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Edinburgh Festival Tips

If you have never visited Scotland’s capital before, then what better time than during the Edinburgh Festival? With so much going on you will be spoilt for choice, but what if you don’t even know where to start? Seasoned visitors will know what to expect, but being new to the event can be as intimidating as it is exhilarating. 


We won’t bamboozle you with loads of this years ‘it’ shows because we like to leave that to the professionals (though, if you need accommodation, give us a bell!) so instead we have a list of handy hints that we have picked up from years of being locals.

1. Keep close by your companion…

…or have a meeting point at least. The festival attracts hundreds of millions to the city every year, so now is not the time to go off exploring alone if you are travelling with someone. The Royal Mile is normally very busy, and during peak season you will struggle to move quickly. This isn’t always a bad thing, the city is buzzing with activity and you are part of it! Just make sure you know where your fellow visitors are or where you will find them. 

2. Book shows in advance

The popular shows sell out fast, and early, so if you really want to see something be sure to book up in advance. This way you will avoid disappointment on the day. It’s the logical thing to do, but many make this mistake and miss out on a great show.

Edinburgh fringe street performers

3. Dress comfortably 

Your Mother always told you to wear comfortable shoes, and we are too. Edinburgh is full of cobbled streets, split levels, and, no matter which direction you walk, you’ll be going up-hill. The city is perfect for exploring on foot and it is far easier to do so. Comfortable shoes and clothing is a must. Check the weather before you go and make sure you are ready for rain, shine, or both!

4. Just take the leaflet 

We know you don’t want to, nobody does, but it’s much easier to just take the leaflet from the PR. The employees handing out flyers are being paid to do it and they’ll probably have a quota, so just take it and you never know, you might discover a fantastic show!

edinburgh festival city street performers

5. Don’t forget the street shows

Not sure what to see? Just take a stroll up The Royal Mile! There is always a street show on, from magic to comedy, just keep an eye out for a small crowd. These guys might not charge for their shows, but if you are consuming their entertainment, be sure to drop them a quick tip before you leave, they deserve to be paid for their art too.

6. Book accommodation early

This might be a bit late for you if your trip is very soon, but it is a very (very very) well-known fact that Edinburgh accommodation books up completely during the festival. Hotels that are available will ramp up their prices (because economics) and holiday lets will likely be booked up well in advance. If you haven’t sorted yours out yet, feel free to have a browse through our properties here, we’ll try our best.

edinburgh city street with sky

7. Plan, or don’t!

Having a plan of action when visiting somewhere as busy as Edinburgh will ensure you see what you want. However, would you have discovered that fantastic Thai restaurant that is just up those steps if the curly haired boy on the bench didn’t give you the tip-off? Probably not. Sometimes you need a plan, sometimes it’s more fun to wing it. Whatever you choose, don’t panic if you don’t stick to it.

8. Indulge

Eat. Drink. Be merry. Not just a sentiment for Christmas anymore! The festival has so many vendors all over the city. From Mexican to Meditteranean, and gin to juice, the festival is not the time to be planning out every single morsel to pass your lips, just enjoy everything you can. 

Edinburgh city back street

9. Explore

Edinburgh is full of winding streets, closes that lead to hidden gems, and something new on every corner. If you have time to spare, have a wander through some of the back streets. You could find the next big thing, or you could get completely lost and need to ask for directions, either way, it’s a good story. 

10. Discover something new

Don’t come all the way to Scotland’s historical capital and do the same thing you do at home. Try a new whisky, try whisky full stop, take a bus tour or dance in the sunshine on The Meadows. Whatever you do, break out of your comfort zone even if it’s just a little. Travel isn’t meant to be the same in every location, otherwise, what would you learn?

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