Interinaries,  Scotland

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: A Complete Guide for First Timers


Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the worlds largest arts festival, thousands of performers over three weeks during August, take to the stages of the city to perform for every taste in arts and culture.

Here’s our top tips when planning your trip to the festival:

Accommodation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Book your accommodation first and well in advance if you can, this is when you will get the cheapest deal. The Fringe Festival is very popular and therefore accommodation prices in Edinburgh skyrocket throughout August!

However, you can use Booking.com to find the best deals. Although we always used Booking.com, we stayed at an apartment that we booked through Airbnb.com this time, which we can recommend. We stayed here.

If using booking.com look for the student accommodation as this usually is your cheapest option during August.

Be prepared for the weather in Edinburgh

Although Edinburgh Fringe takes place in the summer. Sill, check the weather forecast for the dates you are planning to go! But ALWAYS take waterproofs with you – Scotland can be very rainy (even in the summer!)

For instance, we went for 7 days and it rained everyday… and when it rains, it pours!

However, when it didn’t rain it was sunny and warm, so also prepare for the sunshine when packing too! (The rain doesn’t spoil the fun in Edinburgh!)

So we suggest you pack: light waterproof coat, waterproof shoes, light summer clothes for underneath, sunglasses, and an umbrella.  (that’s Scotland for you!)

The colorful city at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The Shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

First things first, when it comes to the shows, pick up a FREE Fringe Book. This has all the shows in and they are also colour coded to categories to make it super easy to choose what you want to go and see! Also download the FREE Fringe App which you can browse shows and schedule the ones that interest you.

But, we recommend you go and see free shows (donations are always welcome and encouraged!) this way if you enjoy the show you can pay what you can afford or what you think the show deserved and if you didn’t enjoy the show, well, you don’t have to pay.

More on the shows…

Also, go and see taster shows! Taster shows are well, what it says on the tin! They are little tasters of the acts, that usually charge a fee. This way you get to see what the show is all about before committing to buying a ticket, and if you enjoy it and it leaves you wanting to see more – go ahead and book a ticket!

Further, If the show you want to see is sold out – go ahead and wait in the que anyway. Some people buy tickets and don’t turn up for whatever reason. So, if there is a space after the people with tickets go in, you will get to go in too!

When the rain isn’t pouring (it will be pouring a lot!) make the most of the buskers on the streets of Edinburgh. There are lots of acts that perform outdoors for free and most of them are just as good as the indoor acts, or even better! (donations for these acts are also very welcome – but not mandatory, so you pay what you can afford).

Budgeting tips

If like us, your going to The Fringe Festival on a budget, one great thing to do is make a packed lunch!

We made up sandwiches or wraps each day for our lunch, this was great for saving on buying all our meals out. The restaurants and cafes in Edinburgh can be quite expensive and it adds up if you go for a few days (we went for 7) and eat all your meals out. Another reason this was a great idea, is because we didn’t have to miss out on the festival while eating lunch! We often ate while watching an outdoor act or sometimes even in a venue (shhh!) 

We also took snacks and drinks (mainly water) to keep us going throughout the day so that we could spend the full day out, without returning to our apartment.

Shows we saw:

Plus many amazing street performers as well!

Some extra notes and tips

Check the show title and door number…

Always check the show title and door number before going in! We didn’t once (hence this tip) we were really looking forward to seeing a great magician that we’d heard so much about, yet, we ended up in a completely different show! Take this tip, or waste an hour of your life (and your time at the fringe) you won’t get back! Don’t get us wrong, the people who intentionally went to that show, seemed to enjoy it, but we all have different tastes for a reason.

Try to go during the week…

If you have the option to go to The Fringe during the week, do! As mentioned earlier it is extremely busy, so as you can imagine the weekends are even busier than in the week.

Don’t plan to go in August as a general tourist

If you want to do touristy things while in Edinburgh, August is not the month to go! Not only is the city packed with people enjoying The Fringe, but the Edinburgh Tattoo is on during this time too, so as you can imagen it gets super busy everywhere.

Book your accommodation:
Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation prices.
They consistently find the cheapest rates on everything from hotels to full apartments and even provide a price match service.
Shop essentials for your trip.
Shop on Amazon.com to buy everything you need for your adventure.
They provide fast shipping and you will pretty much find everything you need here
Some of our links are affiliate, therefore we may earn a small commission when you shop through our site, this doesn’t cost you any extra. Thank you for using our recommendations.

Thank you for reading! We hope you found this blog helpful. Have you been to The Edinburgh Fringe? if so, let us know which shows you recommend in the comments.

Lu & Ad


If you enjoyed this blog read ‘Lu’s P.O.V on day one at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival’

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