The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

02 July 2013

Today's post is written by Dan of Into Geek. If you would like to write a guest post and be featured on Driftwood and Daydreams, email me, Aryn, at info@driftwoodanddaydreams.com.

Last summer I was lucky enough to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a mate and I had a brilliant time. The Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world and is held for three week in Scotland’s gorgeous capital city. My travels there were largely for the comedy as many comedians do shows here every year and often they are quite cheap as they are the warm-up to a major tour. But there’s something for everyone with all sorts of musicals and plays and pretty much anything else you can name. Oh and lots of other festivals run parallel such as the Book Festival with the likes of Neil Gaiman visiting this year.

It’s useful to be organised when booking shows so you get to see everything you want to but at the same time it is probably good to leave some free time to do other things you might not have been aware of before you visit. I recommend ordering/downloading a programme from the Fringe website and selecting what you would like to see and eventually working it down so you have some sort of schedule. Also, book tickets online as far in advance as you can as shows sell out very early (you can collect the tickets at various ticket offices around the city when you arrive).

There are all sorts of weird and wonderful shows!
The options for accommodation are quite varied, although again it is important you book early. A good cheap option is to book a hostel, most of which are actually university accommodation hired out for tourists whilst the students are on summer vacation.  Alternatively there are many hotels and many local families hire their houses out for the period of the festival.

The highlight of any visit is spending time on the Royal Mile. For most of the year it is just another street but come the time of the festival and it is alive with all sorts of things. It’s here you will see a huge variety of street performers, from sword swallowers to magicians to living statues to singers and dancers and beat boxers. They all come to the Festival and you can be certain of finding something you like and also seeing plenty of things that leave you completely baffled. 

A street performer on the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is also the place where you get flung leaflets by people desperate to have you attending their show. You might think you want to ignore these but actually plenty are worth going to- if you see something you like, go to it, especially if it is free- what have you got to lose? We went to quite a few free shows, and all but one of them were fantastic (I heartily recommend Racing Minds’ various improv shows).

Even robots give out leaflets!
With most of the shows being in the evening it can be a bit of a challenge to find things to do during the day but there is plenty to do if you look around. If you are on a low budget you can visit the National Museum of Scotland and the National Gallery of Scotland for free and if you fancy a bit of a walk you can climb Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano on the edge of the city which has great views if the weather is clear. If you’ve got some more money you can visit Edinburgh Castle, the Edinburgh Dungeons and Edinburgh Zoo, the only zoo in the UK which has pandas.

All in all, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is well worth a visit, no matter what your budget or interests. This year’s festival runs from the 2nd to the 26th August and you can find all the details on the Fringe website.  Many thanks to Aryn for hosting me and you can check my blog out at Into Geek!


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