Giggle, snigger, chortle and chuckle it’s time to book your festival accommodation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012. From the 3-27 August Edinburgh will transform into the funniest city in the world and beds are selling out fast – around half of our hostels in Edinburgh have been booked out already.
The biggest arts festival in the world has been going for over 60 years and thousands of performers turn up hoping to be the next Jimmy Carr, Peter Kay or Miranda Hart.
But it’s not just funny folk, there’s dance, opera, children’s shows and music. Highlights this year include Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee 2009 Carl Donnelly, Wu Hsing-kuo in a one-man rendition of King Lear and the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe performing The Revenge of Prince Zidan.
Edinburgh Festival accommodation
Beds in Edinburgh vary but if you get in now you can still have your pick of the crop. Whether you’re by yourself or with your nearest and dearest most of the hostels are of a great standard and centrally located. Staying in a hostel also means you can save on the hiked prices of food and drink by using the self-catering facilities.
YOUNG, FREE AND SINGLE
St Christopher’s Inn – Edinburgh is recommended for a younger crowd, and the on-site Belushi’s Bar means it’s especially good for solo travellers. They have live music, DJ’s, karaoke, theme nights and sports screens. It’s close to the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, St. Giles Cathedral and the Edinburgh Zoo. You’ll be close to all the festival action from St Christopher’s Inn.
Dorms starting from €.70pppn
CHEAP AND CHEERFUL
The Edinburgh Nights Hostel is right in the centre of the city and just 10 minutes from the bus station, and 2 from the train. Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and a range of cafes, bars, clubs, restaurants and delis are just a stones throw away. Wi-fi is free, they have 4-10-bed dorms available, free breakfast and free towel hire for all.
Dorms from €25.82pppn
Live it up in an apartment at Lets Edinburgh – Private Apartments. It’s within walking distance of the centre and all apartments have en-suite shower rooms and wi-fi. All rooms are en-suite and can be booked on an individual basis or as part of a group renting the whole apartment. There’s CCTV, secure door entry and on-site laundry facilities.
Rooms in the apartments from €61.30 pppn.
REST AND RELAXATION
If you know you’re going to want to retreat away from the city’s craziness Argyle Backpackers has a homely and chilled atmosphere just a 10-minute walk from the city centre but in Edinburgh’s East Meadow Park. There’s a kitchen, a log-fire in the living room, a conservatory and a sunny garden. The hostel has 3-bed privates and 4-8-bed dorms.
Dorms start at €33.24 pppn and privates at €45.85
If you’re coming with every Tom, Dick and Harry you can muster up, the Westend Hotel has plenty of beds left. Stylish rooms for 2-18 are available in this conveniently located traditional building. There’s a bar on-site which has live music and two big screens. Located in a quiet residential street, it’s only a few minutes walk to the action of the festival.
Dorms start at €31.53 and privates at €54.45
The Smart City Hostels Edinburgh has a minimum stay of two nights over festival time and is perfect for families. Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town it’s surrounded by cafes and shops and the Edinburgh Castle is in sight. There’s an all-day café on site, rooms for 1-12 people and a family room with TV.
Ensuite dorms start at 29.12 and private, en-suite, 4-bed B&B rooms starts at €44.71
Top tips for families
There are a wide range of performances created specifically for children, which last year included children’s classics such as Alice in Wonderland and Roald Dahl’s The Twits – check the programme for details of times and venues. They’ll enjoy the eccentric street performers and puppet shows like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, too.
The best way to survive the Edinburgh Fringe with a family is not to try to fit too much in – two shows a day would be plenty. Then supplement this by enjoying some shopping or one of the city’s museums and attractions.
There’s loads for kids to do and see in Edinburgh, including Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Dungeons and Arthur’s Seat. See our article on Family friendly city breaks for some ideas.
To make sure you all have a good holiday, take note of our family travel tips and get the insider knowledge on how to cope with toddler tantrums and sulky teenagers.
How to get tickets
Book early if there’s a certain act you’re desperate to see. You can purchase tickets directly at the venue or online at the Edinburgh Fringe website. It’s often worth going direct, though, as the Box Office only sell about 25% of the tickets.
You can order your programme in advance, which comes with a handy map and venue guide. It’s free from Edinburgh, although you can also order a copy from the Fringe Box Office after June for the price of postage.
9 top budget tips
- Look out for great deals at the last minute such as the Half Price Hut located at the Mound Precinct. You’ll find a ticket booth which offers 2 for 1 on shows that haven’t sold out on the day of the performance.
- Hang around outside the venue when a show is about to start — the acts would rather have a crowd than an empty hall, so sellers can offer cut-price seats at the last second.
- There are two groups organising in the free events: Laughing Horse Comedy’s Free Festival hosts a bit of everything including comedy, cabaret, theatre, music gigs, exhibitions and operas. While PBH’s Free Fringe pioneered bringing spoken word to the Fringe and has a substantial theatre section with cabaret, magic, science, music and art.
- There’s also free entertainment on the streets with bars open till 5am every night and thousands of visitors wandering around. Performers gather at the Royal Mile and National Galleries to play to the crowds.
- Aside from the Fringe, check out the Edinburgh Festivals for Free from 2010, with parades to poetry readings there’ll be a similar programme this time round.
- If you’re really tight on cash, ask around at restaurants and pubs. They’re so busy some will hire extra staff for the festival to cope with the crowds. With the late openings and constant buzz in the city, working behind the bar or waiting tables can be an entertaining way to experience to Fringe in itself!
- On Saturdays the Edinburgh Farmers Market is a fantastic place to pick up budget-friendly food. Held between 9am and 2pm at Castle Terrace, it has a range of stalls offering hot takeaway food, such as venison burgers and a hog roast.
- Another great option for a cheap meal is The Lunch Box where you can pick up huge portions of halal curries for just a few pounds.
- Finally, you can’t beat pub grub for a taste of Scotland – look out for lunchtime meal offers that are often cheaper than dinner and you could bag a 2 for 1 bargain with your pint.