The busiest time for Edinburgh has got to be August, during the Fringe Festival. It can be overwhelming for locals and tourists alike with the busy crowds, street performers, people stopping to take photos (this happens everywhere) and many other things. With a large selection of shows to see it’s vital that you can make the most of your time at the Fringe and don’t shy away due to the negative things surrounding the festival. There is something for everyone at the Fringe and it is worth the crowds, so please make the effort to go even if it’s just for a couple days.
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Get Ready For A Lot Of Walking
It might feel natural at the start of the day to dress up in heels and uncomfortable clothing to look good, but don’t bother because no one cares. Get your trainers and your comfy clothes out because you will be doing a lot of walking. Be it from venue to venue or back to your accommodation you are going to come across hills in Edinburgh (it basically is one giant hill…), so be well prepared. Another side of this is that buses will be very busy during this time and are often later/very full and uncomfortable, so you’re much quicker walking to where you need to go in Edinburgh during August.
Be Prepared For All Weather
Scotland is known for it’s changeable weather sometimes experiencing all 4 seasons in a day. Although we’ve been experiencing somewhat of a heatwave this year (in between the summer rain showers…), be prepared for rain, snow, sun and wind because none of us can predict what’s going to happen. Brings your rain jackets, waterproof shoes and umbrellas just in case – even when it seems sunny in the morning, it can be decieving and I can guarantee that rain is coming.
There Will Be Crowds
You’re walking in to Edinburgh for the same reason as thousands of other people are in August – to see some shows. This means that you’ll be surrounded by crowds of people doing the same things as you. Don’t let it scare you off. Make sure you know how to get from A to B before leaving somewhere quiet so that you can just keep moving, it makes the crowds a lot more bearable if you’ve got your bearings. Embrace them as well, see a street show? Stop and watch with everyone else, it’s an excuse to take a breath and be in a more organised crowd. Enjoy your time.
Be Flexible With Your Plans
You might be coming in to Edinburgh with plans and itineraries, but my advice would be to chuck them. Have a general plan, but let it happen naturally. Some of the best shows I’ve ever seen were ones I stumbled in to last minute. It takes a lot more time to get around Edinburgh with all the crowds so it’s easier to coordinate shows when you’re actually in the city, my advice is to book the shows that are likely to fill up (such as major comedians like Russell Howard etc.) and wing the rest.
You’ll be broke at the end if you don’t. Bring bottles of water and snacks because you will need it! With all the walking and the rush to different venues you will get dehydrated. Make sure you fill them up every day before setting off so you’re never caught off guard with the Fringe venue prices for food/drinks (they hike prices because they can…). The Fringe doesn’t have to be expensive if you’re clever with it.
“Free Fringe” Isn’t Necessarily Free
A better name for it would be “pay what you want at the end”. The people running those shows aren’t doing it for free so are losing out by not charging for their shows, the standard amount to give is £5, but every little helps and they will address it during their show. Even if it’s just a couple pounds at the end try to give something. It doesn’t just show your appreciation, it helps them out financially.
There Are Quiet Places
If you need a cool down, there are quieter venues you can escape to. My favourites are The Stand, The Newsroom and Banshee Labyrinth. Research will help you survive. Find the quiet places and when everything gets overwhelming head in that direction. The Newsroom and Banshee Labyrinth are great for Free Fringe shows and if you feel overwhelmed by the bar just jump in to a show and get comfy!
Check out my guide to Vegetarian Restaurants in Edinburgh! https://jodiepaterson.com/2019/08/18/the-best-vegetarian-restaurants-in-edinburgh/