Edinburgh Festivals

In coordination with the Office of International Programs, students attending ICLC during the fall semester may opt to leave for Great Britain a few days earlier than their colleagues to attend the Edinburgh Festivals.  While this program is administered and organized by the Department of Theatre Arts - students from across campus have participated in this short term study abroad opportunity in this magical city.

August is Festival Season in Edinburgh.  There is the highly acclaimed Edinburgh International Festival which brings world class theatre, opera, dance & music to Edinburgh.  This festival was established in 1947. 

That same year, eight groups of performers showed up at the International Festival, uninvited.  This did not stop them and they performed.  This continued until 1958 when the festival fringe society was created.  The Fringe Festival Edinburgh is now considered the worlds largest arts festival in the world.

The Edinburgh Book Festival began in 1983 and now is a key event during festival time in Edinburgh.  An important feature of the Book Festival's program is a high profile debates and discussions series. Each year writers from all over the world gather to become part of this unique forum in which audience and author meet to exchange thoughts and opinions on some of the world's most pressing issues.

Founded in 2004, Edinburgh Art Festival is Scotland’s largest annual celebration of visual art. Uniquely, the festival offers the chance to experience the best contemporary Scottish artists in the context of exhibitions of the most important International artists and movements of the 20th Century and historical periods.

The Festival of Politics is hosted at the Scottish Parliament aims to provoke and inspire people of all ages and from every walk of life to listen, engage and debate. Each year key players in UK politics – politicians, journalists, academics and commentators – who share a common need to speak out about issues of political and social importance, which is why we’re delighted to host the Festival of Politics at the Scottish Parliament. There is an outstanding world press photography exhibit that we visit each year.

The City

Edinburgh is an amazing city divided into two main areas: the medieval Old Town, which straddles the volcanic ridge between the castle and the Palace of Holyrood House.  Original habitation dates to the Bronze age and the road that developed from the ridge to the palace, known as the Royal Mile, developed quickly and with little space to grow out - grew up.  Aspects of this medieval tenement is still intact today and an inspiring part of the city.

The New Town to the north evolved after 1757, when wealthy merchants drained the marshy area, and expanded the city beyond the medieval walls.  This new town was considered the “Athens of the North” and these new inhabitants embraced and fostered all things intellectual and educated.  The New Town contains Britain’s finest concentration of Georgian architecture.  

The Old and New Towns are divided by Princes Street, the city’s biggest thoroughfare and commercial centre, which is close to many of the city’s museums and galleries and is where the train from London drops us off.

We will spend three full days exploring this magical city, seeing some significant sights through a bus tour, a walking tour, and visits to the castle and museums. We will take in the many festivals that make the city come to life in August with world class theatre, opera, music, literature, art and performance.  We will stretch our legs by traversing the Royal Mile, hiking Arthur’s seat and seeing the views of the city from Calton Hill. We will also experience a culture rich with traditions, stories, history and partake in the culinary delights such as deep fried mars bars and haggis!  For JK Rowling fans see where the first and last Harry Potter books were penned, see Platform 9 3/4 as well as the inspiration for Hogwarts.

The Details

Cost - $800 (The honors program subsidizes the cost for participating honors students).

What does it cover?

  • Train from London to Edinburgh and back

  • Accommodations & Breakfast in Edinburgh 

  • The open-top bus tour 

  • The Edinburgh Castle 

  • Performance @ Edinburgh International Festival 

  • Museum of London w/ Historical Movie 

  • Transport from ICLC to Train Station and Back

  • Administrative Fee

What does it not include?

Airfare to London & Transfer from Heathrow
This cost is covered by your plane ticket purchased through ICLC for the group flight.  If not on the group flight we will meet you at Heathrow.

Local transportation in Edinburgh
We are staying close to the center of town, so there should be no need to take a bus or taxi in Edinburgh.

Any food in Edinburgh other than breakfast
The fee includes a good continental breakfast

Tickets to Fringe shows, souvenirs any other incidentals

The Itinerary:

Day 1 
11:00 a.m. - Orientation at ICLC in the Common Room
11:45 a.m. - Group Photo
12:00 p.m. - Transfer to Kings Cross Station via tube
1:00 p.m. - Train to Edinburgh : Waverley Station
5:22 p.m. - Arrive in Edinburgh & walk to hostel
6:00 p.m. - Check-In Hostel
7:00 p.m. - Free Time

Day 2
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Walk to Waverley Bridge (meet in lobby)
9:30 a.m. Bus Tour of Edinburgh (Mac Tours)
10:30 a.m. Walk to Fringe Festival Box Office
11:30 a.m. Free Time
1:00 p.m. Walk Tour  (meet @ Scott Monument) - optional
7:30 p.m. Meet at lobby of Performance Lobby
8:00 p.m. Performance @ International Festival

Day 3
8:00 a.m.  Breakfast
9:00 a.m.  Walk to Castle (meet in lobby)
9:45 a.m. Castle Tour
12:00 p.m. Free Time
8:00 p.m. Optional Performance @ International Festival

Day 4
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:30 a.m. Walk Museum of Edinburgh
10:00 a.m. Museum of Edinburgh (including movie)
11:00 a.m. Walk to Arthurs Seat (meet in museum exit shop)
11:15 a.m. Hike Arthurs Seat (picnic if you like) - optional
12:30 a.m. Free Time
8:00 p.m. Optional Performance @ International Festival

Day 5
6:15 a.m. Breakfast (return keys / come with luggage)
6:45 a.m. Walk to Waverley Station (we will not wait!)
7:30 a.m. Train return to ICLC
11:52 a.m. Arrive London: King’s Cross Station 12:00 p.m. Tube to ICLC
12:30 p.m. TRIP OVER

1. Royal Museum of Scotland - free!
2. National Gallery of Art - free!
3. International Book Festival @ Charlotte Square - free!
4. Holyrood Palace - not free!
5. Edinburgh Ghost Tour @ Mary Kings Close - not free!
6. The Writers’ Museum - not free!
7. The Museum of Childhood - free!

WE need to make a reservation for our rooms early as rooms fill up quickly in Edinburgh, so please let me hear from you as soon as you decide!

The Details

Cost - $800

2022 Dates: August 11th - August 15th


  • Register via International Programs
  • Deposit $500 


  • Pay balance of $300 

Additional Information

If you would like additional information contact Steve TenEyck in Theatre Arts.


Apply Now

If you would like to apply to the Edinburgh trip, please start by filling out the online application. These application materials should be submitted to OIP by the application deadline.