Surviving Edinburgh's Festival Season

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by Conrad - 08 October 2014

Each August thousands of people from around the world descend on the Scottish capital for Edinburgh's famous festival month.  


Street artists, actors, dancers, singers, comedians, artists and festivalgoers all cram into the city for both Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, but that is not all.


The Art and Mela festivals celebrate Scotland's contribution to the world's arts scene, starring work from home grown and visiting talents.


Literary lovers return year-on-year for the Book Festival, not least because Edinburgh is the original UNESCO City of Literature, while the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo attracts thousands of people to the iconic Edinburgh Castle.


So it is easy to believe that with more than 3,000 shows planned for the Fringe alone, many first time revellers find the sheer number of festival events overwhelming.


Here is a guide to help you make the most of possibly the world's biggest celebration of the arts:

Book tickets and accommodation early:


The hottest stand-up and theatre shows sell out months in advance, while accommodation at Edinburgh's many hotels, hostels and B&Bs fill up just as fast.


In order to secure a seat for that show or a bed at that hotel, it is best to get booking for the following year as soon as the festival season draws to a close.


However, don't forget that part of the charm of Edinburgh festivals is soaking up the atmosphere 'street side', so set some time aside to simply enjoy the dozens of street artists – it costs you nothing and it is a great way to ‘try before you buy' as many are touting tickets for that night's show.

Get the Fringe Guide:


For just £3.50 you can get the official Edinburgh Fringe Guide delivered to your door in June, giving you a good six weeks to decide what you want to see. There's also a handy map on the back to help you plan how to spend time between shows you've booked in advance.

Make time to relax:

Some visitors can easily burn out on polite applause and ticket queues. If you're in need of a more relaxing time there are plenty of activities in Edinburgh such as health spas and swimming pools. If your next planned show isn't an absolute must-see, consider some me time instead.

Check out the local surroundings:

Edinburgh is a city packed full of history and intrigue, but it is well worth finding time to explore beyond the cobbled streets of the Old Town and its magnificent castle.


Just a short drive south-west of the centre you will come to the Pentland Hills Regional Park – why not sign up to a guided walk and discover the landscape's 'explosive' origins.


Or you could travel north to visit the world famous Old Course at St Andrews – which is only a 90 minute drive away. The course, one of the oldest in the world and a regular host of The Open Championship, has been the scene of a number of historic moments, including Tiger Woods' tenth major championship in 2005.


We have a number of car hire locations across the city, including Edinburgh Airport and Waverley Train Station.