edfringe fest

Culturebean says | Are you an Edinburgh Fringe Festival virgin?

I’m an edfringe virgin. And an Edinburgh one. So this festival was a complete leap into the unknown. I’d not been given a talk off my parents, my friends had never done it and google is like that mate who has apparently done everything. So myself, and the man I love just went for it. It was a bit of a muddle, quite overwhelming and electronic devices played a major part but we came out of the other end, exhausted and aching yes but rather exhilarated.So, to make your first time and my next time a little easier, I’ve put together some notes on all aspects of the experience…Travel

I hate buses but I have to say in Edinburgh they were extremely regular and ran until 4am. If you’re lucky enough to stay central, then everything is within walking distance.

  • Single Ticket £1.50
  • Unlimited Day Pass £4
  • After 6pm get a day and night ticket for £3.50 – last buses around 3am
  • Download the Transport for Edinburgh app and buy your tickets online

Food

It’s everywhere, all kinds and all prices.

  • Lunch at Noodle’N’Ice on South Bridge was a highlight
  • We had posh afternoon tea at The Dome – beautiful and tasty but prepare for the steep bill
  • There’s tonnes of street vans for a bite whilst changing venues
  • Find lots of cheeky discount vouchers on available discount apps

Weather

It’s pretty mixed so pack a survival backpack and carry things like…
Hat, Sunglasses, Umbrella, Raincoat, Gloves, Sun Cream, Comb – it can be very windy. Check the weather app every morning and pack the necessities out of your selection. Oh and if you wear heels make sure to carry flats – it is very cobbly.

The Festival

It’s a cultural, vibrant and fascinating experience so make the most of it.
  • Download the Fringe App! It will become your best friend I promise. You can buy tickets, check out the half price selection, locate your nearest ticket point, follow a map to your venue and check out the social media scene.
  • Get to the Virgin Half Price Hut for discount tickets to anything and everything on that day. After 5pm get tickets up until 2pm the next day.
  • Give flyers a chance. You will get a lot pushed into your face via song, dance, humour, mime and god knows what else. But take them. Do ‘eeny meany miny mo’. And watch one. We did and didn’t regret it.
  • Look at the thousands of posters that wallpaper the city – we came across more things that we wouldn’t have done otherwise.
  • Study a map of Edinburgh, check the fringe app for directions or bring a friend who has mad map skills (like I did) because it’s a big city with hundreds of venues and you don’t want to miss a show because you got lost.
  • We found nearly all shows were 5 stars or award winning so don’t believe everything your see or hear.
  • Book with your gut. I missed out on two shows because I debated for too long.
  • Book the bigger, more famous shows in advance – they usually sell out weeks before.
  • If you want the best seats, start queuing at least 30 minutes before. If you’re in good company, the wait doesn’t seem too bad. Most venues also let you go to the bar and take your drink into the queue.
  • There’s lots of free shows so if you’re on a budget or want to see something in that spare 90 minutes then give them a go.
  • Pace yourself. I couldn’t have done more than four shows in one day without brain ache.
  • The busiest day was Saturday. It was like ant city with a lot of the shows fully booked so next time I’ll try to avoid.
  • Get to the Royal Mile for the beauty of the architecture and madness of the street acts.
  • Step out of your comfort zone, try something new, see something you think you will hate. Expect the good, the bad and the down right ugly. Just be open minded and have fun.

Edinburgh

Spend one day away from the fringe to check out the sights – there’s lots.
  • Edinburgh Castle – we didn’t go in but it looked beautiful from the outside. FREE or £16.50 to enter
  • Arthurs Seat – we walked up it, the most difficult way (my friend with mad map skills had a rare mishap), in the midday blistering heat, with only ice-cream for breakfast and in a dress and plimsoles. Ok we weren’t fully prepared but we made it and felt a real accomplishment. The view is breath taking and well worth the 45 minute trek. FREE
  • Dynamic Earth – an immersive and sensory experience that takes you on a journey through Earths existence. It took around 1hr 30minutes with a planetarium show at the end. £12.50 each.
  • World of Illusions – a stupidly fun afternoon with six floors of hands on exhibits and a great roof top view of Edinburgh. There is unlimited photo opportunities here so go instacrazy. £13.95 each
Well, that’s everything I can think of. I have finally broken my Fringe virginity after 25 years and can’t wait to do it again – next time I might try it with someone new or even involve a few people 😉 Either way I’ll be better at it next time and will no doubt learn some new tricks.

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