Planning Your Trip

With thousands of shows in more than 250 venues, the Fringe is the largest arts festival on earth! So 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.

The Fringe Society is here to help you plan your trip and get around. There’s loads of information in the Official Fringe Programme, including maps of all venues, and here on edfringe.com. You can easily search and book tickets to every show on the Fringe at edfringe.com or via our official App for iPhone and Android and then pick your tickets up at one of our collection points situated all over the city. Or pop into our Box Office or pick up the phone and we’ll help you in person. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, a registered charity, works year round to develop and improve our services to make sure the world’s largest arts festival is an all-round better experience each time you visit.

Here’s our guide to help you get to Edinburgh, find a place to stay and navigate your way through this glorious historic city.

About Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, is an 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 Place of Holyrood House separated by the historical Royal Mile, 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 12 festivals each year, including the Fringe - Science Festival, Imaginate Children's Festival, Film Festival, Jazz & Blues Festival, Art Festival, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, International Festival, Book Festival, Mela Festival, Storytelling Festival, Edinburgh's Hogmanay. More information is available on http://www.edinburghfestivalcity.com

Getting to Edinburgh

We know that the Fringe will leave you wanting more, but the journey to Edinburgh is part of the fun too. Whether travelling by rail or road, via the Highlands or the Borders, the landscape is spectacularly breath-taking.

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, why not consider coming by train or bus. 

Car Share

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.

By 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 run directly to Edinburgh from throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK.

To plan your road journey, you can use the AA route planner.

By rail

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.

When the 2015 ScotRail festival schedule is made available, you will find details of all extra services on the ScotRail website. We also have a Glasgow box office, located in Glasgow Queen Street station underneath the departures boards which will be open daily during the Fringe.

You can plan your train journey at The Trainline http://www.thetrainline.com/

By air

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 Travel Into Edinburgh page on the Edinburgh International Airport website, or check out Transport for Edinburgh where you’ll find details of bus and tram options.

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.

Getting around Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a compact city and the majority of venues are located within easy walking distance of each other. During August, the quickest way to get between venues can often be on foot. Edinburgh has an excellent local bus service for getting into the city if you’re staying in the outskirts, or for getting around, and most venues are not far from a bus stop. We also have the newly opened tramline, and plenty of on and off road cycle paths

Remember to always carry a venues map – you can pick up a free larger scale map from the Box Offices or the Fringe Shop.

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 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

Walking times depend on how much of a contemplative soul you are, but as guidance a Scottish brisk walk from Waverley Station, the main train 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, from Waverley Station, then allow yourself 45 minutes to get there.

Cycling

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! The Fringe programme map includes information on some useful routes, but more complete cycling maps can be found at innertubemap.com and through Spokes.org.uk.

Buses

Edinburgh’s 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 a Day ticket or a Day&night ticket may be more suitable. It’s also possible to buy a one-week or four-week bus pass (ridacard) For more information on routes and timetables go to Transport for Edinburgh {transportforedinburgh.com], or download The Transport for Edinburgh smartphone travel app which has lots of information to help you plan your journey. Their Travelshop locations are also shown on the Fringe map.

Trams

We also have the newly opened tramline – running direct from Edinburgh Airport to York Place via Princes Street and St Andrew Square. There are various ticketing options which work across both tram and bus. Timetable information can be found at Transport for Edinburgh, and also on the The Transport for Edinburgh smartphone travel app.

Taxis

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 one of those unmissable experiences but remember to always agree the price of your fare in advance.

Cars

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 or register with Ring and go and pay via a payment card. 

Venue Map

You can use our interactive venue map to find details and directions to any of the venues hosting events at the Festival Fringe.

Accommodation

Edinburgh has plenty of accommodation, and attractive options for different budgets. The offer is really diverse – from luxury hotels to B&Bs, youth hostels, university rooms, self-catering private apartments and camping sites.

VisitScotland, Scotland’s tourism agency provides an online booking service and on the phone – dial 0845 22 55 11 or go to their website.Contact them to register your requirements and let their staff do the groundwork for you.

Airbnb - official accommodation partner

Airbnb, an official accommodation partner of the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, has revolutionised the way people book and list accommodation spaces. A trusted service with 24/7 customer support, Airbnb is designed to quickly connect accommodation seekers with hosts, and has quickly become one of the premier accommodation booking services worldwide. For more information visit their website.

You’ll also find accommodation providers listed in our services directory.

Festival Tips

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.

Virgin Money Half-Price Hut

No particular plans for the day? Then swing by the Virgin Money Half-Price Hut during the festival and see what tickets are on offer that day for half of their usual price.

Go free

There are plenty of free shows on offer during the festival, not to mention all the discounted tickets and 2for1 ticket deals.  You can search for free and discounted tickets by ticking under ‘special pricing’ on the left hand side of the search for shows page.

Dress wisely

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.

Pace yourself

With thousands 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.

Respect the environment

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is committed to minimising their impact on the environment – please help us by doing the same. Please give thought to how you travel to the Fringe and while you are here, please dispose of your rubbish in one of the many bins or recycling points dotted around the city.

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’.

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