For entertainment and culture, there can be no finer place in the world than Edinburgh in August. Nothing can compare to the Scottish capital and nothing else can compare to it while the Festivals are running.
Other European cities have large arts festivals (Avignon inis a good example), but none have quite so much going on at the same time.
Last time I was in Edinburgh at festival time, I managed to catch the following in the space of two-and-a-half days:
-’s most popular variety entertainer.
- An Austrian sex therapist.
- Two ranting Welsh comedians.
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- An incredibly talented Brazilian drummer teaming up with an Italian jazz guitarist.
- A very odd Spanish play involving lots of shouting and a techno-flamenco soundtrack.
Throw in the more standard comedy shows, theatre productions and street performers and it is absolutely impossible to stay bored for long.
But what are the best ways to enjoy Edinburgh while the Festivals are on? Well, I’ve a few tips…
Book accommodation well in advance
Cheap accommodation books out very quickly, and prices can ramp up nearer the time. Out-of-season student accommodation is usually the cheapest, but there are hostels and budget hotels.
Don’t try and do too much
Many people go up and try to fit six or seven shows into a day. This is a sure fire way to burn out, make every show merge into one, and induce poverty. It’s best to pick two or three a day, and explore the city or soak up the atmosphere when not sat in a theatre watching something. It becomes a far less frazzling experience.
It can be galling to spend $20 on something that’s rubbish, but that’s balanced out by the number of times you take a punt and discover something brilliant. The festival programme is like a vast directory and ends up being like a menu with too many options on it. A good way of getting a taster of what’s on offer is going to one of the ‘Best Of’ shows that includes snatches of a few shows.
Otherwise, go to a couple of things on a whim after being handed flyers.
Take advantage of the deals
Most venues have two-for-one ticket offers on shows that haven’t sold out, while the Half Price Tent near Waverley Station has on-the-day tickets for shows that are, predictably enough, half price.