Today I have a guest post by Greg from My Job in Australia. Greg loves to travel with his two nephews and I’m excited to have him contribute on my site! Please read on for Greg’s post about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland 🙂
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the most important cultural events in Scotland, and the largest arts festival in the world. Organised in parallel with the Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe hosts many artistic performances of high quality. You can discover many avant-garde artists, stand-up comedians or amateur theatre groups. There are so many interesting shows that it’s essential you get the program once you arrive in Edinburgh.
The Fringe is renowned worldwide for its street performances, its many shows and outdoor concerts. It was launched in 1947, along with the Edinburgh International Festival. It was a post-war initiative to reunite European countries. Even Hollywood stars joined the party!
The Fringe is the star of summer festivals in Edinburgh
Many festivals take place during the summer in Edinburgh, when the weather is warmer. This year, the festival takes place between the 5th and 29th of August.
The city plunges into a festive atmosphere. It’s electric, really different. The population triples in size, people stick together, talk, have fun and play. It’s a very unique experience.
How to prepare your trip to the Fringe?
The booking website is very easy to navigate, and will provide you with all the necessary inspiration in choosing the right show for you.. Then, you only need to go to one of the distribution points in the city.
The choice of shows on offer is so immense, that it can be a little overwhelming: 3000 events are scheduled this year. Most of the shows cost less than £10, and the street performances are free!
To save money, you can enjoy the 2 for 1 days, which are the first Monday and Tuesday of the Fringe. Basically, with most shows, if you buy a ticket, the second is free. You can also become a Friend of the Fringe: you have to make a donation to the festival (from £30, but the more you give, the more benefits you’ll get.) That way, you’ll get priority access to shows (say goodbye to waiting in line!) and a 2 for 1 offer on most shows. I got this offer in 2015, but not in 2016. Big difference! Oh yes, don’t forget to be friendly and smiley! If people like you, they may offer you a ticket for free! (I’m not kidding.)
Don’t overdo it with the shows. Five shows a day is fun on the first day, but it’s too much to do every day. A maximum of three shows a day should be fine (more in the afternoon and evening, mornings being quieter unless you go see kiddie shows). Often, you’ll be given a free ticket for an improvised show, or maybe you’ll just want to stop by and have a drink.
The festival always presents an award, the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award, which recognises artistic productions that promote sustainable development through public awareness, taking into account their environmental, economic and social impacts, and their defence of a committed vision on art as a vector of sustainable development. This award, launched in 2010 at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is organised as part of the partnership between the Scottish organisation “Creative Carbon Scotland” and the United States’ “Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA).”
How to get to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
By train – Edinburgh is less than 4h30 by train from London Kings Cross station. You can find good prices on Trainline.
By car – it’s very hard to park your car as Edinburgh is so busy during summer. But you can book a parking space in advance for a very good price with YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
Where to sleep?
The number one priority is to find accommodation that does not cost the earth, but that is also not located more than 1 hour from the city centre. And for that, there is one solution: don’t do things at the last minute. If you can’t find a hotel at a decent price, Airbnb is always there to help. Here are a few hotels:
Where to eat?
££ The Kitchin
What should you bring with you?
This question comes up every time I go to Scotland with friends. “Should I bring a suitcase or a backpack?” “Light or warm clothes?“ In my opinion, you shouldn’t pack too much because you will come back with bottles of whiskey, Scottish shortbread and maybe some haggis. I would bring a light suitcase with a few pairs of jeans, t-shirts and a few sweatshirts, because the weather is very changeable. And don’t forget the odd flowery dress for the few days when it’ll get sunny. Oh yes, bring a raincoat because it rains a lot in Scotland.
Enjoy the Edinburgh Festival Fringe!