18th July 2018

The ultimate cyclist’s guide to the Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Cycling

Ah, the Edinburgh Festival. A time of aspiration for budding young thespians, excitement for the tourists of the world, and trepidation for native Edinburghers. No matter – we’ve carefully put together this Ultimate Cyclist’s Guide to the Edinburgh Festival to help you make the most of August.

Getting into town

“Where to park during the Edinburgh Festival?” is currently one of the top Festival searches on Google.

The answer is obvious: Parking a car anywhere during the Edinburgh Festival is physically impossible. You’d have better luck trying to get a smile out of a Lothian Bus driver. The solution: Cycle into town, cycle home.

Here’s a map of all the ‘proper’ places to lock up your bike. Click on the blue dots to see how many spaces are at each location.

Edinburgh Festival Cycling

And below is a map of all the Festival venues, which are of course all accessible by bicycle. Make sure you have a good quality lock (we like these ones) and don’t leave your bike down any quiet alleyways. It can be a bit busy in Edinburgh so make sure you have a working bell to ping at anyone who needs to be alerted to your presence.

Edinburgh Festival Cycling

Escape from the Festival by bike

The Edinburgh Festival is also the perfect time to get away from the crowds in the centre of town and enjoy other parts of the city/country.

For quiet cycling routes around Edinburgh you can do a lot worse than these Explore Quiet Routes guides by Edinburgh Council and to go further afield you can check out our these great route guides from our customers. Of course, there are the National Cycle Routes and many routes in and around Edinburgh in handy maps by Spokes.

VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

Take a cycle down the promenade at Portobello Beach, just a few miles from Edinburgh city centre | VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

See Festival shows about bicycles

With over a billion shows on during the Festival (probably accurate), there’s no way to effectively choose what you want to see. Solution: Pick a random theme and see a bunch of shows loosely connected to it.

Our theme is ‘bicycles’.

Disclaimer: We haven’t seen these shows, so if they’re terrible it’s not our fault. But if you loved them we’ll take the credit.

The Great Song Cycle, Song Cycle

Musical Theatre/True-Life

“A musical memoir about one woman’s solo bicycle/music tour 1,254 miles down the west coast of the USA.” More…

When: 20-25 August

Where: Venue 38: theSpaceTriplex

How Much: £5-8

The Handlebards: Twelfth Night


“The HandleBards have cycled 1,500 miles from London to Edinburgh, carrying on the back of their bikes all of the set, props and costumes necessary to perform Shakespeare’s most famous comedy. More…

When: 22-26 Aug

Where: Venue 3: Assembly George Square Gardens

How Much: £12 – £15

Go Wild on the National Cycle Network Photo Exhibition


“Visit the Union Canal to experience some breathtaking photos capturing wildlife and scenery that will inspire you to explore the NCN by foot or bike.” More

When: 6-31 Aug

Where: Venue 528:Lochrin Basin

How much: FREE

The Freedom Machine


“This hilarious audio-visual stand-up show celebrates 100 years of women’s suffrage through the revolutionary bicycle, mixing past and present, fact and fiction, personal, political and historical, to explore cyclists, motorists, and feminists” More

When: 1-27 Aug

Where: Venue 6: C venues – C royale

How much: £3.50 – 7.50

Maxine Jones: My Way 62


“Running for Ireland, raising sons, matching socks, getting the gravy right, going on Countdown – Maxine has faced life’s challenges. Now 62, she’s leaving home on a bicycle.” More

When: 4-26 Aug

Where: Venue 158: Whistlebinkies

How much: FREE

Bicycles at Edinburgh Book Festival

Graeme Obree: Rewriting Cycling’s Rulebook *SOLD OUT*

Cycling legend, Graeme Obree, discusses his new edition of The Obree Way with endurance racer and cycle courier Emily Chappell. More

When: 13 Aug

Where: Spark Theatre, George Street

How much: £10-12

Go drinking by bicycle

Drinking is a serious part of cycling; until the 1960s, Tour de France cyclists used to drink alcohol during the race. We prefer to do our drinking afterwards, and here are two excellent bicycle-themed pubs in Edinburgh.



From The List magazine: “The Ventoux is a rare thing in Edinburgh; it’s a pub. It’s not a real ale pub, or a cocktail bar, or a gastropub. It’s just a pub. It doesn’t have a kitchen, or a TV, or a range of artisan bar snacks. It doesn’t even have a Twitter feed or Instagram. It does have a theme of sorts, which, like it’s sister, The Tourmalet in Leith, is borne of owner Murray McKean’s obsession with the Tour de France, so there’s loads of cycling memorabilia and bikes all over the place, but despite this it’s no MAMIL hangout nor a fixie-geeks den.”

Where: 2 Brougham Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9JH – see more



“Named after a notoriously difficult Tour de France mountain climb (and sister to The Ventoux in Tollcross), this cycling-themed bar is a friendly, traditional pub, brimming with character.”

Where: 25 Buchanan Street, Edinburgh, EH6 8SQ – See more

Go bike shopping

Once you’re done doing all the other things on the list, we’d love to see you in our Edinburgh Bruntsfield and Canonmills shops. Come round and say hi!


Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!