When August arrives there’s no better place to be than the Scottish capital. The city of Edinburgh is transformed for the festival season, and with performers descending from all over the world, it’s no surprise the city is buzzing with energy all month long.
Heading to Edinburgh? Hire a car and do it on your schedule, using our top tips to help you dodge the crowds and get the most out of the famous Fringe Festival in style…
Don’t sell out
The most sought-after comedy and theatre gigs will sell out quickly, particularly if the act has received some four star reviews in a trusted festival guide. Luckily, there’s a way to work around it. If there’s a show you’re desperate to see but is all sold out, try calling the venue directly or checking at the box office just before the show. Most acts and venues will set aside a handful of press tickets just in case a journalist or friend of a performer shows up – any unused tickets will be re-released for sale sometimes as close to an hour before the gig begins.
Find cheap tickets
For discounted tickets, make sure you check out the Half Price Hut. Each day, tickets from shows across the city will go on sale for half price for performances that day – everything from comedy, theatre and dance to children’s shows become available. If your goal is to see as much as you possibly can while you’re in Edinburgh, the Half Price Hut is for you. This year, its headquarters are on the Mound, located just off Princes Street beside the National Gallery. It’s open every morning from 10am, and this year is included on the handy Fringe 2014 app (well worth downloading) so you can check out what shows are participating in this special offer.
Go for free
Running alongside the more familiar Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the Free Fringe. You can catch live performances for free around the clock for the entire month of August – magic, music, spoken word, comedy and improv are all on show, and to get involved all you need to do is turn up and get in line. Best to turn up early though – these performances are extremely popular with festival-goers and the most popular performers regularly fill every seat in the house.
Relax in a secret garden
After a long day of show-going, the last thing you want is to fight the crowds just to get a seat or a bite to eat. Away from the well-worn tourist trail there are plenty of exciting pop-up bars and restaurants off the beaten path if you know where to look. Just around the corner from the festival hub of Assembly George Square and the Udderbelly is the Tanqueray Secret Gin Garden – located at the back of 56 North. There are plenty of seats in this charming outdoor space, and hidden away from the busy street it’s safely off the radar of most other festival-goers.
If you fancy living in luxury, the Pommery Champagne Bar is just the ticket. Hidden in plain sight on the Royal Mile, the Signet Library has been transformed for the festival season, offering visitors a calm space to relax and enjoy a glass of bubbly or a bite to eat from the delicious menu. To complete the experience, hire a prestige car and traverse the capital in style.
Sneak outside the city
Edinburgh’s city centre isn’t the only destination for a bit of culture this month. Events like the Fringe by the Sea in North Berwick offer the opportunity to slip away from the crowds and explore this beautiful seaside town. Only 40 minutes from the city, you can grab a hire car in Edinburgh and enjoy the stunning coastal drive. When you get there, the festival’s packed programme of music, comedy, theatre and much more has plenty waiting to entertain you.
Do you have any Fringe Festival hacks? Let us know in the comments below.
Travelling to Scotland? Check out our other guides: