In 2020, our Winter festival takes place online. All the information below is relevant to our in-person festivals, which are on hiatus until events can return safely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The festival takes place every year on 31st October, no matter what day of the week it is. We begin our procession at sundown with the lighting of the Neid fire.
At the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh, entering from Regent Road near Waterloo Place.
HOW MUCH ARE TICKETS?
We will announce ticket prices here soon.
There is no need to collect a physical ticket from the box office. All tickets will be emailed to you before the event.
Please note that if advance tickets sell out before the festival, there will be none available at the gate on the day of the event.
IS SAMHUINN FAMILY FRIENDLY?
Families with children are welcome at parents’ discretion. It’s up to you to decide what’s appropriate for the younger members of your family. All children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult and have their own separate ticket. Children under 2 years old go free.
Please see our Accessibility section below for a fuller description of the performance to help you decide whether Samhuinn will be suitable for your wee ones.
We are also hosting a FAMILY SAMHUINN event, which will be a fun afternoon of storytelling and drama games. Details about this will be released soon.
Calton Hill involves a sloping ascent and the festival takes place in darkness with some areas becoming very crowded, so you may want to consider attending with a friend and arriving early to ensure your comfort. Care should be taken moving around the Hill, as the ground away from the paths is uneven and can get a bit slippery if it rains.
Witnesses with mobility considerations often prefer to head straight to the stage area at the beginning to find a great place to watch from. Our friendly stewards will be on hand to help you get situated and give you any information you might need. Look out for the painted people in orange hi-vis jackets.
There will be loud noises, mostly in the form of drumming, and some flashing lights in the form of pyrotechnics and flash photography.
Some costumed performers will be mingling, in character, with our witnesses throughout the evening. There will be some partial nudity.
The festival is stewarded and complies with all relevant health and safety requirements but please be aware that it takes place in the dark with a mobile audience of thousands.
For accessibility-related questions, please email access[at]beltane[dot]org in advance.
The event starts at sundown, so city centre on-street parking will all be off-meter in plenty of time for you to get parked somewhere close by (close by is basically anywhere in the Old Town, or parts of the New Town for a slightly longer walk) and get a good spot on the Hill for the start of the festival. There are also some multi-storey car parks around Edinburgh city centre, but please check closing times and tariffs before choosing one to use.
A taxi will be able to drop you off near the festival entrance at the foot of Calton Hill on Regent Road.
If you’re arriving by rail, Waverley station is the best place to get off the train. The festival’s entrance at the bottom of Calton Hill is a short walk away from the train station.
If you have mobility considerations, especially in relation to making your way up hills, we recommend checking out transport and/or parking information online in advance so you can be sure to get to the festival in the safest, most comfortable way for you.
In Samhuinn’s two decade history, rain has not yet stopped play so even if a wet winter makes an early appearance the festival will still be happening. The procession and stage performance lasts for approximately two hours total and October nights are chilly even when they’re dry, so please wrap up warmly and consider bringing an extra layer or two!
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the city for the night, Visit Scotland‘s accommodation section is very helpful. Please be aware that Beltane Fire Society does not advise on specific travel or accommodation options and we are not affiliated with any organisations that do.
Our witnesses are welcome to take pictures and video at Samhuinn but it is essential that your safety, and that of our performers, is prioritised. This means that audience members with cameras are treated in exactly the same way as audience members without cameras, do not get special access, should not attempt to enter performance spaces (including the procession) and should adhere to advice from our event stewards who are there to help everyone have a safe and happy night.
Our performers will be in character throughout the festival so while some may choose to interact with your and your camera in a manner befitting their performance, many will not. Please respect this and do not try to force performers to behave or react in a certain way so you can shoot a photo or video of them.
Our People, Our City and You
We request that you treat BFS performers and production crew, as well as your fellow audience members and the festival site, with respect and consideration so that we can share our celebration together safely and happily. We are proud to be part of the year-round festival landscape of Edinburgh, keeping our incredible event in the heart of the city, but we do not want to negatively impact our environment or the residents and businesses who are kind enough to welcome us. Please help us by respecting each other and your surroundings.
Featured image by Neil Barton for Beltane Fire Society. All rights reserved.