Where can you participate in a traditional Scottish ceilidh in Edinburgh?

A blend of music, dance, and hearty laughter, a ceilidh is a quintessential Scottish experience that should not be missed. Originating from the Gaelic word for 'gathering' or 'party', these social events are deeply embedded in Scotland's folk culture. Whether you're a local or a tourist, a ceilidh offers an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in traditional Scottish music and dance. In this article, we will explore some of the best places in Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, where you can participate in a lively and entertaining ceilidh.

The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society

The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) is a fantastic place to start your ceilidh journey. Known for preserving traditional Scottish dances, RSCDS hosts regular ceilidhs in Edinburgh. You'll find both beginners and seasoned dancers swirling around the dance floor to the rhythm of traditional folk tunes played by a live band.

The Society also conducts dance classes, so don't worry if you are new to ceilidhs. They will guide you through the steps, ensuring you are ready to join the dance floor with confidence. Participating in their ceilidhs not only allows you to experience traditional Scottish dancing but also connects you with a vibrant community of dance enthusiasts.

The Ceilidh Club at Summerhall

Next, we have the Ceilidh Club at Summerhall, a renowned arts venue in Edinburgh. Known for its vibrant atmosphere and a great mix of locals and tourists, the Ceilidh Club promises an unforgettable night of music and dance. Their ceilidhs are typically held every Friday and Saturday night, offering plenty of opportunities to join in the fun.

The Ceilidh Club emphasises an inclusive and welcoming environment, making it a perfect choice for beginners. They provide a 'caller' – a person who calls out the dance steps in time with the music – ensuring everyone can follow along, regardless of their dancing ability.

Ceilidhs at The Charteris Centre

The Charteris Centre, located in the heart of Edinburgh, is another popular venue for ceilidhs. Serving as a community hub, the Centre hosts a variety of events, including traditional ceilidhs. These events often feature local bands known for their lively folk tunes that invigorate the atmosphere.

At the Charteris Centre, ceilidhs are about more than just dancing. They focus on fostering community spirit, with an emphasis on fun and inclusivity. This venue is an excellent choice if you're looking for a ceilidh that combines a traditional Scottish experience with a warm, community-centred approach.

Edinburgh Ceilidh Club at The Counting House

The Edinburgh Ceilidh Club hosts ceilidhs every Tuesday night at The Counting House, a historic venue in Edinburgh's Old Town. The Club prides itself on hosting authentic Scottish ceilidhs, complete with a live band playing traditional folk music.

What sets the Edinburgh Ceilidh Club apart is its dedication to promoting local talent. They regularly feature a wide variety of bands and musicians from across Scotland. By attending their ceilidhs, you're not only guaranteed a fun-filled night of dancing but also the opportunity to support local artists.

Ceilidhs at Ghillie Dhu

Our final recommendation is Ghillie Dhu, a stylish bar and restaurant situated at the West End of Edinburgh. Ghillie Dhu is renowned for its ceilidhs, held every Friday and Saturday night in their stunning auditorium. With its beautifully restored auditorium, Ghillie Dhu offers a unique and glamorous setting for a ceilidh.

The band at Ghillie Dhu plays a mix of traditional and contemporary Scottish tunes, providing a vibrant backdrop for the dances. Their ceilidhs are suitable for all levels of experience, with a dedicated 'caller' to guide you through the steps.

In conclusion, attending a ceilidh is an experience like no other. It offers the chance to immerse yourself in Scottish culture, meet new people, and most importantly, have a great time. Whether you're a seasoned dancer or a complete beginner, the ceilidh venues in Edinburgh cater to all levels and preferences. So don't hesitate, grab your tickets, gather your group of friends, and prepare to dance the night away at a traditional Scottish ceilidh!

Annasach Ceilidhs at The Counting House

Annasach, an established ceilidh band, hosts traditional ceilidh nights at The Counting House, the same historic venue where the Edinburgh Ceilidh Club organises its events. Annasach, meaning 'unusual' or 'unconventional' in Gaelic, lives up to its name by delivering a unique blend of traditional and contemporary Scottish music that fills the dance floor with energy and life.

One of the main attractions of Annasach's ceilidhs is the band's commitment to keeping ceilidh dancing accessible to all. With an experienced 'caller' to guide participants through the dances and a band that expertly adjusts the pace of the music to match the skill level of the dancers, Annasach ensures that everyone, regardless of their dancing ability or experience, can enjoy the ceilidh to the fullest.

In addition to their regular ceilidhs, Annasach also organises special ceilidhs to celebrate significant Scottish events like Burns Night, St Andrew's Day, and Hogmanay. These special events offer a fantastic opportunity to participate in a traditional Scottish celebration while enjoying a lively night of ceilidh dancing.

White Heather Ceilidh at Portobello Town Hall

Last but not least, we have the White Heather Club at Portobello Town Hall, located a short distance from the city centre. The White Heather Club hosts regular ceilidh nights that are popular among both locals and visitors. Their ceilidhs feature a live ceilidh band that plays a captivating mix of traditional Scottish tunes and modern reinterpretations.

The White Heather Club places a strong emphasis on community and inclusivity, ensuring that everyone feels welcome to join the dance. The venue itself, Portobello Town Hall, adds to the charm of the event with its beautiful hall that perfectly accommodates the lively atmosphere of the ceilidh.

Another key factor that makes the White Heather Ceilidh nights stand out is their commitment to supporting local charities. A portion of the proceeds from each ceilidh night goes to a selected local charity, making it a fun and meaningful way to engage with the local community.


In the heart of Scotland's capital, ceilidh venues abound, each offering its unique take on this traditional Scottish event. From the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and the Ceilidh Club at Summerhall, to the Charteris Centre, Ghillie Dhu, and beyond, Edinburgh is a city alive with the music and dance of its cultural roots.

Whether it's your first time trying ceilidh dancing or you're a seasoned dancer, there's a ceilidh in Edinburgh that's perfect for you. These events offer more than just a dance; they offer an opportunity to immerse oneself in the Scottish traditions, to connect with a diverse community, and to support local artists and charities. So, ready to put on your dancing shoes? A traditional Scottish ceilidh in Edinburgh awaits you!