Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide

Every August millions gather to see some of the most talented artists of today at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But with shows on around the clock spanning dance, theatre, comedy and more, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To help you out we asked some of the Bush Theatre team for their top tips on navigating the world’s biggest arts festival.

Tip #1: Go with the flow

Leave gaps in your schedule to see something completely random – a recommendation from a friend, a show you get handed a flyer for, something you’d never usually go and see. You never know what you might discover!

Do check where shows are happening on a map before you book though. You don’t want to have to get from Summerhall to the Traverse, which is on the opposite side of the city, in the twenty-minute gap between shows. It isn’t fun.

Tip #2: Rest, rest, rest

Get enough sleep. People will be drinking and wanting to schmooze, so do some of that if you want to but daylight hours can mean different things at fringe. An early night for some could easily be 2am. Try to get to bed at a normal hour and you might even see daylight every once in a while.

Tip #3: Do something that isn’t theatre related

Massaoke Mixtape at George Square Gardens, The Edinburgh Dungeon and the Zoo are just some of the Bush team favourites we’d recommend you try out. It’s also worth remembering that the beach is only a short bus ride away and Crammond Island is an excellent day trip – try and spot JK Rowling’s house.

The Jazz Bar on Chambers Street is a lot of fun and has great jazz bands most nights of the Fringe. If you’re into clubbing or fancy a big night out then make sure you Hive till Five at least once.

If you’re in Edinburgh for a few weeks then take a day off from show-seeing to go for a walk, visit New Town, take the train somewhere fun or walk up Arthur’s Seat – anything that’s not Fringe related!

Hundreds of the most talented artists gather at the Edinburgh Fringe

Tip #4: Pack essentials for your day

Here’s a few essentials we never go without: 

  • Snacks to stop you getting hangry in the crowds
  • A venue map torn out of the back of a Fringe brochure
  • A pac-a-mac
  • Suncream
  • A refillable water bottle. Scottish water is some of the best tasting in the world – make sure you drink a lot of it.

Tip #5: Save your money

If you’re going with a friend or partner, then Friends of the Fringe membership will get you two-for-one tickets on a lot of shows (not for everything though).

The Half Price Hut is always worth a gander in case something good is on offer that day or if you fancy taking a risk without splashing the big bucks.

Bedlam Theatre has the cheapest pints of the fringe. If you don’t want to spend £5 for a Stella in Assembly Gardens, then this is the place to be.

Chips are a fun dinner, especially in Scotland where they actually know how to do chips properly (sorry, London).  However there are also two large ASDAs and a Lidl right next to George Square, so go on – eat a vegetable and save some money, also it’s good for you.

If you can’t make it to Edinburgh this year you can catch the ★★★★★ Baby Reindeer from 9 Oct and ★★★★ Collapsible from 5 Feb