Edinburgh is essentially two cities: one during Festival Fringe and another during the other 48 weeks of the year.

A hub of creativity, Edinburgh Festival Fringe welcomes big performers and unknown talent alike to entertain festival-goers during its three and a half week celebration, between the 2nd - 26th August. 

The best way to enjoy the Fringe is to go with a plan, but be prepared to stuff the schedule in your bag and follow your ears and nose wherever the music and mouth-watering scents take you. With more than 3,500 shows on offer, there’s something for everyone at the Fringe.

Not sure what should be on your must-see list? Read our top 9 tips of where to go, who to see and what to eat. And don’t forget, Virgin Trains go direct to the heart of the city, so hop aboard and sample the world’s greatest arts festival!

Where to go

What kind of show do you like? Whatever you fancy, there’s a venue for it...

1. Intimate stand-up 

If you love the no-frills buzz of a comedian with a mic, the sky’s the limit in Edinburgh, but some venues do stand out in stand-up. You’ve got to start at The Stand’s New Town Theatre, which is hosting an array of comedic events. There’s also the Gilded Balloon at Drygate, one of nine in the chain. 

2. Crowd-pullers

For the main events, Edinburgh’s larger capacity theatres play host to the stars of TV and radio and maybe a few surprise guests. For these shows try the Underbelly, Assembly Hall, Gilded Balloon Teviot and the 700-seat Pleasance.

3. Avant-garde

Stray away from the comedy and you’ll find a range of innovative acts that will have you furrowing your brow and stroking your chin. Try the Summerhall, the 900 Club and Bob’s Blundabus.


Who to see

Edinburgh attracts acts from all over the world, some trying to break through, others to stay in touch with their millions of fans. Take your pick.

4. Off the telly

If there were such a thing as headline acts at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2019’s top names from panel shows and TV stand-up include Paul Merton, Rosie Jones, Al Murray, Frank Skinner, Reginald D Hunter, Joel Dommett and local hero Fern Brady.

5. Fan favourites

Some acts might not fill stadiums (yet) but have enthusiastic underground followings and are regular EdFest faves. If you get the chance, go and see Stewart Lee, Zoë Coombs Marr, Flo & Joan, Ahir Shah and Josie Long.

6. Out of the ordinary

Fancy something a little different? Racehorse Company’s Super Sunday is a breathtaking circus show that’s not to be missed. Ockham’s Razor beautifully combines physical theatre and dance, and if you’re pining for Central Perk, could there be a better show than Friendsical: A Parody Musical About Friends?

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Out of the Ordinary

Where to eat

From local favourites to one of those once-a-year experiences, you can be both entertained and fed up at the same time.

7. Good, cheap grub

All tourist guides tell you to “eat where the locals eat”, and that’s certainly true of Edinburgh if you’re on a budget. Where do the locals go for a meal that satisfies the taste buds and leaves you with your bus fare home? Head to Tupiniquim Brasil crepes, Quick & Plenty Café, @Pizza and Sugar Daddy's Bakery for brunches and awesome desserts.

8. Decent dishes

As with all major cities, Edinburgh has all the high street chains you’d expect, but try some of the local competition and you won’t be disappointed. Ostara, Contini, Pickles and Kanpai Sushi are all loved by the fine folks of Edinburgh when they want a great meal.

9. Pushing the boat out

If you intend to experience the very best in dining that Scotland’s capital has to offer and are prepared to pay for it, well you’re a very lucky festival-goer. The critics favourites include Aizle, The Table, Purslane Restaurant and Number One at The Balmoral.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Decent dishes

So, whether you’re staying for a few days or have taken the whole summer off to be entertained, informed and inspired in Edinburgh, make sure you book your festival spots and train tickets now. With Virgin trains departing from London to Edinburgh every two hours, you’re sure to have a summer you’ll never forget!

To get more of a feel for the city, read our previous posts: An Insider’s Guide to Edinburgh, Things to Do in Edinburgh and our Guide to Cultural Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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