Edinburgh Fringe Festival Ultimate Guide
I can’t believe it’s been nearly a whole year since Edinburgh Fringe 2016… I’m still reminiscing about it! It is really one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to and what started off as a few days in Edinburgh turned into most of the 3 weeks travelling back and forth from Glasgow. It really has something for everyone from music and drama to comedy and interactive classes – Glastonbury eat your heart out! Before going last year, I had so many questions like, where to stay, what to do, how do I even get tickets? I had a great experience once I figured it all out and this is how you can too…
What is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
All you could ever want (and more)! There are all forms of the creative arts and some great street food and drinks too. The festival runs from 4th-28th August and this year marks the 70th Anniversary, the events run nearly 24 hours of the day. The streets of Edinburgh are alive during the festival with street performers and street artists busking, venues all over the city are filled with talented performers at the events.
How to get to Edinburgh?
Well, being so close to Edinburgh in Glasgow I had a few options between bus, train and car – all have their advantages and disadvantages which I worked out over the course of the festival having tried every option. And obviously there are choices for those from further afield – plane or boat. Before booking your travel to Edinburgh make sure you check accommodation first, it is notoriously difficult to get during the festival.
- Car – a solution that seems simple but also can be a bit of a headache. With a car, you can get there quicker and potentially cheaper but parking can be a nightmare around the fringe because so many areas are closed off and overnight parking can be so expensive! So before driving make sure you have somewhere you can leave your car during your stay in Edinburgh.
- Bus – a cheap option for those travelling from Edinburgh to Glasgow. The megabus is your best friend and is sometimes only £1 return when booking online… what a bargain! You can get a bus to Edinburgh from all over Scotland and there is even a National Express Bus from London to Edinburgh which is really cheap. No matter where you are travelling from the money you spend to get to Edinburgh is worth every penny to experience this spectacular festival.
- Train – my personal favourite, reliable and generally comfortable. The train services from Glasgow to Edinburgh are extended during festival time but do try to make the last train home or you’ll be searching for somewhere to stay in a busy city!
- Boat – the boat may be an option for those travelling from North & South of Ireland. The ferry from Cairnryan to Glasgow can come quite cheap for a foot passenger and you can book rail and sail right through to Edinburgh.
- Plane – for those coming from further afield, Edinburgh Airport has many flights from across UK and Europe. So, this might be your best option if you’re coming from further afield. The tram from the airport leads right into the city as well!
Where to stay in Edinburgh during The Fringe?
During my time at the festival I stayed with different friends and kind of sofa jumped for the month but a few times I looked into staying in hotels, B&B’s and even rented student accommodation. Some of the options were reasonably priced (with some hostels coming in at the cheapest). So really the moral of this is to look around and see what you can budget for accommodation.
Here are your accommodation options:
- £££: Edinburgh hotels
- £££: Edinburgh Festival property rentals
- ££: Bed & Breakfast’s in Edinburgh
- £: Edinburgh hostels
- Free: If you’re lucky, friends or family (you can pay them with nice food and drinks throughout the festival).
How to buy tickets?
Tickets can be found online on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival website – but be warned there are so many events you could spend hours searching through the Fringe Programme. You can simply search on the website for ‘Comedy’ or ‘Music’ and find what you are looking for that little bit easier. I planned some things in advance of what I would go see when at the Fringe but often I took it a day at a time – the free events are surprisingly good! Street performers also capture your attention, you’ll find walking down one street will take you twice as long as it would normally – there is so much to take in and appreciate.
Top Tip: Make sure to check out the Half Price Hut on the Mount Precinct in Edinburgh to get great deals on tickets during the fringe.
What to do in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival?
If you’ve got a break in your day don’t worry Edinburgh has plenty to offer for tourists (and locals alike). Although the festival is on, the city still has its lively tourist attractions open.
Here are some of my top picks for what to do in Edinburgh:
- Edinburgh Dungeons Tour – an afternoon of entertainment (but might be a little scary for younger ones), with re-enactments and stimulations to make you feel like you’re really back in time in the Dungeons. My friends and I laughed until we cried… and we were a wee bit afraid too!
- Auld Reekie Tours – if you not afraid of the supernatural then you have to experience the scariest and most notoriously haunted underground locations in Edinburgh.
- Edinburgh Castle – learn about the history of Edinburgh and this beautiful castle, I remember doing this tour when I was young and it was fascinating and even more so now as an adult.
- Real Mary King’s Close – discover Edinburgh deepest secret, a hidden network of streets and homes frozen in time buried beneath the city!
- Edinburgh Night Walking – This was such an interesting tour and also rather scary down in the Underground Vaults. Definitely something worth looking into when you’ve got an evening free in Edinburgh.
- Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tours – These tours are great and I highly recommend them. I’ve experienced them from Berlin to London and now Edinburgh. It means you have full freedom to explore the city as you can jump off at every attraction on the way.
So here I am… nearly a year on and still reminiscing about the amazing memories I had at last year’s festival. If that’s not testimony as to why I’m going again this year then I don’t know what is!
I am a massive music lover with a goal to attend every festival I can get tickets for, as well as travelling the world… but on a student budget. I love watching travel videos and seeing other people’s pics for inspiration on where I should go next – I’ll just keep saving for that round the world trip!