31 Great things to do in July

From Morrissey on Independence Day to Bananarama at Edinburgh Castle via the Edinburgh Jazz Festival Carnival, there's something for everyone in Edinburgh this month. Here are 31 suggestions '“ one for every day of the month '“ to make your July one to remember . . .

Thursday, 28th June 2018, 12:07 pm
Updated Friday, 29th June 2018, 7:12 pm
The Edinburgh Jazz Festival Carnival will deliver a dazzling spectacle under the Castle. Picture: Greg Macvean

July 1

IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh

IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh is Scotland’s only IRONMAN 70.3 race featuring a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run, taking in some of the most spectacular sights in Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian from 6am-5pm. It all kicks off at Preston Links. If you’re actually thinking of having a go, entry on the day is £285.

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Morrissey's promising an 'intimate show' at the Usher Hall

July 2

An Officer and a Gentleman: The Musical

The world premiere of a brand new musical that will simply sweep you off your feet! An Officer and a Gentleman is based on the Oscar-winning film starring Richard Gere. Its feelgood soundtrack includes the hit song from the movie Up Where We Belong along with such classic Eighties anthems as Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Material Girl and Don’t Cry Out Loud. Whether you belong up in the circle or down in the stalls, the Playhouse has a seat for you at 7.30pm, tickets from £19.90.

July 3

It's far from a cruel summer with Bananarama in town

Rufus Wainwright

Closing a two-day visit to the Lyceum, Canadian troubadour Rufus Wainwright performs songs from his extensive back catalogue. He may even throw in a little bit of Judy Garland… 7pm, tickets from £35.

July 4


It’s Independence Day, so why not celebrate with, er, noted English miserablist Morrissey, who’s visiting the Usher Hall for what’s described as “an intimate show”. Oo-er missus. Tickets for the former Smiths frontperson’s 7pm turn start at a pricey £60.50 – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.

July 5

The Scottish Real Ale Festival

It’s back! The Campaign for Real Ale’s biggest showcase of more than 170 cask beers, ciders and perries from Scottish and Northern Irish breweries – plus wine, food, games and more. This is the widest selection of Scottish Real Ale you will find in one place anywhere this year. It kicks off at noon, runs until 10.30pm and continues all weekend at Edinburgh Corn Exchange, £6 (£4 for CAMRA members) inc. festival glass, programme & unlimited admission.

July 6

Bongo’s Bingo

Taking place at the city’s Ocean Terminal, this summer party is all set to have the venue rocking from start to finish, with the chaotic spin on the very much traditional game of bingo. It may be less Legs 11 than Legs Akimbo, but if you want to have fun while possibly winning Henry Hoover or a packet of Coco Pops, get to Ocean Terminal for 10pm, £7/£8.

July 7

Kiss Me Kate

Cole Porter’s ever-delightful musical ends its week-long run at the Festival Theatre and you can guarantee the cast, crew and musicians of Opera North will be going out with a bang. If you don’t know the show, it’s a backstage musical take on The Taming of the Shrew, so Brush Up Your Shakespeare at the 2.15pm or 7.15pm performance, tickets from £15.50.

July 8

John Lynn – Addiction Diction

John Lynn is not a drug fiend. He doesn’t have a (serious) gambling problem. He’s not even that fond of coffee. However, like all of us, he has many other addictions in his life – and some of them he likes. Let him tell you more at The Stand, 6pm.

July 9

Scottish Dancing in Princes Street Gardens

Country dancing at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens is a magnificent experience, and Edinburgh Castle creates an atmospheric backdrop for a memorable evening. The fun runs from 7.30-9.30pm, with all ages welcome, adults £5, children, £1.

July 10


The father of Italian Blues comes to the Queen’s Hall, for one night only as part of his Wanted world tour. He’s collaborated with artists including John Lee Hooker, Elton John, Miles Davis, Brian May, Pavarotti, Eric Clapton and Ray Charles, but tonight the spotlight’s all Zucchero’s. 7.30pm, tickets from £25.

July 11

The Thursday Show

The weekend starts at The Stand with five acts on a two-hour stand-up showcase. Featuring one ace compere, the best headliners on the circuit, several support acts and a short spot for a newcomer. Handy hint it’s almost certainly the same line-up as Saturday’s show, but several quid cheaper! With Dave Johns, Susan Morrison, James Nokise, Kimi Loughton and host Martin Mor, 9pm, £5-£10, www.thestand.co.uk

July 12

Art Salon

Pick up a cocktail from the bar and relax into a creative after-hours event at Jupiter Artland, with partners All The Young Nudes. Come along, draw something tasteful, have a cocktail and a snack and that’s you set up for the weekend. 6-9pm, £15.

July 13

Il Divo

No, not the pop group with flower pots on their heads, the classical crossover group beloved of ladies and fans of nice tailoring. They’re at Edinburgh Castle at 7pm, tickets from £73.15.

July 14

Chris Ramsey Live

The popular comic’s Just Happy To Get Out of the House Tour will encompass some of the greatest life advice ever to be recorded in the history of the world (hopefully), as Chris sets out the rules of modern existence for his infant son. Expect fatherhood, following your dreams, how to be a gentleman, the slow slow pain of death and the slow slow pain of slow cookers as Chris tries to navigate the rights and wrongs, dos, don’ts and definitely don’ts of life. It’s on at the King’s Theatre, 7.30pm, tickets from £22.50.

July 15

Edinburgh Jazz Festival Carnival

The seventh Edinburgh Festival Carnival delivers a dazzling spectacle under the Castle as more than 800 performers deliver an extravaganza humming with the rhythms of salsa, African drummers, Balkan beats and swirling pipes. Expect a feast for the eyes with sequinned dancers, feathered costumes, Chinese dragons, circus performers and street theatre. The fun spans Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens, parade from 2.30pm, free.

July 16

Stephanie Trick and Paulo Alderighi

Pianist partners Stephanie Trick and Paulo Alderighi present ragtime, blues-time, Boogie-Time featuring the timeless music of the all-time great musicians as part of Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, Teviot Row House, £1pm, £14.

July 17

Stuart Mitchell and Chris Forbes

Talented comic fellas Stuart Mitchell and Chris Forbes provide sneak-peek previews of their upcoming Fringe shows at The Stand, Edinburgh, 8.30pm, £5/£4/£1.

July 18

Rumba de Bodas

The exuberant cabaret-swing of Rumba de Bodas returns to Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival to celebrate their tenth anniversary, Teviot Row, 8pm, £15.

July 19

Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds

Gallagher’s new-ish band soars into the slipstream of exhilarating new album Who Built The Moon? to play a series of UK and Ireland arena dates and that means they’re one of the Concerts at the Castle. 7pm, tickets from £45.

July 20


It’s anything but a Cruel Summer as one of the biggest girl groups of all time step out of the Eighties and on to the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. Nearly 40 years after their first hit, they’re still looking good, and sounding better (well, they did start from a pretty low bar). 7pm, tickets from £53.45.

July 21

Del Amitri

Fun fact, 25 years after last taking to the stage at Edinburgh Castle, Glasgow band Del Amitri are back to play some of their greatest hits with fans. Who says you’re Always the Last to Know? 7pm, tickets from £46.75.

July 22

Davey Reilly: Disposable Camera

The Irish comic, who’s been performing stand-up since the tender age of 18, presents a new hour of comedy at The Stand exploring curiosity, potential, and Russian spies.Show starts 6pm, £5.

July 23

Red Raw

The Stand’s long-running weekly beginner’s showcase is regarded as the best open mic night in the UK. Catch up to ten new acts – some treading the boards for the very first time. This is where everyone starts and it’s your chance to see the stars of tomorrow today. Watch out for older hands dropping in to try out new material too. With host Ro Campbell and headliner Wayne Mazadza Show starts 7.30pm, tickets are a steal at £3.

July 24

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

If you’re a football fan and the World Cup didn’t sate your appetite – and let’s face it, has a footie fan ever said “that’s enough, I think I’ll read a book now”? -– the Filmhouse has a treat for you. They’re showing this 2006 documentary which looks back at the previous year’s Real Madrid vs Villareal game from the perspective of soccer superstar Zinedine Zidane. 6pm, tickets £4.50-£10.

July 25

Edinburgh Food Festival

Celebrate all things great in food and drink as Edinburgh Food Festival returns to George Square Gardens! It’s running through the weekend, with stallholders offering everything from Alandas Gelato and Fish & Chips to Jarvis Pickle pies and Chick & Pea street food. Quenching thirsts throughout the five days are a selection popular drinks brands, including Fyne Ales from Argyll. Open noon-8pm, free.

July 26

This is Your Trial

An improvised live comedy show, this has been running for six years, attracting such luminaries as Al Murray, Marcus Brigstocke, Susan Calman, Clive Anderson and many others. People in the audience accuse each other of stuff. Some get chosen and put on trial. The comedians argue their cases. Consider yourself sent down to the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club at 8.30pm, tickets £5.

July 27

Sir Ranulph Fiennes: Living Dangerously

“The world’s greatest living explorer” (copyright: Guinness Book of World Records), Fiennes was the first person to reach both Poles, the first to cross the Antarctic and Arctic Ocean, and the first to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis. He’s not the first to climb on to the stage of Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, but he is one of the most interesting people; hear him talk about his adventures at 7.30pm, tickets from £23.50.

July 28

Ulster American

Jay is the Oscar-winning actor taking the lead in a new play that connects with his Irish roots. Leigh is the ambitious director who will do anything to get noticed. And Ruth is the Northern Irish playwright whose voice must be heard. Expect fireworks when they meet in the world premiere of the perfectly named David Ireland’s new play at the Traverse, 7.30pm, preview tickets £9/£13.

July 29

Mark Thomas – Check Up: Our NHS at 70

There’s a colon in the title, but how healthy is it? Comic Mark Thomas uses his own demise to explore the state of the NHS and what the future might hold for all of us. Catch him – no, not like a disease – at the Traverse, 7pm, preview tickets £9-£15.

July 30

Den-Building Adventure

Join the tribe for daring daily adventures exploring some of the wildest and most remote corners of the Almond Valley site. Build your shelter, set up camp, forage for food, keep a look out for wild animals and learn how to survive in the wild for, oh, at least half an hour. Runs 10am-5pm until 30 August, £8.50 adult / £6.50 children.

July 31


In a society where private lives become political and freedom of expression is not an option, Irene finds herself imprisoned. As tales of her incarceration spread overseas and her growing exposure becomes a threat, she is forced to make a brutal decision. Typically challenging stuff at the Traverse, courtesy of writer Penelope Skinner. 7pm, preview tickets £9-£15.