With record numbers of Brits shunning trips abroad in favour of holidaying at home in the UK, a summer staycation in Edinburgh during the Fringe can tick all the boxes. Amazing culture, food, history and nature - with the added bonus of the planet’s biggest arts festival right on your doorstep.
The whole world at your feet
You want to see the world? Well, you’ve come to the right place. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe brings the world to you. In 2017, 62 countries were represented at the Fringe across the 3,398 shows in the programme. The Fringe is the meeting place for the international arts community and offers audiences the opportunity to experience a multitude of cultures in one day. If you can think of a country you’ve always wanted to visit but never quite made it to, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find a show from that country right here. Keep an eye out for the international showcases and seasons that take place at the Fringe each year, bringing performers from all over the world to Edinburgh, just for you.
You’ll want a pizza this
If you’re anything like us, sampling the local cuisine rates top of the list while on holiday. From Michelin star restaurants serving the best of Scotland’s local produce, to vegan pub grub, to hole-in-wall takeaways dishing up baked potatoes the size of your head, you definitely won’t go hungry. And, if you need to grab a quick bite between shows, many venues host food stalls that offer flavours from around the world; whether Thai, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Italian or, of course, Scottish food floats your boat, you can find it at the Fringe.
One Brew-diful city
Holidays can be thirsty work, and when you’re packing your days with as many Fringe shows as you possibly can, it’s understandable that a daily caffeine hit might be a priority. Edinburgh’s coffee scene is booming and you are sure to find a cosy space to unwind with your decaf double soy mocha latte with caramel drizzle, while you peruse the Fringe Programme. Looking for something a little stronger? The city’s many bars and pubs are the haven you are looking for, offering a huge selection of local gins, whiskies and craft beers, as well as a wide array of international tipples. You might even chance upon a show in one of the many bars across the city that double up as venues during the Fringe.
Every nook and cranny of Scotland’s capital is steeped in history, so if you’re a history buff, you’ll find more than enough torturous tales, notable landmarks and medieval buildings including, of course, world-famous Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city skyline. Check out the many museums and galleries, or tackle a walking tour for an entertaining trip down memory lane.
Take a hike
From the Pentland Hills, through the cobbled streets of the Old Town, to the top of Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh is one giant walking trail. If you enjoy getting out and stretching your legs while on holiday, the city offers plenty of outdoor spaces to explore. Remember to take a stroll past our Virgin Money Street Events on the Mound Precinct and the Royal Mile, the world’s largest street events festival.
Seas the day
Loving the energy of the city but need some time to revive? There’s plenty of daytrips within an hour of Edinburgh where you can inhale deeply the fresh air and take things at a slightly slower pace. Consider the quaint seaside towns of East Lothian, or the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders for a wee holiday-within-a-holiday. Both are either a short drive or accessible by train. Always worth keeping an eye out for shows on the fringes of the city too. Venues in 2017 included Dalkeith Country Park, Musselburgh Race Course and Inveresk Lodge Garden.
The great thing about Edinburgh is that even during the hustle bustle of the Fringe, you can still find a relaxed village atmosphere right in the city. Tucked away in the quirkiness of Leith, the elegance of Stockbridge, and the leafy streets of Bruntsfield and Morningside, are delightful delis, cosy wine bars and rustic bakeries all waiting to be explored. And just five minutes from the Fringe crowds on the Royal Mile, is the Dean Village, a tranquil oasis straight from a fairytale right by the Water of Leith.
Play the fame game
It’s not unusual during the Fringe to find yourself sinking a beer in the pub alongside a famous comedian, or waiting in line at the chippy with someone from the telly. Edinburgh is already a fabulous place for people-watching, but come festival time, celeb-spotting becomes an unofficial national sport. Likewise, the city has been the stunning backdrop for numerous blockbuster films, as well as the inspiration for a series of books about a very famous wizard. People from around the world make the pilgrimage to Edinburgh to sprint down the streets featured in Trainspotting, visit the grave of Tom Riddle from Harry Potter fame, and follow in the footsteps of Outlander’s rugged hero, Jamie Fraser.
…and of course, if you plan your Edinburgh staycation for between 3 –27 August you’ll not have to look far for entertainment. With more than 50,000 performances of 3,000-plus shows in 300 venues by performers from more than 60 different countries, you definitely won’t be bored!*
* based on 2017 programme figures