Active Attends: Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Posted by Amy Howerska Top tips
26 7 2016

Active’s Travel & Events team are pros at long haul flights and experiencing exotic locales. Sometimes, though, they forego the airline queues and instead, opt for something spectacular right in their own backyard.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world. In the whirlwind of activity, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with options. With this year's festival fast approaching, we're giving our top tips for making the most of it.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival takes place every August for 3 weeks in Scotland’s medieval capital city. The moment you step off the train at Edinburgh Waverly, you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in a Tolkienesque parallel universe.  From the top of the castle to the bottom of the Cowgate, the air is thick with excitement, flags and flyers. With over 3,000 shows at the festival, it is hard not to get lost in the effervescence and first year drama students.

Make a plan. If you listen to someone on Radio 4 or have a favorite West End performer, chances are they are performing…and their sets will sell out quickly. Book in advance. And remember: some tickets will be released by the venue just before the performance.

When disaster inevitably strikes and you find yourself lost or too late to be admitted into a performance, never fear - it is part of the festival experience. Grab yourself a nice meal in one of the many gastro pubs or gorgeous cafes near the Royal Mile. Many a gem is found by accidentally wondering into venue for some lunch and finding a free show that is devastatingly good, or so overwhelmingly bad it is still equally awe inspiring.

The Free Fringe has erupted over the last few years with huge names performing. If you can’t afford the pricier tickets at one of the big four venues, there’s plenty of quality on the Free Fringe. The Voodoo Rooms have been host to two Perrier winners over the last few years and shows run all day.

The Pleasance Courtyard is also worth a trip. The venue, between the Cowgate and the Parliament, sits in a world of its own, and is considered the heart of the Fringe. It offers specialised beer and gin bars, great street food and an enchanting atmosphere.

When you are sated with your opera, modern dance and gymnastic displays, don’t forget that you are in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Escape the noise. Enjoy a relaxing walk along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh’s river, which offers peace and quiet, and a chance to spot local wildlife. Alternatively, head to the family friendly Book Festival in Charlotte Square or take in the royal view from Greyfriars Kirkyard. Unbeknownst to many, one of the finest views of Edinburgh Castle is from this 16th century graveyard, home to many a notable character. It’s also one of the most haunted places in Scotland.

When it’s all too much after a five hour physical theatre performance of Macbeth, sit outside and watch the world go by from Victoria Terrace, an enclave in the heart of the city that overlooks the Grass Market with cafes and restaurants. It’s a great place to soak up the atmosphere – and a drink or two.

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