Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows for the history lover

As you might expect, Edinburgh being a city steeped in history, the Festival Fringe has never been short of shows, events and exhibitions to satisfy the appetite of the history lover.

Bonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: submitted
Bonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: submitted

Fringe 2017 is no exception and there is plenty going on in the capital this summer for those who wish to immerse themselves in a little Scottish heritage.

Here are our top three picks for the history lover.

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Following the unbridled success of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, interest in the story of the Jacobites is at an all-time high. Held at Chambers Street’s National Museum of Scotland until November, there is still plenty time left to go and visit the excellent Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition. The brainchild of curator David Forsyth, the exhibition is the largest of its kind in over 70 years. Dozens of artefacts have been sourced from the National Museum’s own collections, but many more have borrowed from much further afield, with numerous paintings and manuscripts borrowed from public and private collections in the UK and mainland Europe. The exhibition tells the story and background of Scotland’s Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart and his failed attempt to recapture the throne. Left with the most fatal of bloody noses following the disastrous 1746 Battle of Culloden, the story is a painful one, but fascinating and enthralling in equal measure. This is a must-see.

Friday 23 June to Sunday 12 November 2017 £10 (£8)
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh

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Hidden gems don’t come much more resplendent than this. Parliament House was founded as the seat of the Scottish Supreme Courts back in the days when Scotland was an autonomous nation, but fascinatingly it retains a legal purpose to this very day. Tucked away behind the historic St Giles Cathedral on Edinburgh’s High Street, there are parts of Parliament House which date back to the early 17th century. Prepare to be dazzled by grand halls, sumptuous hammer beam roofs and some of the most beautiful stained glass windows you’ll have ever set eyes on. The architecture on display here is just magnificent, and what’s more, you can visit it all for free. Look out for the state of Charles II at the entrance; dating from 1685, it is the oldest statue in Edinburgh.

Friday 4 August to Friday 1 September. Admission free. Please note: Parliament House is closed on weekends.
Parliament House, Parliament Square, Edinburgh

Capturing the ambience and mood from the taverns and alehouses of a bygone century, veteran Scots folk choir Sangstream are well worth the admission fee. Drinkers and Thinkers: The Scottish Enlightenment shines a lantern on the melodies and words - some well-known, others less so - of the Scottish Enlightenment era, a time when Edinburgh was home to the likes of David Hume, Adam Smith and a vast number of other great thinkers and aspiring intellectuals. Sangstream’s material soaks in works by Tannahill, Burns, Lady Nairne and many others. Our only regret is that the show is for one night only – book now before it sells out.

Sunday 13 August £10 (£8)
Association of Ukrainians, 14 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh