Edinburgh Festival 2011

The Scottish capital will once again play host to the biggest cultural event in the world. Each August millions of visitors flock to Edinburgh, doubling the city's population overnight, and transforming it from a laid-back historic city into a centre of cultural celebration.

Edinburgh Festival street performers
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Edinburgh festival is made up of a series of festivals and events, allowing you to pick and choose from the very best of classical music, opera, dance, theatre, art, films, books, comedy, street entertainment and more. That's not to mention the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a soldiers' parade of music, dance and athleticism on the Castle Esplanade that's grown into one of the most popular events, selling more than 200,000 tickets each year.

With such a packed schedule, the hardest thing can be choosing what to see and when.

The festival takes place in several sites around the city, the main one being The Hub, which is a remarkable building not far from Edinburgh Castle. Its huge gothic spire can be seen for miles around. Other notable venues for the festival are Usher Hall, Festival Theatre, The Edinburgh Playhouse, Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Queen's Hall.

This year the Edinburgh International festival celebrates the "vibrant and diverse cultures of Asia and the long-standing influences on the cultural landscape of the West," and promises an unforgettable three weeks of the very best in international opera, music, theatre, dance and visual arts.

Not to be missed is the ballet adaptation of The Peony Pavilion, 13-15 August, Edinburgh Festival Theatre (0131-473 2000). The National Ballet of China brings this classic Chinese love story to life with lavish sets and sumptuous costumes. Set to an enchanting original score performed by a symphony orchestra with traditional Chinese instruments, it's the perfect choice for ballet-lovers of all ages.

The highlight for theatre goers will undoubtedly by One Thousand and One Nights. Tim Supple's re-imagined ancient and adult stories told by the desperate Queen Shadrazad to keep her husband from chopping off her head, are being performed 21 August to 3 September at the Royal Lyceum, (0131-473 2000).

There's a packed schedule for classical music lovers and opera fans. One of the most opulent of Richard Strauss's operas, Die Frau ohne Schatten promises a night to remember, 1‑3 September, Festival theatre (0131-473 2000).

As well as all the performances, festivalgoers will also be able to attend talks and workshops about the different arts. And if you find yourself overdosing on culture, you can always step out of the International Festival and find comedy, film, books and street performers amongst many other things in the Edinburgh Festival that takes place at the same time.

Comedy lovers will be treated to laugh-out-loud performances from Josie Long, the queen of sweet-natured stand-up, Tim Key, the winner of the comedy award two years ago, Phill Jupitus, Margaret Cho and Ian D Montfort, to name a few.

Book lovers meanwhile, can look forward to talks and workshops from big name authors including Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods, Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient, plus Will Self and Carol Ann Duffy.

For more information on the different events and festival and planning your trip visit: http://www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk/

Have you been to the Edinburgh festival before - are you planning to go this year? Leave a comment below...