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Beltane Fire Festival Edinburgh, UK - 30 April 2017


Getting There

Getting There

nearest bus station:
Edinburgh Elder St. Station

shuttle bus:
Walk from Princes Street to Calton Hill & the National Monument = Acropolis

nearest airport:
Edinburgh (EDI)

nearest train station:
Edinburgh Waverley Station



Pay per event
change currency
Prices in the table are quoted in GBP
1-day pass10Beltane Fire Festival ticket - at the gate
1-day pass8Beltane Fire Festival ticket - advance purchase
Beltane Fire Festival Tickets
  • Buy tickets via tickets-scotland, but they must be picked-up in person - £8
  • Buy Beltane Fire Festival tickets at the gate - if available - £10
Age Restrictions
  • There are no age restrictions, but the Beltane Fire Society advises parental discretion:
  • "The event and performance contains semi-nudity, and uninhibited behaviour."
  • "The event space is dark, busy, and noisy."
  • Minors must be with an adult.
  • Everyone pays full price.

Beltane Fire Festival

Beltane Fire Festival

Beltane Fire Festival icon

Edinburgh, UK

Calton Hill
55.955350, -3.182513
type of festival
rituals & traditions
other events
music: acoustic & instrumental, brass & marching band, traditional, tribal; religion: spiritual
start Sun, 30 April 2017
end Sun, 30 April 2017

Beltane Fire Festival: Blazing Rituals

Beltane Fire Festival, formed by the Beltane Fire Society, displays culture, heritage, literature and the spirit of Gaelic mythology. 300 volunteers ignite the birth of summer with a drum led procession followed by stilt walkers, clowns, fire spinners, dancers, stage fighters, acrobatic acts, colossal puppetry & story tellers all in historical and mythical dress, culminating at a blazing bonfire. Beginning at sundown with entertainment until 1:30am, 10,000 fans watch the May Queen & Green Man and the characters linked to their journey, on stage fights with mythical monsters, celebrating newborn summer and fertility of land. Steeped in tradition with fun + absurdity at the heart, heritage comes alive on Calton Hill in Edinburgh Scotland.


Beltane Fire Festival: Blazing Rituals

Beltane Fire Festival is the culmination of artists and community bought together to celebrate the beginning of summer and the cycles of nature, deeply routed within an understanding of Gaelic heritage and culture. The costumes and parade are an attraction in and of themselves, with 300 volunteers dressed up as spirits and sprites in a Scottish interpretation of a mystic circus. With man-mounted-stag-heads and surrealistically large monsters, the procession moves up the hill to the pounding beat of the drums and follows the journey of the May Queen and Green Man.

Fire is at its heart, beginning at sundown the parade is lit with torches, fire dancers and fire jugglers, all building up to the final bonfire which lights the park up for a view of the entire show. The passion and energy of the volunteers makes the event an all encompassing and spiritual wonder, with ostentatious costumes and dance that draws fans into an almost realistic surrealist night of outdoor, bizarre debauchery covered in what must be Edinburgh’s entire supply of body paint.

Heritage & Tradition

Marking the start of the start of summer and revelling in the fertility of the land, Beltane (or, ‘bright fire’) was a ritual casting off of darkness for Scotland’s ancient ancestors. Beltane Fire Society have embraced and reinterpreted this tradition since 1988 to follow the story of The Green Man and May Queen, where the Green man is stripped of his Winter form before being resurrected through a ritual performance created by acrobats and dancers, and finally lighting the bonfire to welcome summer.

Beltane Fire Fest brings Gaelic history to life with a surreal and explosive Calton Hill blaze!

contributor: Ashley Lampard
published: 01 April 2016
updated: 20 August 2016
Age: Family, an adult oriented event, but minors may attend if accompanied by a parent or guardian
beltane, beltane fire, beltane fire fest, beltane fire festival edinburgh



General: biggest in the world, popular, best in the world
Ambiance: outdoor, urban, street
Features: bizzare, self-expression, rituals, debauchery, partying, self-discovery, live music & shows, street parties

Beltane Fire Festival Details

BFF schedule may change from year to year.

Times are not exact. This is a general schedule:

  • 8.00pm – Calton Hill gates open
  • 9.15pm – Neid Fire lit on Acropolis* + May Queen arrives
  • 9.30pm – Procession starts
  • 9.45pm – Procession arrives at Fire Arch
  • 10.00pm – Procession arrives at Air Point
  • 10.15pm – Procession arrives at Water Point
  • 10.30pm – Procession arrives at Earth Point
  • 10.45pm – Procession arrives at Fire Point & Reds charge at Whites
  • 11.00pm – Procession arrives at Red Slope & Reds and Beasties perform
  • 11.15pm – Procession arrives at the stage for Green Man’s death and rebirth
  • 11.30pm – Bonfire is lit by May Queen
  • 12.00am – Reds and Whites dance at Bower*
  • 1.30am – The End
  • * varied performances at Bower
  • * varied performances at the Acropolis
  • + roaming street performers around Calton Hill.

The Acropolis is actually the "National Monument".


Rate & Review

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Beds & Eats


Beltane Fire Festival Edinburgh Accommodation
Other Edinburgh Lodgings 


Eats & Drinks: Bars, Restaurants, Food Stalls, Water
Fresh & Clean: Toilets
Cash & Shops: Cash, Shops
Zone In & Out: no
Accessibility: yes
Beltane Fire Festival Amenities
  • It’s Edinburgh. There’s everyting.
  • From 8pm till 1:30am there are eats & drinks from food trucks at the top of Calton Hill - even hot soup! 
Edinburgh Public Toilets



start Sun, 30 April 2017
end Sun, 30 April 2017
Beltane Fire Festival Date
  • BFF is held on the night of April 30th.

Season & Weather

Season: Spring
Temperature: 3 to 11 °C

Weather in Edinburgh during April is chilly if not downright cold. It’s also wet, and may be a tad breezy atop Calton Hill - but that doesn’t mean anyone needs an umbrella, winter coats or wellies- just a nice thick coat of body paint, a few sips of Guinness while dancing by the fire, and maybe a nice cup of hot soup from a food truck!





Beltane Fire Society: Room 1.01, St Margaret’s House, 151 London Road, Edinburgh, UK.


beltane fire festival handler