My husband and I will be landing in Edinburg on the 26th of Aug just in time for the end of the Fringe. The question is should we high tail it out of Edinburg with all the extra tourists and high prices and see it on the way back at a quiter time or should we stay and "do" the Fringe? We will be in Scotland for 21 days and there is so much to see that we are having a hard time narrowing down where to go and what to see -- but more on that question on a later post.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is worth considering. You might come across some real dross, and also top quality productions. And it is not whether the cast is professional or not that decides the quality.
I would certainly consider it.
It is a great atmosphere in the city then It can be crazy busy but there is so much going on it would be a shame not to sample the atmosphere. loads of shows on to suit all taste including lots of free ones and street entertianment ,So dip your feet in and have a little paddle you just never know it might just be the highlight of your trip.
I think it's worth a day or two. The street buskers alone are worth the visit. :) See if you can stay in Stockbridge or somewhere a bit off the Royal Mile so that you can have respite. And the fire works display on the last day is really good! I didn't get to any shows--wish I had--but I did go to the Book Festival that was on at the same time.
I was in Edinburgh last summer to see the tattoo and got the fringe as a bonus. Loved it. There were plenty of free street performances if you won't want to spend money. The program was about 400 pages with 10 productions listed on every page. So that is 4,000 separate productions. Each production seemed to be presented maybe 10 times so that is 40,000 performances during fringe month. There were hundreds of venues scattered throughout central Edinburgh. Many of the stand up comedy shows were free (I skipped these for fear that much of the humor would be appreciated only by UK residents).
This is a world famous event that you will describe to your friends; most North Americans have not attended this as opposed to, say, visiting Loch Ness where you will not see the monster.
Some of the best shows are often the obscure ones, where there are more people on the stage than in the audience. And when they are really good it becomes almost a conspiracy between you and the crew.
Thank you all for your advise. It looks like the Fringe it is. I would like to find out about the obscure shows -- they sound fun. I too am worried that my US English might not understand the Scottish humor. Should we rent a car at the airport or wait until we are ready to leave Edinburg? We were looking at a place to stay on the coast. Is it difficult to get from the coast to the festivities without a car? We would love to stay in old town but the cost of rooms during fringe will take up a chunk of our lodging budget!!! Thanks again for your help
Around the time of the Fringe, you are best not having a car in Edinburgh. Either a place in the city or on one of the rail or bus lines into the city. If the Edinburgh leg is at the beginning of the trip, save a few days and get the car when you leave.
Here is a tip if you decide to attend Fringe though you will quickly pick this up on your own. As I said the 2014 program catalog was nearly 400 pages long (or was it 200 pages?) which is a lot to plow through. However, if you walk around the Royal Mile you will be handed a post card size advertisement for a program by many, many people. These make up an interesting collection to show folks back in the States. I used these cards, word of mouth, and previews on the street to decide which performances to attend.
Don't rent your car until you are ready to leave Edinburgh. You can still rent at the airport or pick it up in town. The bus or tram provide easy transit to the city centre.
We were there with our children in 2007. Our local high school was one of the schools chosen to represent US high school theater and performed 4 times at the Fringe. When we were there, a daily smaller program was put out the previous evening listing all the performances and the locations for just that day. Most performances were between 40 and 75 minutes, so it was easy to plan to see multiple performances each day that might be of interest to you. I assume they still print the daily program. 4 stages were also set up along the Royal Mile for performers to show a 10 min snippet of their full show to increase interest from people passing by. They were free and fun to watch. If you have any interest in the performing arts, the Fringe is an experience not to be missed!
I'd also recommend seeing some of the Fringe as it's quite a spectacle. As long as you're there anyway, it would be a shame to miss it. If you find parts of it a bit too overwhelming, just move to a quieter area. If you haven't seen it, the Royal Military Tattoo would also be a "must see" (IMO). Pre-book tickets WELL in advance though!
21 days sounds wonderful! I will also be in Edinburgh in August, and have been wading through the "What's On" section of the Fringe website over the past couple months :) It sounds marvelous and I think you would really be missing out if you were to skip it. It appears you can see a show of some sort at almost any time of the day or night (music of all types, dance, theater, comedy, historical readings and reenactments, art shows, you name it) many are free or cost around 10 pounds. I believe there are comedians from many places, not all from the UK (though if you check out some of the UK comedians on YouTube, they are hilarious!). The Edinburgh International Festival is also going on during August and has additional offerings.
Should we purchase tickets for the Fringe performances now, or is it okay to wait until we are in EDI?
My experience was that you could find something to attend if you waited. However, if there is something that you really want to see, then you had better get a ticket. I think that the hot shows sell out, but how do you know what's going to be hot???
The two of us arrived last August at the very start of the Festival Fringe, a great time to be there! We rented a car afterwards, but walked and used the great buses (and 1 taxi ride) to get around. The trams had just begun, but we didn't wind up riding any while we were in town.
If you would consider a place downtown, right on the Royal Mile as opposed to out on the coast, we had a perfectly-located flat that was just the right size, had a small but well-equipped kitchen, and even had a clothes washing machine, and the price was OK for us considering the location and it being Festival time. Check out Neal and Reetta's apartment at http://www.homeaway.co.uk/p565608vb
Edit: I just clicked the above link and saw that the entire month of August 2015 is basically booked-up, but August 30 and later is wide-open at the moment.
While I know that you can still find a place in the city centre for August 26, I do recommend that you book very soon for Edinburgh. You can use the accommodation finder on visit Scotland for a first search for available accommodations. And then check reviews here and on TA.
I wouldn't shilly shally around as it is a very busy time in Edinburgh in August.
I would agree with Pam regarding accommodation in Edinburgh.It can be ,imired and expensive but book up now and you should be ok. you don't need to stay city centre as Edinburgh has a great public transport system that is cheap and efficient.
Wow Thank you for all your advise, We are going to definitely stay for the Fringe. CYN I wish that apartment was available as that is just what I am looking for and at a price I can afford. I tried the Visit Scotland page but I am having trouble entering my dates. Will try again after I send this note. If any of you are aware of any places to stay in Old Town or close to Old Town please send me their info. I agree that it would be nicer to be in the "thick" of things. My husband and I are in our 70's and if we have to go out late and take a bus to get there it probably won't work -- old age and lazy come together to make us say "Maybe another time- Did we really want to go?". So the closer we are the more we don't have an excuse to go out and have fun.
Have a look at the Ibis hotels there is one on South Bridge and one on Hunter square that area would be ideal for you just a very short walk from the Royal Mile .But do consider staying slight further out. the main road into the city has lots of small hotels guest houses and even a budget hotel .The Street is Minto street,Mayfield road and Craigmiller Park all one road but various names , the furthest point is only 2 miles from the city center and a bus from the furthest point will only take 15 minutes to get you to the Royal Mile and you should never have to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus,they run to midnight and even then there are late night buses or taxis to get you home.
A day ticket is only £4 and there are special tickets for using the buses late at night.
At the far end of that street is a fairly new budget hotel Travelodge Cameron Toll and form there to the city center there are 100's of options on and around these streets.
HomeAway has lots of apartments of varying sizes and prices, so there could still be one that'd work for you, in addition to the other suggestions given in this forum. One other possibility, the TravelLodge (downtown Edinburgh seems to have 2 of them, one in the Old Town and one in the New Town), might work.
Even late at night, Edinburgh felt very safe, and you should be comfortable wherever you wind up!
Thank you all we found an apartment to share in New Town just off of Princess St. We have a vacation rental in Hawaii and we use VRBO/Home away to advertise our rental so that is the first place I went to look. Like the Ibis hotel in old town all of the vacation rentals were in the $250+ and most of them were over $400 a night. If we weren't on a 2 1/2 month trip around Europe - mostly in the UK and Ireland it wouldn't have mattered but with our long vacation we have to keep the rentals reasonable. I will be tapping your collective minds to help plan our 3 week trip in Scotland as soon as I have an idea of what direction we want to go.
Thank you again,
Glad you found a place that would work - prices go up during festival time. Just checking, though, is the place really on Princess St, or maybe Prince's St?
Cyn is right, there is Princes Street, a Queen Street and a Great King Street, but I don't think that there is a Princess Street. :) Not to say that maybe there should be one!