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Public holidays

Edinburgh's approach to public holidays, known in the UK as bank holidays, is deeply confused. Some businesses observe the Scottish system of local holidays, where different cities take breaks at different times; others hold to the fixed calendar of dates observed across the border in England.

Fortunately, the only public holiday likely to trouble a visitor to the Festival is the Summer Bank Holiday. In 2013, much of Scotland observes a public holiday on 5 August, while the English equivalent falls on 26 August.

Paradoxically, neither the 5th nor the 26th is an official holiday in Edinburgh, though the large number of local residents working for companies based elsewhere means that both dates are widely observed in the city. Visitors from England should be particularly aware that, although the official end of the Fringe is on the (English) Bank Holiday Monday of 26 August, many of the major venues close a day early on Sunday 25.

On both the Scottish and the English holiday dates, the city is liable to be a little busier and some smaller businesses will be closed. Buses will run to a weekend timetable, and you may be unable to change money at banks, although (of course) your ATM card will work as normal. Other than these minor inconveniences, you'll find that most shops and all restaurants are open.  Life for a visitor continues pretty unchanged.

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When August comes

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