Everything you need to know before attending Edinburgh Festivals

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Well, if you’re coming to Edinburgh in August you probably know that it’s the time of Edinburgh Festivals (the most famous are Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Edinburgh International Festival).

And Edinburgh will be really crowded! (you might even have difficulties walking on the streets because of so many people! Of course, I’m a bit exaggerating, but generally, it’s true). So here are things you need to know before coming to Edinburgh Festivals!

– Book your accommodation for Edinburgh Festivals in advance!

It’s still 4 months before the festivals but 89% of properties in Edinburgh are already fully booked. So you need to book a hotel at least in January if you want to get a nice price and a hotel in a good location.

If you have enough time before the festivals, check out these amazing affordable hotels in Edinburgh, which I described in a separate post.

There are plenty of other options e.g. flat share & short term university accommodation rentals. So if you want to stay on budget, it makes sense to check Gumtree for some good deals.

However, if you’re pretty sure, that you want to stay in a hotel, check these latest deals:


15 absolutely free things do in Edinburgh, Scotland

– Book your flights for Edinburgh Festivals in advance

The prices for flights skyrocket almost as much as the hotel prices. It’s especially true about Ryanair, Easyjet, and other budget airlines, so try to buy tickets as soon as you decided to attend the festivals. Check the best deals on Skyscanner now

– Be ready to pay 20-35% more for your meals

Just as any other services in Edinburgh, almost all the restaurants, and cafes in Edinburgh city centre raise their prices by 20-35%! (That doesn’t affect huge chains like Starbucks and McDonalds and big supermarkets). Just an example from everyday life: the Bratwurst Stalls in front of the University of Edinburgh was always selling the small Bratwurst for £3.75 (I was their loyal customer all year long), but during the festivals, they have increased their price to 4+ pounds (As far as I remember, around 4.5 pounds).

Edinburgh Festivals start in August: everything you need to know about Edinburgh Festivals
The Royal Mile during Edinburgh Festivals

– You can visit some plays for free if you arrive early

It’s worth visiting Edinburgh Festivals 1-3 days before their official start. Why? Because you can visit some of the most popular performances for free! Usually, they have 1-2-3 rehearsals before they start changing money for their plays, and giving out tickets for free! How to get those tickets? Just check online, when the rehearsals are (don’t buy tickets online! It’s almost never written on the website that some tickets will be given away for free) and go to the Pleasance or George Square (or even Cowgate) on that day (preferably around 5-6pm) and listen to the Festival volunteers carefully or just ask them about free tickets.

Edinburgh Festivals start in August: everything you need to know about Edinburgh Festivals
Before Les Miserables performance on St. Andrews Square

– Check the reviews for the paid performances

Because you might end up paying a lot for something you won’t enjoy. Usually, there are plenty of reviews available online, so better check that before buying the tickets. You might end up being disappointed (like I was, and I described that in this post).

– Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Edinburgh International Festival are two absolutely different festivals

Even though they are running almost at the same time, these festivals are as different as day and night. While Edinburgh International Festival is all about art and culture: ballet, opera, orchestral music and theatre plays, where only professionals perform, Edinburgh Fringe Festival is more informal. It mostly consists of comedy shows run by amateurs.

Edinburgh Festivals start in August: everything you need to know about Edinburgh Festivals
Watching the Marriage of Figaro

However, in Edinburgh, there are 7 main festivals (not just EIF and Fringe). Check the article by Dan Flying Solo for more information: The Ultimate Edinburgh Festivals Guide.

Check my review of Edinburgh Fringe in THIS post.
Wanna get some insights into how to stay in Edinburgh on a budget? Read THIS post.

Want more tips about Edinburgh? Check the whole Edinburgh category on Tripsget!
Everything you need to know before attending Edinburgh Festivals: Edinburgh Fringe and Edinburgh International Festival
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