World's Largest Arts Festival

Survive the Edinburgh Festival


The world’s largest arts festival is held every August in Scotland, overlooked by the striking Edinburgh Castle. Although it originally started in 1947 as a festival for arts, dance, ballet and opera, the festival has since grown to represent an umbrella of nearly a dozen festivals occurring simultaneously, most notably the massive Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I remember strolling Princess Street, being handed free tickets to various events (some excellent, some not), stumbling onto amazing art exhibitions, films, jazz – everything taking place wherever there’s some room to put it on. I failed to book ahead and ended up sleeping on a park bench. The policeman who woke me up in the middle of the art didn’t buy my claim I was merely an artist in the middle of a particularly slow street performance.

Length of Trip : The festival itself is 30 days long, but 3-7 days is recommended

Cost :
Ticket prices depend on the show in question. There are however bundle deals for groups and a large selection of free shows. For more information, check out

Best time to go : Planning your trip for the beginning of the festival brings the guarantee of cheaper tickets. At the same time, the greatest number of shows take place mid-festival. Finally, the last week of the festival is punctuated by the highest energy and hype of the hits.

Wheelchair friendly : Yes

Family friendly : Depends on the show

Where to eat :
The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen, George Street
The Edinburgh Gin Garden, St Andrew’s Square

Visit Britain has compiled a terrific list of nine great places to eat at the festival, especially if you're on a budget.

Official Site :
Click here to VisitBritain

Where to Stay :
Edinburgh University transforms its student housing into a bed and breakfast during the festival, which is a popular accommodation choice.
If you're traveling in a group and staying more than a couple nights, renting a flat is the most fun and cost-effective option. You'll definitely want to book ahead as spending the night on a park bench is no fun at all.

Getting There :
Edinburgh is roughly 4 and a half hours from London by train. The Megabus will also get you to the festival in a full day or night. Renting a car or car-sharing is also an option although finding parking in the city during the festival can be challenging.

Note from Robin :
Everywhere you go, people are discussing some show or another, and thus word-of- mouth establishes the Festival’s must-sees. I bought a ticket to show whose name had come up a few times, and although critically acclaimed, it left me colder than the pint I followed it with. Be sure to check online reviews to find the shows with great buzz. You'll also want to check out the castle, and wander about the streets of this famously eclectic city.



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