravinsky
Experience the bold, sensual power of Igor Stravinsky’s scores, performed by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra. Inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s The Ice Maiden, The Fairy’s Kiss - first brought to the stage by famed Scottish choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan - gets a 21st-century makeover. Then there’s The Rite of Spring, widely acclaimed in its 2013 performance at the Edinburgh International Festival. Feel the raw energy of the score - and the anguish of moral conflict, brought to an end through violent sacrifice. A show of two terrific halves, it’s on at 7.30pm, tickets from £17.
Greg Davies – You Magnificent Beast
The very tall comedian leaves the TV panel games long enough to embark on his first stand-up show in four years, and biggest-ever tour. See him at Edinburgh Playhouse at 8pm, from £31.65.
Edinburgh Coffee Festival
Wake up and smell the coffee festival as it enters its third year. The Corn Exchange is the place for lovers of class A caffeine. Expect exhibitors offering talks, experiments, workshops and demonstrations. Entry is £10, though you could always see if ‘artisan’ works as a secret password...
Scotland Food and Drink Show
This free two-day event showcasing vendors from across the country invites Foodies to sample products, meet their makers and learn just where our food comes from. The show will also feature cooking demos, talks from Scotland’s top chefs and experts, masterclasses, a children’s area, career tips - all in all, it’s sounding very tasty. It’s at the Royal Highland Centre from 10am-5pm.
Son of a Preacher Man
The title is a giveaway, this is a musical centred on the songs of the late Dusty Springfield - The Look of Love, I Only Want To Be With You, classics all. Directed by Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood, it’s set in a Swinging Sixties club named Preacher Man, where the young folk fall in and out of love to a backdrop of Dusty ditties. It’s at the King’s Theatre, TV favourites Debra Stephenson and Ian Reddington star and tickets begin at £18.50
Meats and Beats Festival
If you’re hungry for good tunes, this is the event for you, as food and music come together at the Roxy Assembly. Meats & Beats is a feast of ‘meatylicious’ street food, mainly the sticky, juicy, BBQ’d variety, mixed with all your favourite music from the past 50 years - the decade changes every hour. Warning: includes chicken wing gobbling contest. Tickets from £5.90.
Scottish International Storytelling Festival
Once upon a time there was a nation of storytellers… actually, it’s still that time, as Scotland’s most enthusiastic tellers of tales get together to celebrate their art. The scope is very much global this year, to mark the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh International Festival, with workshops and events including Lost Tales and From Edinburgh’s Pen to the World. Venues and prices vary.
EH6 Festival, Biscuit Factory
Crafts stalls, a beer festival, live music, comedy… this event centred on the former Crawford’s biscuit base has it all. Bands promised over the weekend include Big Country and Sham 69, so the nostalgia is strong with this one, tickets £15-£78.
The Scottish Homebuilding and Renovation Show
If you’ve ever watched Grand Designs and thought, yes, I’d really like to build a home based on a beehive, or live inside a pint-sized Titanic, this is the show for you. Self-builders will be wooed by exhibitors while experts are on standby to offer constructive comments. It’s on at the Royal Highland Centre from 10am each day, £8-£16.
Scottish Vegan Festival, Corn Exchange
Could there be a more appropriate venue for a celebration of life without animal-derived fare? We don’t know if corn dishes there may be, but expect loads of hot and cold food to try, along with talks such as ‘How to Turn a Man Vegan in 45 Mins’. Oh aye…. Tickets £3-£15 (wonder if they’re printed on rice paper?).
Midge Ure, The Christians and Altered Images, Edinburgh Playhouse
Harvest for the World, Happy Birthday and... oh, Vienna are just some of the hits likely to show up at this nostalgic night for people of a certain age. Be there for 7.30pm, tickets £33.65-£36.15.
Lee Nelson – Serious Joker
At £20 a ticket, this is a bit pricier than your average Stand gig but Lee Nelson - aka Simon Brodkin - has been on telly a lot. So that’s all right, then. Doors open 6.30pm, the gags begin at 7pm. Well, unless you do a few yourself.
Well hello, Diwali! Diwali or Dipavali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all over the world. Also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, Diwali symbolises the victory of light over dark, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. It also means fun, so be at the Ross Bandstand from 5pm for Indian and Scottish music, dances, DJs, art activities, delicious food & drink and fireworks, all for free.
October 27-11 November
Edinburgh Short Film Festival
Attention span of a cineaste gnat? Then this is the festival for you. Based at Summerhall, it features 32 UK premieres, 28 award-winning films, as well as 20 Scottish-made mini-movies. Genres include German horror and and Greek sci-fi… why would you not? And all for just £6-£7 per show.
A little bit crafty? This event at the Hub could be for you. Shop for gorgeous textiles, jewellery, ceramics glass and more, handpicked from the work of Scottish and international makers. 10am-6pm, tickets £4.40-£13.20.
Annasach’s Hallowe’en Ceilidh, The Counting House
Come and dance to Annasach Ceilidh Band at their regular ceilidh. The dancing kicks off at 8pm, with caller Tricia on hand to explain the reel deals, so all beginners welcome. And if you fetch up in fancy dress garb - the spookier the better - you may even win a prize. Tickets £6/£8.
Whisky Rover Challenge, Hill Street Design House
Outspoken blogger Whisky Rover is ready to meet his public, with a blind tasting of six whiskies purchased at auction. Have a sup, vote for your favourite and don’t be surprised to be gently insulted along the way by the big-mouthed blogger. Get along to the Hill Street Design House in the New Town for 8pm, tickets £30.
Spooky Saturday, National Museum of Scotland
Join the experts and entertainers for a day of spooky stories, sinister science and creepy crafts to celebrate Hallowe’en. 10am-5pm, free.
Edinburgh Flea Market, Out of the Blue Drill Hall
Get searching for treasures at this monthly market, which features 45 stalls full to bursting with clothes, jewellery, small furniture, music, books and bric-a-brac. And when you need a rest, the cafe sells rather scrummy cakes. 10am-3pm, free.
Edinburgh Indoor Market, The Biscuit Factory
Food, live music, crafts… there’s plenty to occupy yourself at this buzzing bazaar. You can even bring the dog, And if you haven’t got a dog, you can probably buy one. Daytime, free.
Midnight, not a sound from the pavement. But at 8.30pm, inside the Queen’s Hall, expect sounds aplenty as the pocket chanteuse celebrates a lifetime in musical theatre. The songs start at 7.30pm with a – so far – mysterious support artist before EP, as Radio 2 fans know her, appears at 8.30pm. Tickets £30-£75.
New Wave legends Squeeze are still selling out venues 40 years after their first hit, Take Me I’m Yours. Find out why as their Join the Dots tour hits the Usher Hall at 7.30pm, tickets £35.75-£52.25.