Spanning 25 days and featuring more than 50,000 performances of over 3,000 shows across 250 plus venues, the Edinburgh Fringe is the world's largest arts festival. It’s time to find out what’s in store if you visit Scotland's capital in August.
The Fringe started life when some theatre companies turned up uninvited to the first Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. As all the city's major venues were being used by the official festival, these companies found smaller venues for their productions. Since these small beginnings, the Fringe has really established itself as an alternative to the International Festival. While the main festival focuses on established artists, classical music and serious theatrical productions, at the Fringe you’ll find up and coming artists performing everything from comedy to circus tricks. Previous performers at the Fringe have included Rowan Atkinson, Steven Berkoff, Jo Brand, Billy Connolly, Ben Elton and Eddie Izzard.
With it’s open access approach, you’ll find a huge variety of performances at the Fringe. The official programme splits shows into theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. Comedy has dominated in recent years, with the Edinburgh Comedy Awards launching the careers of many big names in British comedy.
Venues come in all shapes and sizes, from regular theatres (such as the Traverse or Bedlam Theatre) to temporary structures (like the Famous Spiegeltent and the Udderbelly). Similarly, ticket prices range from free for some performances to around £30 for bigger names.
With so many shows on offer, it’s impossible to see everything. However, the early bird does catch the worm so make sure you get up early each morning and you’ll have more chance of getting the tickets you really want. If you don’t, there’s always another show to give a go. You may even stumble across the next big thing.
In between shows, make the most of the huge range of food and drink you find in Edinburgh during festival season.
The Fringe is a foodie’s paradise, with food stalls popping up across town. Head to Boxsmall, a popular market that takes over the roof of Waverley Mall in August. Here you’ll find delicious local street food traders, including Jones & Son Bespoke BBQs and Frisky Froyo.
Edinburgh has plenty of great drinking spots to choose from, but if you’re visiting during the Fringe be sure to make the most of all the pop up bars. Previous favourites included the Gin Garden in St Andrew Square and Milk Money Drinks for bottled cocktails and craft beer.
Taking place across a packed Edinburgh in August, be sure to plan your visit to the Fringe.
If you’re driving to Edinburgh, be aware that parking is limited. There are pay and display and car park options, but these tend to fill up quickly.
Edinburgh’s buses cover the city and its outskirts, so venues are never far from a bus stop. If you’re using the bus for more than two journeys, then get a Day ticket or a Day & Night ticket, or even a one-week or four-week bus pass.
Positioned in the heart of the city, Waverley station is close to most of the Fringe festival action. If you need to travel further afield for a show, there are plenty of bus routes stopping on nearby Princes Street.
Whether you're staying in Edinburgh city centre, next to Edinburgh Castle, around Princes Street, or on the outskirts of town, we have the right hotel for you. Flying in on business and we've hotels next to Edinburgh Airport. Looking for a family-friendly hotel for a weekend break and we have those aswell.
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