Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, is a historical city situated on the east coast of Scotland on the Firth of Forth. Edinburgh has been the Scottish capital since the 15th century. It has two distinct areas, both UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites: the Old Town, dominated by Edinburgh Castle, and the neoclassical New Town.
Home of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh is enriched with culture and literature, fine architecture, beautiful parks and galleries, including the National Gallery of Scotland, and has a small city centre that’s easily walkable. Well-known visitor attractions include Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House, separated by the historical Royal Mile; there's also the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Scott Monument, the National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Botanic Garden. With a population of almost 500,000, Edinburgh is Scotland's second-largest city after Glasgow.
A festival city, Edinburgh hosts 11 festivals each year, including the Fringe: Edinburgh Science Festival, Edinburgh International Children's Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Storytelling Festival and Edinburgh's Hogmanay. More information is available at edinburghfestivalcity.com.
How to safely attend an in-person Fringe show
All Fringe venues follow government guidelines for public safety; you'll be able to find information about any safety measures you’ll need to observe on individual show listings.
In 2021, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we put together the following list of typical safety measures you might encounter at Fringe venues. We'll update this page with information on any 2022 restrictions if and when they're announced – in the meantime, this list should give you an idea of the sort of safety measures you might expect to see:
- All Fringe shows are e-ticketed to reduce person-to-person contact – you can print off your ticket confirmation or show it on your smartphone or other mobile device. (If you don’t have access to a printer or mobile device, we can help find an alternative – just email [email protected].)
- Venues may ask you to buy tickets in bubbles (ie with members of your party grouped together) to aid social distancing.
- You may need to wear face coverings indoors and in crowded areas, unless you are exempt.
- There may be hand sanitiser stations at venues – if there are, please use them!
- Venues may ask you to check in and provide contact details, so they can get in touch if there’s a risk you might have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus symptoms.
- Venues may also ask you to follow one-way systems to aid social distancing.
- Many venues – as well as shops, bars and restaurants in Edinburgh – favour contactless payment rather than cash.
In any event, please remember to be kind! Artists and people who work in the arts, including venue staff, have to learn and adjust to new arrangements at the same rate as everyone else, so please be patient and respectful to everyone working to keep you safe at the Fringe.
The safety of everyone at the Fringe is our number one priority, and we work with Police Scotland to ensure the festival remains welcoming to all.
Police Scotland offer specific advice for attendees of festivals and other major events, including:
- Plan your travel before you go. Traffic can be heavy. Leave enough time to get there.
- Only take what you need. Don’t leave valuables or anything with your identity on it unattended.
- Beware of pickpockets. Don’t flash your valuables. Only carry what cash you need.
- Stay alert when getting money out of cash machines.
- Respect local residents and other festival-goers. Don’t place yourself or anybody else in danger when you’re having fun.
Fringe-goers have a vital role by remaining vigilant and reporting anything that doesn’t feel right. Tell a police officer immediately or call 101, the non-emergency number.
In an emergency, always dial 999. Don’t leave it to someone else to report it.
We know that the Fringe will leave you wanting more, but the journey to and from Edinburgh is part of the fun too. Whether travelling by rail or road, via the Highlands or the Borders, the landscape is spectacularly breathtaking.
Your travel to Edinburgh has an impact on the environment and flying from cities in the UK can take as long as travelling by train when you consider check-in times, so why not consider coming by train or bus?
Waverley station (Edinburgh’s main railway station) is ideally positioned in the heart of the city, close to most festival destinations and the many bus routes servicing Princes Street (the main shopping street). For more information visit:
- CrossCountry Trains
- ScotRail (a festival timetable is normally available in August).
- TransPennine Express (north-west England)
- Caledonian Sleeper (overnight services from London)
- National Rail (for updates on network maintenance)
Be sure to plan your journeys now as cheaper advance tickets from many UK destinations go on sale 12 to 24 weeks in advance of travel.
The journey to Edinburgh is a scenic treat by either car or bus. Edinburgh is connected to the UK’s east coast via the A1(M); a short trip to Glasgow on the M8 connects you to most cities in the west via the M6 and the Lake District. Coach services run directly to Edinburgh from throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK. Start planning your journey:
A great green initiative, car-sharing is one of the best options for travelling to Edinburgh. You save on costs while saving the planet, and get to know some of your fellow Fringe-goers en route.
Edinburgh International Airport is served by most domestic carriers and several international operators. The airport is easy to reach from the city, located just eight miles (12 km) west of Edinburgh city centre.
Edinburgh is a compact city and most venues are located within easy walking distance of each other. During August, the quickest way to get between venues can often be on foot. Some venues are within a stone’s throw of one another – particularly in the Old Town, where you wouldn’t need more than five to ten minutes to walk from the Royal Mile to many Old Town venues.
Edinburgh has plenty of cyclists, so if you’re thinking of bringing your bike along you will be in good company. But remember the city is quite hilly! You can find a complete cycling map of Edinburgh on innertubemap.com.
Edinburgh’s Lothian bus network is excellent, covering not just the city but also its outskirts including Queensferry, East Lothian and Midlothian; most venues have a bus stop near by.
Single fares cost £1.80 but if you’re taking three or more journeys in a day then a Lothian Dayticket (£4.50) or a LATEticket (£4.00) are the best value for you.
Please note: unless you're using a Ridacard, contactless payment or the Lothian Bus M-Tickets App, you'll need to provide the exact fare on the bus, as drivers don't have access to cash to give change.
There's a tramline running direct from Edinburgh Airport to York Place via Princes Street and St Andrew Square. You can choose from several ticketing options which work on both trams and buses. Timetable information can be found at Transport for Edinburgh, and also on the Transport for Edinburgh App.
Please note: you must buy your tram ticket before you board, via ticketing machines on the tram platform.
There are a variety of taxi ranks dotted around central Edinburgh. Look for the unmistakable black cabs: an orange light on top means the taxi is available for hire.
Edinburgh at festival time wouldn’t be Edinburgh without the athletic rickshaw drivers who cycle around the city. It’s a fun, unmissable experience – but remember to always agree the price of your fare in advance.
If you’re bringing your own car, please beware that Edinburgh has limited parking and strict restrictions in place. In the city centre the vast majority of parking is pay and display – always check the instructions on the meter and carry plenty of coins with you, or register with RingGo and pay over the phone or via app.