Facing the Fringe Festival: a travel guide

image2EDINBURGH’S Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of the arts with comedy, theater and music rife in the streets of the capital. If you made it to the Fringe this year, then I hope you enjoyed your trip. If you didn’t, then perhaps you may consider arranging plans to visit next year. Yes, Edinburgh can be expensive, especially during the Fringe, but I assure you it can be done on any budget.

GETTING THERE

Edinburgh is incredibly well connected with the rest of the UK. Trains arrive and depart from Waverley and Haymarket stations frequently. Waverley is situated in the center of Edinburgh – walking distance from the sights and the shops. Edinburgh also has an airport to which there are regular bus connections. Or you can drive, but this may not be quicker than the train, as it depends on where you live.

Top tip: booking trains in advance and with a railcard can make it cheaper.

ACCOMMODATION 

I was lucky enough to know someone who lives in Edinburgh who was willing to let me sleep on her floor. However, there is an abundance of relatively cheap hotels and hostels. Most of these hotels are very central and close to the Royal Mile and Grassmarket. Sharing a room with a friend will also make the bill smaller.

Top tip: again, booking in advance can make things cheaper.

WHAT TO DO

There is always so much to do in Edinburgh, even when the Fringe isn’t on. There’s the Royal Mile, with the castle and Holyrood palace at either end. Arthur’s seat to climb. Princes Street to shop. National gallery and history museum. The Camera Obscura. The Edinburgh Dungeons. Tours of the underground city and ghost walks.

The Fringe means you will probably not do anything you wanted to do in Edinburgh, because you will be given flyer after flyer and be tempted to see plays and comedians you have never heard of. If you are an organised person, you can pre-book things in advance (this is mainly for things that are likely to sell out, like really famous comedians) or you can do what I did and just see what happens. People will ask you to buy tickets for things on the street. There is also a Fringe office on the Royal Mile where you can buy tickets, and a half price hut where we booked to see ‘The Pursuit of Crappiness’ based on its name for a mere £2.50. The comedian Moj Taylor’s Pursuit of Crappiness was a genuine laugh and was well worth the money (I would have paid more to see him). A lot of events are free as well. We went to a screening of an awful 1960s Christmas film of Santa conquering Mars and a group of friends taking the mick. Some events are better than others; some you get what you pay for (or don’t), but generally speaking the standard of performances will be quite good. This is not the first time I have been to the Fringe and the events are different every year. Even if you saw the same show again the chances are it would not be exactly the same.

During the period of the Fringe the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is also on. I didn’t go this year, but I have been and it was fantastic. I would highly recommend going. For this, it is probably best to book in advance as tickets can get pricey and there are usually no seats left.

Top tip: be open minded, because you may see something that you were unsure of and think it was brilliant afterwards. Spontaneity can be good.


 

Earlier this week we interviewed the Exploding Fish society to find out their experiences of Edinburgh Fringe. This can be found here.