Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Fringe Fever: Why the Edinburgh Festival is a Must-Do This Summer

Written by Gillian Kyle



The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the ultimate indie celebration of creativity and expression. Every summer it brings art lovers, culture vultures, and fun seekers in their thousands to our nation’s capital to enjoy one massive party! Let’s find out what makes this 3 weeks in August in Edinburgh so special.

💡 Did you know

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival began in 1947 when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to perform at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival. These rebels paved the way for what is now the world's largest arts festival.

The two Festivals share a unique relationship. The International Festival is an invitation-only event celebrating high arts while the Fringe is an open-access festival for anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them! Together, they transform Edinburgh into a vibrant cultural hub each August, attracting audiences from all around the world.

What to Expect at the Fringe

The Fringe is truly a smorgasbord of performances. From theatre and comedy to music, dance, circus, and cabaret, there's something for everyone. Big venues like the Pleasance, Assembly Rooms, and Underbelly showcase bigger or emerging acts but equally, almost every pub, hall or club will be playing host to a show of some sort (think Richard Gadsen’s pub show in Baby Reindeer). There are loads of family friendly shows and shows designed specifically for kids - these have been some of my favourites over the years! Street performances up and down the Royal Mile create an electric atmosphere.

Planning Your Visit

When To Go: the Fringe takes place in August, running for three weeks.

How to Get There: Edinburgh is well-connected by air, rail, and road. Coming from Glasgow we like to drive to the tram terminus at Ingleston and then tram it into the city. Once you're there, walking (if you can) is the best way to soak up the festival vibes.

Book Accommodation Early: Edinburgh gets crowded during the Fringe as visitors but also performers snap up the available accommodation. From budget hostels to luxury hotels, there are options for every pocket in the city but expect to pay more for central locations during the Festival. 

Tips for First-Time Visitors

  • Navigating the Festival: Grab the Fringe app and programme to stay updated on shows and venues. There's so much happening; you'll probably want to plan your days. But if you’re not much of a planner (like me!), don’t despair; you can have the best time just wandering about, taking in the atmosphere, watching free performances and taking inspo from the posters plastered everywhere and performers flyering for their own shows. If you do make a plan be sure to leave plenty of time to travel about the city as the streets can be pretty crowded and venues might not let you in if you’re late.

Budgeting Your Visit: Fringe shows range from free to quite pricey. Remember, many great performances are free or "pay what you can.” But if money is tight, take it from me, you don’t even need to go to a single paid show to have a great time at the Fringe!

Insider Tips: Attend shows at different times of the day to avoid peak crowds. Grab a beer or burger at one of the many, many outside venues that spring up for the Festival and get chatting with fellow festival-goers for the best show recommendations. I’ve always found people to be really friendly and keen to share things they’ve enjoyed.

Highlights and Must-See Shows

More than 1,300 shows will be part of the Fringe this year! That's a lot to get through!

Every year, the Fringe boasts standout performances and emerging talent. Look out for shows that are getting rave reviews and keep an eye on all the socials for buzz. You’ll find Interviews with performers on socials, in print and online and these can be really insightful for deciding what you’d like to see. They're as excited to share their stories as you are to hear them!

😍 One of the best parts of the Fringe is the stories you come away with. Personally, my favourite memory is taking part in a live Faulty Towers show / meal where the audience were the guests with my whole, Basil-obsessed family a few years ago. Absolute carnage of the best kind, complete with a rat hunt and Hotel Inspector! (IYKYK).

Fringe Food

Edinburgh's food and drink game is always pretty strong but during the Fringe it’s totally on fire. From local eateries to festival-specific food stalls and bars, there's a lot to explore. Whether you're after a quick bite or a sit-down meal, you'll find something to suit your taste and budget.

Explore More!

Don't miss the chance to explore Edinburgh beyond the festival. Visit iconic attractions like Edinburgh Castle, Arthur's Seat and Dynamic Earth whilst you’re there. 

For an amazing free activity which is a family fave of ours, visit the National Museum of Scotland - it’s honestly world class and is just off the Royal Mile so you can pop in and out with ease. 

It might be a cliche but it’s hard to beat the bright red open topped tour buses for seeing a lot of the city quickly. Maybe take a brolly though if you’re planning to sit upstairs!


The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a uniquely accessible blend of art, culture and fun. Whether you're a first-timer or a seasoned festival-goer, there's always something new to discover at the Fringe.

For more information, tickets, and schedules, visit the official Fringe Festival website (https://www.edfringe.com).

See you on the Royal Mile!