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Edinburgh on Film

Edinburgh on Film

Edinburgh Film | The Edinburgh Collection


Where Hollywood meets Holyrood.

Edinburgh is known for its festivals. Most notably, the Fringe Festival. Every year millions of people come to the city throughout the month of August to experience the 70-year-old event. However, the fringe is not the only festival that draws a crowd to the city. Also taking place is the Book Festival and Military Tattoo in August, The Jazz and Blues Festival in July and the International Film Festival in June.

Edinburgh has always been a city that can captivate the tourists who walk down its cobbled streets or peer up at the century-old architecture. The city has a feeling of magic, an air that makes you wonder about the past and gets you curious about the future. So, it does not come as a surprise to know that Edinburgh has been the inspiration for many stories both on the page and on the screen.

To get you ready for the Edinburgh Internation Film Festival, here is a list of the films that use Edinburgh’s unique landscape, buildings and streets.

Trainspotting and T2

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Perhaps the most famous film ‘series’ based and filmed in Edinburgh. The film holds a special place in the hearts of Edinburgh residents as an almost claim to fame. When watching the iconic original film and the recent sequel, look out for the following places; Arthurs Seat, Regent Bridge, Old Town, Scottish Parliment, Forth Bridge and St Stephens Stockbridge.

The DaVinci Code

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Based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. Robert Howard directs Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in this page-to-screen adaptions. The film does not heavily feature Edinburgh. However, it does feature the often overlooked Rosslyn Chapel. The Chapel has its mysteries outside of the movie. Beneath the floor of Rosslyn is a massive underground vault, of which was sealed in 1690 and has remained that way ever since. Of course, as you would expect, there has been a lot of speculation as to what, or who lies within the vault.

Cloud Atlas

Tom Hanks returns to Edinburgh in this mind-bending sci-fi film. This film is an ambitious one in which the story spans five centuries. It is a complicated film to explain, even after viewing you will find yourself confused, yet satisfied. However, if you watch it for just one reason and one reason only. Make said reason Edinburgh. The city is used as a beautiful backdrop to the 19th century period where one of the characters climbs the Scott Monument daily to clear his mind.

(Old Waverley Hotel is the building on the left on the image above)

Sunshine on Leith

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Known as ‘McMamma’ Mia, Sunshine on Leith is a musical comedy that uses the songs of The Proclaimers, of ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ fame. This film is perhaps the most Scottish on this list. Scottish actors, accents, music, setting, clothing and spirit. It is about the characters Davy and Ally, who must relearn how to live in Edinburgh after serving in Afghanistan. It is a ‘Feel-Fabulous Film’ to which Edinburgh is the perfect location.

One Day

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Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess star in this love story about two people from different strokes of life. It is based on the famous novel of the same name, written by David Nicholls. Edinburgh provides a lovely backdrop for the film, and you could argue that it even acts as a supporting character to the characters of Hathaway and Sturgess.

The 39 Steps

Hitchcocks ‘The 39 Steps’ being filmed by Arthurs Seat

A few adaptions of John Buchan’s novel have been made and set in Edinburgh. Most famously, however, is the film ‘The 39 Steps’ by the great Alfred Hitchcock. It is a universally praised film and has been named the 21st greatest British movie ever made, and in 2011 ranked it the second-best book-to-film adaptation of all time.

Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire | Film Edinburgh | The Edinburgh Collection
Eric Liddel (Ian Charleson) talks to Sybil Gordon (Alice Krige) at the foot of famous Edinburgh landmark, Arthurs Seat

This Oscar-winning historical drama about Scottish Olympic athlete, Eric Liddel. The film was released in 1981, but Edinburgh looks almost identical today as it does in the movie. The film follows Eric Liddel, a devout Christian who runs for God and thus refuses to compete on a Sunday and  Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.

The Railway Man

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View from Calton Hill in the film ‘The Railway Man.’

Colin Firth stars in this dramatic war film depicting the life of an Edinburgh-born Railway enthusiast turned POW. Edinburgh isn’t the movie’s main backdrop, no, that honour goes to Thailand, and it’s Burma Railway Line, also known as ‘Bridge of Death’. When Edinburgh is shown, you see the gorgeous views from Calton Hill (as pictured above) and of course, Waverley Railway Station.

Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel Studios | Avengers Infinity War | The Edinburgh CollectionSet Phots! (Left: Royal Mile, Centre Top: Spiderman on the castle, Centre Bottom: Green screen in Waverley Station. Right: Canongate stunt tests)

Anyone who was in Edinburgh throughout March/April 2017. You may have noticed Edinburgh become a huge film set. This was of course for the new film production of Marvel Studios billion dollar blockbuster film Avengers: Infinity War. Eagle-eyed fans may have spotted stars, Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlett Witch) around the city.

One photo that seemed to catch the attention of a lot was that of Tom Hollands Spider-Man atop the Castle. Perhaps preparing for an epic web-sling over the historic Old Town.

Better yet, the film is not just being filmed in Edinburgh. It is going to be set there. The sets were littered with Scottish props and odes to Edinburgh. So, once the movie is released, it should see a huge boom in tourism to the city.

Honourable Mention

Harry Potter Franchise.

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While JK Rowling’s globally recognised stories about the young wizard Harry Potter were no set in Edinburgh and the films were not shot in the city. You can see when walking through the city, where she got the inspiration for her Wizarding World.

5 Things to do in Edinburgh in May 2017

5 Things to do in Edinburgh in May 2017

Edinburgh In May | The Edinburgh Collection

5 things to do in Edinburgh in May 2017

Our picks of family friendly activities to do in the capital this month

With flowers in bloom and the sun creeping out, it would be easy to just walk around Edinburgh without ever noticing all the other events taking place. While that would be great, you would miss out on quite a lot as May promises to be an exciting month in Edinburgh, packed with plenty of family-friendly events. From cunning foxes to LEGO bricks, we have narrowed the many May happenings into 5 must-dos.

Fantastic Mr Fox
(15th – 20th May   |   Kings Theatre)

Edinburgh In May | Fantastic Mr Fox

The Roald Dahl classic has been a family favourite ever since it was published in 1970 and the 2009 Wes Anderson film captured the essence of the book and was a worthy adaption of the novel. Now, the classic story of a smart and witty fox is being adapted for the stage. This show promises to be family friendly fun at it’s finest, After all, this is Roald Dahl. So can it be anything less than fantastic?


The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial
(31st March – 3rd September   |   National Museum of Scotland)

Edinburgh In May | Egyptian Burial

Ancient Egypt has always played host to some of the most fascinating history. The Tomb is no exception. It was built in around 1290BC and was reused for over 1000 years!

The Tomb was constructed shortly after the reign of Tutankhamun, in the great city of Thebes. It was built for the Chief of Police and his wife. As you can imagine, with it being an Egyptian tomb, It was looted and reused several times. However, left behind was a collection of beautiful objects from various eras spanning those 100 years of the tomb. These objects will be displayed alongside objects found in nearby tombs, giving a sense of how burial in ancient Egypt changed over time.

Objects from this tomb and nearby tombs will be on display at the exhibition to give a sense of how Egyptian burial changed over time. It is often that the words education and fun are thrown into the same sentence, but this exhibit does promise to be a fun and educational day out for not just children but adults alike.


EdinBrick: LEGO Model Show
(20th May   |   Summerhall)

Edinburgh In May | LEGO

An event that celebrates the joys of LEGO, both creators and collectors will showcase the models of which they are most proud. There will also be areas for people to play with and experiment with LEGO.  The best part about this is not the fun of playing with LEGO, or the chance to see some fantasbrick displays. No, the best part is that all the profits go to Fairy Bricks, a charity that is brightening the lives of sick children through LEGO.


Festival Of Museums
(19th – 21st May   |   Numerous Locations)

Edinburgh In May | Festival of Museums

The festival of museums is, well, just that. It is a series of events taking place during both day and night. Including workshops, exhibits and even fashion shows. The events are hosted in museums, not just in Edinburgh, but all over Scotland.

However, Edinburgh museums specifically have announced a couple of their themes. On Saturday 19th May the City Art Centre will plan a day of creative workshops around the theme of ‘The Enchanted Garden’, whilst on Sunday 20th May the Museum of Edinburgh will hold an afternoon celebrating the music, food and costume of the 18th century.


Fair Trade Fiesta
(13th May   |   Royal Mile and Princes Street Gardens)

Edinburgh in May | Fair Trade

Fair Trade Fiesta is not for just select people, it is for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. The fiestas reason for being is to raise more awareness of World Fair Trade Day and, also, Scotlands recent renewal of Fair Trade Nation status and of the  Fair Trade Movement. It supports and makes others aware of its cause through a delightfully vivid Carnival Parade and an entertaining (and free) five-hour Concert with the renowned Red Hot Chilli Pipers headlining the event and a further 200+ performers.



Whisky Month

Edinburgh in May | Whisky Month

Whisky is Scotland’s national drink, and we love it so much that each year we dedicate a whole month to it! May is officially Whisky Month, with World Whisky Day on 20th May.

Pop into one of our hotels for a wee dram of whisky.

Also, don’t forget the following events this May;

Imaginate Children’s Festival – 27 May – 4 June:

European Rugby Challenge Cup Final – 13 May, Murrayfield:

Edinburgh Marathon Festival – 27-28 May:

The Ingliston Revival Festival – 13-14 May:

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival – 26-28 May: