Planning Your Trip
Welcome to the Planning Your Trip area, your quick-access tool for learning how to make the most of your time at the Fringe this summer!
Whether you’re a seasoned Fringe visitor, performer or this is your first experience of the festival, there is always a fair bit of planning required to make the most of what’s on offer. Here’s our guide to help you get to Edinburgh, find a place to stay and navigate your way through this glorious historic city.
We know that the Fringe will leave you wanting more, but it is worth pointing out that the journey to Edinburgh will take your breath away too. Whether by rail or road, via the Highlands or the Borders, the landscape is spectacularly breathtaking.
The ultimate green initiative, car-sharing is one of the best options for travelling to Edinburgh. You save on costs while saving the planet! You can find more information about Edinburgh car sharing from goCarShare and TripshareEdinburgh.
Edinburgh is a scant four-and-a-half hours train journey from London King’s Cross. 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).
If you’re travelling from the North West of England, First TransPennine Express operate direct train services into Edinburgh from Manchester, Preston and Lancaster. For more information go to www.tpexpress.co.uk. For rail travel options from other destinations, visit East Coast at www.eastcoast.co.uk.
The 2012 season saw a huge range of additional train services to and from Edinburgh for those travelling to the Fringe from locations throughout Scotland as part of First ScotRail’s biggest-ever festivals timetable.
There were extra carriages between Glasgow and Edinburgh and a late night train from Edinburgh to Glasgow at 00:30 every night of the week, as well as extra runs and additional late night trains for Perth, Dundee, North Berwick and Fife. When the 2013 festival schedule is made available, you will find details of all extra services on the ScotRail website.
Also new for 2012 was our Glasgow box office, located in Glasgow Queen Street station underneath the departures boards which was open every day between 08:00 and 20:00, from 27 July to 27 August.
If you prefer the open road, the journey to Edinburgh is a scenic treat by either car or bus. Edinburgh is connected to the East Coast of the UK 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 such as megabus.com run directly to Edinburgh from throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK.
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. For information on travelling to and from the airport, visit the To and From the Airport page on the Edinburgh International Airport website.
Take a look through www.transportdirect.info to find out all the different ways you can travel to Edinburgh from anywhere in the UK, including fares and timetables.
Edinburgh is a compact city, ideal for pedestrians, and a delight to walk through – most venues are located in the city centre. Remember to always carry a venues map with you and you’ll soon work out the main areas where performances are taking place.
Some venues are literally 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 the the many Old Town venues. If you're looking for directions or more information on any of our venues, you can use our interactive venue map.
Walking times depend on how much of a contemplative soul you are, but as guidance a Scottish brisk walk from Waverley Station can take you to most city centre venues in as little as 20 minutes and the Royal Botanic Gardens could be reached in 30 minutes. If you are walking to places like The Shore in Leith then allow yourself 45 minutes to get there.
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!
If you require transportation the network of buses is excellent, covering not just the city but also its outskirts; most venues are never far from a bus stop. Single fares cost £1.50 but if you’re using the bus on more than two journeys then just get an all-day ticket with unlimited travel for £3.50. For more information on routes and timetables go to www.lothianbuses.co.uk.
There are a variety of taxi ranks dotted around central Edinburgh. Look for the unmistakable black cabs: an orange light on means the taxi is available.
Edinburgh at festival time wouldn’t be Edinburgh without the athletic rickshaw drivers who cycle around the city. It’s one of those unmissable experiences but beware they are at least twice as expensive as a normal cab – and the price could easily hike up if you’re going uphill. Always agree the price of your fare in advance.
If you are 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.
You can use our interactive venue map to find details and directions to any of the venues hosting events at the Festival Fringe.
Edinburgh has plenty of accommodation, and attractive options for different budgets. The offer is really diverse – from luxury hotels to B&Bs, including youth hostels, university rooms and self-catering private apartments.
VisitScotland, Scotland’s tourism agency provides an online booking service and on the phone – dial 0845 22 55 121. Contact them to register your requirements and let their staff do the groundwork for you.
How do you take in the whole of the Fringe in a short period of time? Try following these handy tips collated by our staff and friends...
Variety equals spice
The Fringe features many art forms so get stuck in! Don’t just stick to what you know. Take a chance. Variety is the spice of life, and the flavour of the Fringe is best experienced when you’re willing to dip into all the surprising options, from theatre to stand-up, from a staggering range of live music to one-on-one speed dating performance art.
No particular plans for the day? Then swing by the Fringe Half-Price Hut during the festival and see what tickets are on offer for half of their usual price that day.
There are plenty of free shows on offer during the festival, not to mention all the discounted tickets and 2for1 ticket deals.
You are in Scotland, a country infamous for putting on a spectacular weather show that delivers four seasons in one day. Even though it’s August you’d best be prepared for sun, warmth, rain, cold and lots and lots of walking. Remember: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.
With over 2,400 shows on offer it would be hard to take it all in – the secret to the Fringe is to find a blissful balance between quantity and quality. If you hit the road early each morning you stand a better chance of getting the tickets you really want. And if you don’t.... well, take a chance on something else.
Open your mind… and your heart
Edinburgh’s population triples during the festival, so that means there will quite a few people around. The good news is that you can always rely on a good old British spirit – and queue – in the most unlikely of places! Queues are a great place to make friends and get festival recommendations, so make the most of your time in line. Keep a sense of humour about it all as you move around town and an open mind: swap any emerging ‘crowd rage’ for a lovely dose of ‘festival fever’.