University to host graduation celebrations at Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh students will be able to celebrate their achievements with friends and loved ones in a series of socially-distanced and Covid compliant events at Edinburgh’s iconic Castle.

McEwan Hall with Edinburgh Castle in Background
McEwan Hall with Edinburgh Castle in Background

Taking place across three days in late August, the celebrations - organised in conjunction with The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Historic Environment Scotland - will recognise the hard work of those students who have graduated over the past year, including graduates from summer/winter 2020.

Earlier this year, Covid forced the University to take the difficult decision to again cancel its normal graduation ceremonies at McEwan Hall. The Castle celebrations, whilst not graduation ceremonies, will provide a special occasion to mark the accomplishments of those who have completed their studies.

Each of the events – taking place on 26, 27 & 28 August – will be available for online booking as of 12:00 pm on Monday 19 July. Each graduate will be able to invite two guests.

Historic venue

Each graduate will be gowned for the event and will pick up their robes at McEwan Hall. Graduates and their guests will then make their way from McEwan Hall to the Castle esplanade.

Graduates and their guests will walk over the Castle drawbridge, proceeding to the magnificent Great Hall, accompanied by performers from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Tattoo dancers, pipers, drummers and fiddlers will provide outdoor entertainment for attendees before students are capped by a senior University representative inside the Great Hall.

Completed in 1511 for King James IV, the Great Hall’s wooden roof is a wonder of medieval construction, with giant wooden beams resting on stones carved with heads and symbols such as the thistle – Scotland’s national flower.

The past 18 months has been an incredibly difficult period for everyone. The fact that our graduates, through their hard work and determination, have been able to finish their studies is a huge achievement and one which they should be justifiably proud of. We hope that by organising these special celebrations amid the splendour of Edinburgh Castle, we can ensure a fitting finale to mark their very significant accomplishments.

Professor Peter MathiesonPrincipal, the University of Edinburgh

Covid compliant

Each event will be limited to around 1,200 graduates, with up to two guests each, and take place mainly outdoors. Beginning at 6:15 pm, staggered start times will ensure a steady flow of people, to minimise the number of attendees on the esplanade at any one time.

The celebrations will be held in line with Scottish Government Covid advice, and will be guided by whatever restrictions are in place at the time. Graduates who are unable to attend these celebrations will be able to attend a future event.

Since cancelling our 2021 August show run, due to ongoing Covid uncertainties, we have turned our attention to supporting other events in the City that have also been hit hard by the impacts of the pandemic. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, and Historic Environment Scotland, on these graduation celebration events for the University this August. Completing university is a huge milestone in anyone’s life, and we hope these events are a welcome celebration after the challenges of the last 18 months. We are confident that this will be a very special experience, safely managed and observing all relevant Covid restrictions.

Buster HowesChief Executive, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Related links

Graduation celebrations at Edinburgh Castle