Last year I managed to get over to Edinburgh for the Fringe a few times. It is an incredible festival that can easily feel overwhelming. I am by no way an expert on the Fringe or Edinburgh (despite living there for four months, I still get lost on every visit) but these may help you.
My top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Prepare for the weather: Dress warm
I lived in Glasgow when I visited the fringe and thought I had guessed the weather right. Glasgow was warm and sunny which I thought would mean the same for Edinburgh, after all they always seem to have better weather in the east. I was wrong, it was extremely windy, how could I have forgotten it was always windy in Edinburgh. We had barely seen anything except the Virgin Media half price hut when I headed off in the direction of H & M. Prepare for it to be windy whether the sun is out or not!
Don’t wear shoes you haven’t worn in, you will walk a lot: Wear comfy shoes
The first day we went to the fringe I got my foot wear right: trainers. Fast forward a few days and I returned wearing my Dr Martens which were less than a week old. I had worn them three or four times that week and was convinced that I had worn them in. Turns out I hadn’t and half way through the evening my feet began to complain. So much so I choose to see a show much closer than my original plan. Luckily for me I had spare shoes in the car, but if you don’t have that luxury wear something comfy.
Carrying on from the point above, Edinburgh Fringe is very spread out, you couldn’t visit every venue in a day so don’t bother trying. Do check how far away your venues are from each other – probably before you book the shows – because sometimes the distances are further than you realise. Once you have checked the distance be sure to check you know how to get there. Edinburgh is built on several different layers, so roads that look like they join up on a map probably won’t in real life. I would certainly suggest taking a map with you or better still getting someone who knows the city to show you around, which is exactly what I did. When I did walk around on my own I only ended up lost, even know I thought I knew the city well enough.
Restaurants are busy, book head, be prepared to queue or purchase food from street stalls
I was wandering around on my own, getting a little lost and was absolutely starving. I checked a few cafes/restaurants but at 7pm they were either closed or extremely busy. I wandered trying to find some street stalls remembering I had seen some earlier but got myself confused on where I had seen them. By the time I did remember I was beyond starving and just desperate to find a supermarket for something to keep me going, even finding one of them proved hard. Be prepared before you are starving because you may have issues finding food. Having said that on my second visit I grabbed some food from a stall in Pleasance Courtyard and it was extremely easy.
Plan to see something that really takes your fancy and something you wouldn’t normally see
I wasn’t sure I would like comedy all that much but I made a point of seeing at least one comedy act because that’s what the fringe is so famous for. I enjoyed that comedy show so much that a few days later that I saw another comedy show. I also saw a physical theatre show which was rather weird and wacky but I was glad I saw it at the same time.
Take change for free shows
I know the idea is that if something is free it saves you a bit of money however I felt so embarrassed leaving free shows and not giving even some small change because I had gone with absolutely no change. All the acts at the fringe festival have really put in the time and effort to make the show, I felt like I should give at least a small something back.
So there you have it my top tips for surviving Edinburgh Fringe Festival, what would your top tip be?
The fringe festival is absolutely amazing from the atmosphere to the sold out shows it is all totally worth a visit. Be prepared to book accommodation well in advance or find a flat to rent for the month well ahead of time. If not commuting from Glasgow is possible just be prepared to drive across Scotland at 2am if you see a late show because at that time even the trains will have stopped. The fringe festival runs for the month of August every year, and is the worlds largest.