About the city
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.
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 in advance 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 (12km) west of Edinburgh city centre.
Book accommodation using Stay22
We’ve partnered with Stay22 to provide this interactive map of accommodation options in Edinburgh during the Fringe. You can zoom in and out to check prices and availability in different areas of the city, and use filters such as date, budget and number of guests to find the most relevant results for you.
If you see an option that catches your eye, simply click on it to find out more and arrange your stay.
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.
For more information on routes and timetables visit lothianbuses.com and download the Transport for Edinburgh App, for real time bus information and journey planning.
If you need any help you can visit any of Lothian’s Travelshop or tweet @on_lothianbuses.
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.
Contacting the NHS
If you have an urgent illness or injury while you are in Edinburgh, telephone NHS24 on 111 to speak to a health professional. Calling 111 will direct you to the Right Care in the Right Place and will ensure that you are cared for as quickly as possible.
NHS24 also offers an interpretation service. Please don’t go to a hospital unless you need emergency life-saving care.
If you have a minor illness, a pharmacy is the first place you should go for advice alongside visiting NHS Inform for more information on Right Care in the Right Place.
If it's a critical emergency, always call 999.
Covid guidance at the Fringe
In line with Scottish Government guidance, there is currently no legal requirement for Fringe venues to observe covid safety measures such as compulsory face coverings, minimum social distancing, etc.
However, we recognise that covid and other illnesses are still a serious concern for people who are clinically vulnerable. If you'd like to visit the Fringe but have health concerns, please get in touch with our access bookings team on [email protected] and we'll explore what options are available to make your visit as safe as possible.
A Distance Aware scheme, run by the Scottish Government, uses a badge or lanyard to show if someone needs more space or care. Find out more: Distance Aware badge or lanyard.
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.
Visit scotland.police.uk or follow @EdinburghPolice.