Edinburgh Festival Guide P1
|Read time 3 mins
Heading for your Fringe Festival experience this summer and don’t know your Pleasance from your Underbelly?
Find your stay
Read through our 3-part guide, chockablock with the must-have tips and tricks.
All of the essentials are covered as we break your visit down to the five Bs – Booking, Budget, Booze & Belly, and Bearings.
There are thousands of individual shows penned for this year’s Fringe Festival, from world-class comedians to youth club theatre groups.
Edinburgh Festival Guide P1: Booking self-catering accommodation and tickets
When August arrives, it’s time to turn your attention to those all-important preparations and get booking!
The Fringe is best approached with an easy-breezy attitude; after all, it’s often the most spontaneous decisions that result in the best memories in a Festival where anything can happen.
However, getting a few things in place now will save you a lot of stress (not to mention cash) when you arrive.
First of all, you’re going to need somewhere to hang your hat. Here are my two cents on what to consider when booking your accommodation.
Booking Edinburgh festival accommodation
We’re pretty biased at Reserve Apartments, but self-catering is the only way to go when it comes to a summer soiree in Auld Reekie.
For a start, it’s heaps cheaper than a hotel and you get a lot more bang for your buck.
You’ll also save money throughout your stay by not having to give in to tourist trap expensive meals three times a day.
Flexibility is the key here, you can do what you want when you want, and large family groups can stay social under the same roof.
View our Edinburgh Festival Accommodation.
Timing of booking Edinburgh festivals
Savvy bookers tend to secure their accommodation early in the year, but there’s still time to grab a great deal without having to compromise on quality or location.
Unfortunately, due to the popularity of the Fringe and International Festivals, discounts and cancellations are few and far between, so the sooner you book, the better.
Best locations for booking Edinburgh festivals
Staying in the Old Town puts you at the heart of all of the action, but you’ll pay the price, and not just with your wallet.
The city centre can become incredibly crowded, noisy and expensive during August, and so an apartment in an area like Leith may give you a breather from the crowds.
Two of the best things about Edinburgh are its distinct local neighbourhoods and the fantastic public transport, so why not take advantage of both and try something new this year?
With frequent, safe, and easy-peasy bus routes servicing the whole of Edinburgh, you can be back in the thick of it within ten minutes of most districts.
Booking tickets for the Edinburgh shows
Now that your apartment is secured and you have confirmed dates, it’s time to start booking your ‘big ticket’ events.
There are thousands of individual shows penned for this year’s Fringe Festival, from world-class comedians to youth club theatre groups, and although most are repeated daily you have to get in quick to lock in tickets for some acts.
Chances are, if your chosen comedian is performing in a large venue (Playhouse Theatre, Assembly Hall, etc.) or you’ve seen them on a panel show on TV, you’ll need to book well in advance to guarantee tickets for your preferred date.
No matter the size or status of your desired performer, there are two ways to get tickets for the Fringe:
1. At the box office
This is great if you’re buying for a few different shows and have time to go to the box office to pick up all of your tickets in advance.
This can be done online, over the phone, or at one of the physical box offices in the city.
The official box office has an advanced allocation of tickets, and so is your best option for planning the shows you have your heart set on ahead of your arrival.
2. Directly from the venue
A handy option if you just need tickets for a specific performance and want the ease of picking up the tickets just before doors open for the show.
Cutting out the middleman of the box office can sometimes mean special discounts, and venues often have ticket allocation left over when the main box offices have already sold out.
However, beware that some venues won’t have an online system, and their opening hours might not be too convenient, so best give them a call before heading down in person.
Other top Edinburgh festivals
The Fringe Festival is just one of many great festivals in Edinburgh.
The festival season kicks off each year with Leith Festival and the city also welcomes visitors for festivals such as the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival also coincides with the Edinburgh International Festival, featuring a month of world-class performances from musicians and artists.