Hello my lovelies! It’s August 1st, and for the past 2 summers, that’s meant one thing! It’s normally meant that I’ve got excited for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In my past experiences, it’s been some of the best times of the year, maybe even my life. It’s a place where my friends are reunited, flyering up and down the mile. It’s a place where I can see all the shows that I’ve wanted to see throughout the year and maybe even have a few celebrity spots*. With my experience, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to make your Edinburgh Fringe the best that it can possibly be.
*Never forget when I was in a bar with Paul Sinha from the Chase.
Sort out your travel as soon as you can!
The best preparation starts way before your time in Edinburgh. As soon as you know you’re going up to the Scottish capital, book your travel and consider what is the cheapest way of getting up there. Don’t compromise cheap for a lack of comfort however, or an awkward travel. In first year, I went on a National Express from Milton Keynes to Edinburgh as I only had a few weeks before I was going and it was the cheapest method. Last year, I knew I was going up a lot earlier, so I was able to book a return train for cheaper than my return coach fare the year before! By sorting out your travel as soon as you can, you’ve got more money for shows (and macaroni pies and G&T’s).
Take in the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe is unlike any street I have ever walked on. There’s hundreds of people flyering to get you to come and see their show. There’s many a tweet that always jokes at college kids trying to con the public out of their live art installations… as a University kid, I can say that there are many of us on the Mile. However, there are performances on the Royal Mile that showcase the wide variety of talent at the Festival. You never know what you might see at any time, and getting a sneak preview of a show may take you to your show of the Fringe! Courtesy of the stands on the Royal Mile, I was able to see Dave Benson Phillips from Get Your Own Back in his show for free!
Visit as many venues as you can!
I feel this goes without saying, however to truly immerse yourself in the Edinburgh Fringe experience, go and see things in as many different shows as you can. I’ve seen shows in the Pleasance Bunker, the Tron, tiny free Fringe venues, Pleasance Beyond, Gilded Balloon… you name it, I’ve probably been in a show that size. In doing this, you get to understand what the Fringe is all about. Also, this totally helps with my next tip, in that you’ll understand the layout of the city and start to find shortcuts. In my first trip, I had to get from Chambers Street to the Pleasance Courtyard, but because of knowing where different venues were, I was able to get there in record time and make it to shows in time!
Get to know Edinburgh!
For most people in the city, it’s either their first time there or they’ve not been there for that long. Some places in Edinburgh may seem way off the beaten track, but if you’ve got any free time in the city, then get to know it! Find out where you are and go and explore. It feels like there’s a million and one places to eat, drink and see, so go and take the opportunity to visit all these places while you’ve got the chance! I LOVE Arthur’s Seat! I wouldn’t have got to meet my true love of macaroni pies or the fake Nando’s in Edinburgh if I didn’t learn different streets and how to get from A to B.
Book tickets for popular shows in advance!
This obviously goes without saying, but some tickets for shows will sell out way before the Fringe. Once you know you’re going up, then book the tickets for the popular shows. For me, I would be booking comedy shows such as Rob Beckett, Katherine Ryan, Joe Lycett and co. Yet, don’t just book tickets before you go…
Leave some gaps in your schedule for seeing things that you wouldn’t plan on seeing. Doing this allows you to see what’s being received by your friends and your social media feeds to book tickets and see things for yourself. For example, I went to see Set List last year due to comedians that I follow loving the previous nights. I was NOT disappointed (and would 100% recommend any comedy lover to go and see Set List).
Make sure you eat!
For the love of God, take care of yourself. Your diary and schedule is taking care of itself, but you’re sitting in your 5th show of the day, living off of a bottle of Diet Coke and a Greggs. This is obviously not good for you and will leave you feeling ill when you’re meant to be having the time of your life. It’s a compromise between booking tickets for lots of shows and then feeling good to enjoy them as much as you can, and not sit in the back thinking about how you haven’t eaten in hours and not concentrating on the performance.
Pack a rainmac!
You’re in Edinburgh and it most likely will rain everyday. Tie your rain-mac round your waist and carry on with your day. Forget about looking cool, you won’t feel it when you’re sitting in a show dripping because you forgot to bring up your pac-a-mac.
Take advantage of discounts!
One of the main shows last year was Eurobeat, which was one of the best performances I’ve ever been to! Based off of Eurovision, you could actually vote for your winner with the money going to charity. However, tickets for this were around £20, way off of my normal rule that £10 for an Edinburgh show is a good price. BUT, there were a few nights in which there were 2-for-1 discounts or money off during preview season. Thankfully, I was able to catch one of the early shows which meant the show fell within my price range! If you can, going to the Edinburgh Fringe at the start of the month will mean you can save some money, as shows may still be in their preview season. If not, try and find someone who will go and see a show with you. MAYBE find someone in the venue who is alone and going to see the same show and team up… nothing like meeting a new person in Edinburgh and then getting invited to the Loft Bar but that’s not what this blog is about.
I’m BEYOND thankful for my fun experiences at the Edinburgh Fringe and cannot wait to make even more in future years. Leave some comments with what shows you’re going to see at the Edinburgh Fringe. Do you have any more tips that I’ve forgotten to mention? Do you have any food/drink recommendations?