Edinburgh Fringe: A Survival Guide

Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide

Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the one of the biggest arts festivals in the world, and with this year being the 70th anniversary it’s sure to be the biggest yet!

Attending the Edinburgh Fringe may seem like a daunting undertaking, so we’ve compiled some tips and tricks to make your Fringe experience the best it can be!



Edinburgh Fringe Programme Guide

Edinburgh Fringe Programme Guide

These big red programmes are everywhere and can help you navigate the thousands of performances being held over the month of August. If that sounds a little…overwhelming, take advantage of some resources that can help narrow down your choices.


The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society (where the main box office and shop is located) can help you navigate your experience over Fringe.


Also check out online publications such as The Skinny, Chortle, and The List to read reviews and find recommended shows.


Once you’ve selected some shows to see, it’s time to buy tickets! This can be done through the website, in person at one of the box office locations, over the phone, or through the Fringe App.

While there is no mobile ticket option, tickets can be collected all over the city.


Those looking for a deal can check out the Virgin Money Half-Price Hut at The Mound Precinct (Venue 55) for hundreds of discounted tickets.


If you are planning to see free or PWYW shows, carry some change or small bills. These shows typically have a bucket at the end where you can toss in some cash. “I only have card” are the four saddest words for these performers to hear, so be sure you’re ready to show your appreciation!


Some tips on scheduling shows:

  • When planning your shows, pay attention to the venue NUMBER, more so than the venue name. There are many venues around town listed by production company (Underbelly, Assembly, Laughing Horse, etc.) but the venues themselves are nowhere near each other. The venue number is listed clearly in the programme, on the Fringe App and usually on the venue itself. The last thing you want is to be at the Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre when you should be at the Gilded Balloon Teviot!


  • Keep in mind that, unless you are a teleporter, you will not be able to get from a show that ends at 7 in one venue to a show that starts at 7 in another. Some venues do not accept latecomers, so plan accordingly.


  • Be sure to download the Fringe App, and get the Fringe Programme in your pocket! The Fringe App also lets you purchase tickets, add shows to a calendar and find upcoming shows near you!
Edinburgh Fringe Festival App Screenshot

Edinburgh Fringe Festival App Screenshot


Food and Drink


While Edinburgh does have lots of great places to sit down and grab a bite, you should expect long waits and high prices. Instead, beat the crowds by dining al fresco in one of Edinburgh’s many beautiful green spaces. There are many takeaway places in Edinburgh that’ll wrap you up something delicious for under £10.


Here are some of our top picks:

  • Italian Mound (fresh sandwiches & good coffee), 15 Bank St., Old Town
  • Burrito & Shake (huge burritos, open late), 107 South Bridge, Old Town
  • Slice (giant slices of pizza), 49 Forrest Rd., University
  • Mosque Kitchen (Indian buffet/takeaway), 31-33 Nicolson Square, Southside
  • Oink (roast pork sandwiches), 34 Victoria St., 82 Canongate, 38 Hanover St.
  • Baked Potato Shop, 56 Cockburn St., Old Town
  • BRGR (burgers), 4-6 Nicolson St., Southbridge
  • Wings (chicken wings) 5-7 Old Fishmarket Close, Old Town


The Fringe website also has a list of cheap, tasty food as recommended by past Fringe-goers.

edinburgh fringe festival scotland meadows

edinburgh fringe festival scotland meadows

Getting Around

Save your Uber fare and invest in some good walking shoes and a raincoat. While taxis and Ubers are aplenty, Edinburgh isn’t really made for driving at the best of times and Fringe just means more traffic and higher fares. In short…you’d be better off walking.

If you do need to get across town, the buses are good, cheap and have free wifi!


Some tips for getting around Edinburgh:

  • Download a map of Edinburgh to your phone for easy reference without a need for wifi or cell reception. Maps.ME is a great free app that will give you directions that include all the little alleyways and closes that the locals use in lieu of the congested main roads.


  • If possible, when planning to see shows, try to check out one area of the city at a time. And give yourself plenty of time to get to the next show, even if your map tells you it’ll only be a five-minute walk.


  • Use the Fringe App’s “nearby” feature to find a show near you. Part of the Fringe Philosophy is trying new things; so don’t be afraid to take a chance on something just because it’s close by!




Edinburgh is crowded at the best of times, but during Fringe safety plays a big part in your enjoyment of the festival.


Some tips on staying safe:

  • As with any tourist city, keep valuables close to your body and carry a sensible amount of cash.


  • Wear sensible shoes! Edinburgh’s streets are uneven and sometimes slick with rain. Function beats out fashion here- so dress smart!


  • Leave the umbrella at home. This may not seem like a safety issue until you’ve been bludgeoned with a rogue umbrella that’s been blown out of someone’s hand! Umbrellas also cause crowd congestion and make it difficult to maneuver in small spaces. Wear a raincoat instead.


  • If you are in need of medical attention, dial 111 for free medial advice. NHS Lothian also offers free medical attention for tourists during Fringe.




If you find yourself in need of a place to stay during Fringe, consider one of our hostels. Scotland’s Top Hostels has three hostels in Edinburgh- right in the center of all the action! Hostels are much more affordable than hotels and AirBnBs and see a higher rate of cancellation, so before you give up on finding a place to crash, give us a call!


After the Fringe


Ready to trade in the insanity of festival life for a little peace, quiet and serenity? Well, hop on a tour with our award-winning tour company MacBackpackers. We offer 3-, 5-, and 7-day tours around the Scottish Highlands. After planning everything for Fringe, we’ll do all the work. All you have to do is hop on the bus and say goodbye to the Fringe!

Macbackpackers Tours

Macbackpackers Tours

Written by – Jacki Hope
STH Blogger.

Isle of Skye’s Prehistoric Gem

Imagine for a moment you could go back in time… as far back as even 170 odd million years to when the mighty dinosaurs still ruled this earth.
The dinosaurs were powerful, they were fearless and without a doubt- the champions of a world we will never fully understand.
They’ve gone now but have since left their marks in the forms of bones and GIGANTIC footprints.

It might not be Thursday but let’s have some Throwbacks to the days of watching Jurassic Park at home on the television, watching in amazement as the prehistoric beasts came to life in front of us and the characters fighting for their lives against them. Maybe you were once a tiny human who walked around ‘roaring’ at the top of your lungs to anyone near, in hopes you’d terrify them. Those were the days!
Dinosaurs are still awesome, and guess what? The dinosaur fun doesn’t have to end in your childhood.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

Back in 2015 a small group of researchers from Edinburgh University were led by a palaeontologist named Steve Brusatte to find dinosaur remains in Duntulm in the Highlands of Scotland. Even though their chances of finding dinosaur bones were small (almost as small as the country itself) they did happen to find something else, which was, in my opinion – pretty damn cool: very well preserved fossilized footprints. The footprints preserved by sedimentary layers in rocks and belonged to Sauropods (a breed of dinosaur which weighed more than 10 tonnes!). The researchers were very excited, and for good reason! Not long after the discovery, these prints were concluded as some of the very best dinosaur tracks found in the world! National Geographic called it “the largest dinosaur site ever found in Scotland”. In the Isle of Skye footprints have been found in areas such as Staffin Beach & Duntulm. The prehistoric footprint collection has seen travellers & locals nickname the area– ‘Dinosaur Isle’ or ‘Jurassic Island’.

I hope you’re making a trip up to the Isle of Skye! The beaches on their own are uniquely beautiful – some parts sandy, some salty and some have plenty of green mossy rocks. Make stops along the way to gaze into the rock pools. All that beauty aside… you must remember – you’ll literally be going on a dinosaur hunt, which means you also get to refer to yourself as Dinosaur Hunter (hashtags and all) . I promise you’ll smile to yourself cause’ you’ll actually be walking in the footprints of dinosaurs and embracing your own Jurassic story.
Many visitors to the say that the experience will have you questioning your part in the evolutionary experience. Just imagine comparing your feet or your hands to these larger than life prints.

The footprints are there, but it must be said #dinosaurhunter, that they can be as tricky to find them as the dinosaurs themselves- many travellers have visited and left the area having not found them. Instagram tags barely make up 300 images; partly for this reason.
Challenge accepted- I hear you say, that’s what I want to hear!

Now.. here are my Top-Tips to get the most out of your search..

Isle of Skye, Staffin Beach, Dinosaur Footprint.

  1. Stream the very first ‘Jurassic Park’ movie ever made – circa 1993. And watch it the night before! Get those adventure feels flowing, and hey if you’re keen – do 2,3 & Jurassic World too!
  2. Get up early to check them out! Low tide is the best time.
    Investigate the low tide times of the site you’re visiting prior. The central township of Portree has a tourist information centre which identify these times and/or looking it up online. Depending on which location you are going to visit & what time of the year- start times could be 4am or later.
  3. Wear some non-slip Gumboots/Galoshes/Wellies, no time for wet feet when we are Dinosaur Hunters.
  4. Check out the quirky Staffin Dinosaur Museum where the team there have a wealth of knowledge and offer priceless guidance to finding the coveted footprints.
  5. Get an epic shot of yourself in your best dinosaur pose next to a footprint!
    The seemingly common ‘Millenial’ question these days is: “if it isn’t on social media did it actually happen?” – might as well make it a great one!
  6. Someone once told me “every misadventure leads to a great story” – maybe you don’t find them straight away, maybe you lose a gumboot or fall in the water? – but those things MAKE A STORY when you tell the grandkids about that epic time you followed some clues and went dinosaur hunting.

Have fun ticking this prehistoric little beauty’ off your bucket-list.

And if you’re chasing a place to stay while you get you’re ‘dinosaur hunting’ on… look no further than Scotland’s Top Hostels local Skye Backpackers – Only a short drive to the dinosaur sites. CLICK HERE.

Written by – Court Jeremiah.
STH Blogger.