Festival first-timers (Part 2: Budget)

Festival first timers part two: budget

Last week I covered how you can skim £100s from your spending by opting for self-catering accommodation, but cash can be saved at every turn, making the Festival suitable for everyone and every budget.

Now that you’ve used my tips to secure some savvy accommodation, the next big expense to consider is tickets. A long weekend with a few shows every day will soon rack up, but you can keep your pocket happy with a little bit of foresight and an open mind. For your ‘big ticket’ events, there are a number of ways to grab a bargain.

The Virgin Money Half Price Hut

Sitting like a (not so) hidden treasure on The Mound, this lovely little hut offers 50% off of thousands of tickets for shows that day, from 6-25 August. Make sure you download the app for your iPhone or Android so you can beat the queues and check out what’s on offer.


Most shows have a dry run or dress rehearsal for a couple of days before the main Fringe kicks off on 1st August. This allows performers to perfect their craft, and lucky punters to catch a first glimpse of the action for knockdown prices. Check out the official guide and you’ll see lower prices quoted for the first few days for early birds.

Free Fringe

However, it’s not all about the big guys. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has been the starting point of almost every comedian worth his or her salt. Help to support tomorrow’s talent by checking out smaller shows, and with free tickets, everyone’s a winner! Free Fringe and Laughing Horse are both worth checking out.

A slightly more controversial, although increasingly popular, tactic is to miss out the shows altogether and just come along for the ride. You can soak up the atmosphere across a colourful variety of streets and open venues.

The Famous Spiegeltent

This world-touring terrace should be a festival in it’s own right. Formally hosted in George Square, ‘ole Spiegel is now a slightly tamer affair in St Andrew Square, but still packed full of parties, performances, bars and food stalls.

The Royal Mile

Not exactly a venue, per se, but certainly the focal point of the Festival. Crowds mob this medieval street from dawn until dusk to watch street performers juggle flames, and to dodge promoters and flyers.

Pleasance Courtyard

A rickety old quad full of nooks and crannies, Pleasance plays host to 17 venues and plenty of bars and food stalls. For many, this is the heart of the Fringe, and where you’re most likely to spot a celeb or bump in to an old mate from many moons ago.

The Fringe Festival is all about new experiences and making the most of it, so consider grabbing your food on the go and staying amongst the action. Cheap eats are the way forward for saving time and money, but that doesn’t mean having to opt for overpriced fast food vendors that only pop up in time for the core tourist footfall. The main festival areas are also lined with independent eateries and firm local favourites that have been around for years.


With shops on Victoria Street and Canongate, you’re never far from some delicious hot meat rolls. With whole hogs roasted in the windows and sourced from the owner’s very own farm, happy piggies mean happy tummies.

The Baked Potato Shop

Sound a bit simple? Not so. The Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn Street has endless choices and mammoth portions. This Edinburgh veteran is a vegan and veggy paradise.


Piemaker is located just off of the Royal Mile on South Bridge, and produces the most unbelievable, fresh pies. The menu is extensive, the staff are uber-friendly, and the opening times will keep you going from breakfast to a post-Pleasance pig-out.

Remember, if you haven't booked your Festival Accommodation, view our self catering options to find a luxury apartment during your time here (often at a cheaper rate than a hotel).

Feeling hungry now? Coming up in part 3, the all important Booze and Belly!

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