There are 6 festivals held in Edinburgh during the month of August which are The Edinburgh Art Festival, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival and The Edinburgh Mela. The most popular of these is the ‘Edinburgh Fringe Festival’ which is based on drama, music, dance and perhaps one of the most popular genres, comedy. It is now the largest festival of its kind in the world and attracts thousands of visitors to Edinburgh every year. In fact, the population of Edinburgh more than doubles during the month of August.
The Edinburgh International Festival began in 1947 with the intention to perk up post war Britain. The Fringe Festival also began alongside this festival but it was much less informal and had less established acts. Today the Edinburgh International Festival remains to host theatre, classical music, opera and dance companies year on year. But when it comes to the Fringe festival, it is based around theatre, comedy, dance, music, children's shows, exhibitions and musicals which take over the city during the month of August. The number of shows is up 11% on last year, making 2014 the biggest year yet in the history of the fringe!
Now with the facts out the way and August fast approaching, here are some top tips on how to make the most of the festival in 2014 and to make sure you create memories of Edinburgh you’ll cherish forever!
(1) Take a tram (they took long enough)
Edinburgh is a relatively small city and is quite easy to navigate but during the August festival period I would suggest you take advantage of Edinburgh’s famous (or some might say infamous) public transport. Sit on the bus and experience Edinburgh’s culture whilst taking in the sights and sounds of the city or why not take one of Edinburgh’s infamous trams, famous amongst the locals for all the wrong reasons, but they sure are handy!
Tip: All locals know what bus to take and love to help so don’t be afraid to ask!
(2) Become an Edinburgh foodie
Edinburgh is a foodie’s haven. Whether it’s fine dining, roof top terraces or a metropolitan café culture, Edinburgh has it sorted. Sample mouth-watering fresh seafood, delectable Aberdeen Angus beef or some authentic haggis, neeps and tatties.
Here are some of my favourites:
Urban Angel on Hanover Street has an ethos based around tasty locally sourced, organic produce. They are renowned for their brunch which samples an extraordinary eggs benedict as well as a tasty Arbroath smokie.
The Scran and Scallie (meaning food & scallywag in Gaelic) in Stockbridge is one of Edinburgh’s best gastro pubs created by Tom Kitchin & Dominic Jack whom both hold Michelin stars. This place is a gastronomic delight. Food prepared by Michelin stared chefs at an affordable price; how could you go wrong!
Tip: Bear in mind some restaurants will get very busy, which leads me perfectly onto my next tip.
(3) Experience fine dining- festival style
Pop up stands are a big part of Edinburgh festival and are located in nearly all of the main venues. Grasp the chance to experience some authentic street food at an affordable price. Famous eateries around the city will sometimes get a pop up stand just for the festival
(4) Experience the atmosphere at the big shows
Don’t miss out on one of Edinburgh’s greatest events; The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This is one of Edinburgh’s finest shows, showcasing the talents of musicians and performers from all over the world. With the best views of Edinburgh high above from the floodlit castle esplanade, the tattoo is a stunning spectacle of music, ceremony, entertainment and theatre. After every performance there are an explosion of beautiful fireworks that will truly take your breath away.
Tip: Book popular shows in advance to avoid disappointment. There are several ways in which you can book tickets. There will be box offices located throughout the city as well as in some of the bigger venues such as the Assembly Rooms and the Pleasance where you can pay in person. Another alternative is to book online or to phone up and book.
(5) Experience the atmosphere at some of the smaller, free shows
Don’t forget to feel the unique vibe in some of the smaller venues. Catch some of the up and coming talent emerging. Laugh your socks off and enjoy yourself, these shows have a unique feel where the crowd becomes a part of the act and who knows the person performing could be the next big star! Don’t believe me? Well ask Rowan Atkinson, Sarah Millican, Bill Bailey and Graham Norton to name a few.
(6) Tartan yourself up
Get a ‘See You Jimmy’ hat from one of the Scottish souvenir shops which are located on nearly every corner of the city. Get yourself tartan’d up and buy silly souvenirs to create fun memories to last a lifetime.
Some of my recommendations:
Romanes & Patterson: 62 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2DH
Hector Russell: 137-141 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SG
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill: 371 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1PW
(7) Edinburgh’s late night venues
Edinburgh's 5am festival licence allows you continue the party into the wee hours in whatever style of venue takes your fancy.
I would recommend the recently refurbished Castle Clvb on Queensferry Lane, home to a brand new Function One sound system and sensory LED light panels with an underground atmosphere to match. For more commercial tastes I recommend BROKE! Fridays at Cav, a 1200+ capacity venue with three rooms of music.
George Street and the surrounding area is particularly abundant in clubs and bars, you can view a map of the clubs in the area here.
Feel free to party to your heart’s content as the sun rises throughout Edinburgh!
(8)Last but not least- Make sure you take a Timberbush Tour (of course!)
Edinburgh is one of Scotland’s main transport hubs so for the many people attending the Edinburgh festival it is incredibly easy to go and see some of Scotland’s most iconic scenery, such as Loch Ness, Glen Coe and the Isle of Skye.
August is a fantastic time to be in Edinburgh with real buzz and energy throughout the city. With hundreds of shows, hotels, restaurants, cafes and activities to choose from, it can be easy to get a bit over whelmed with it all. After a couple of days you may be feeling like some fresh country air and doing something at a more relaxed pace.
What better way to do this than by booking for a tour with Timberbush Tours! We offer 1, 2 and 3 day tours to some of the most beautiful places in Scotland. Let Scotland inspire you, we’ll do the rest!