Tony Macaroni Guide to The Fringe

The first 2 weeks at The Fringe were a roaring success, bringing people from across the globe together for arguably Scotland’s biggest event of the year. But if you haven’t had a chance to get over to Edinburgh yet, don’t panic. There’s still plenty of fun to be had, and with the help of our Fringe Guide you’ll be able to make the most of your day regardless of your budget or time constraints. Happy Fringe-ing!

You need to plan every aspect of your day at the Fringe carefully if you want to make the most of it. Hopefully our guide will help you to avoid getting yourself in a (pasta) twist:

Are You:

Looking for cheap thrills or willing to spend a bit more?

Cheap and Cheerful

If your pockets aren’t feeling too deep after your summer holidays then you might be on the lookout for free fun at The Fringe. Luckily, there are plenty of options for you to choose from, as street performers and popup shows are a dime a dozen throughout August in Edinburgh. Your best bet is to hang around the Royal Mile for as long as you can – if you stick around for long enough you’ll find gymnasts, singers and magicians taking to the cobbled streets to showcase their talents. Most of these acts will ask for donations once they’ve finished their show, so give what you can spare to ensure that they come back to Edinburgh next year!


Idea: If you’re really desperate to grab tickets for a show then head to the Half Price Hut at the Mound Precinct. You can often get last minute tickets for shows at much cheaper prices from here, so it’s well worth a look if you’re searching for a bargain.

I’ve saved up!

It’s not hard to spend money at The Fringe – there’s certainly enough going on to make even the stingiest of people dig deep. If you really want to experience The Fringe in all of it’s glory then you’re going to have to spend at least a little bit of money, as you’ll need to pay to enter areas like the Underbelly.

It wouldn’t be The Fringe without comedy, and although there are plenty of shows that you can attend for free, they tend to be pretty hit and miss. To catch the big names at the festival you’ll have to cough up a bit of cash (anywhere between £5 – £20), but it’ll all be worth it and you’ll have no regrets. After all, laughter is the best medicine!


Idea: If you want to experience The Fringe in full and don’t mind spending a few bob then standup comedy is your best bet. There are plenty of big names to catch throughout August, including Scotland’s very own Limmy, who is performing his first set of shows since releasing his book ‘Daft Wee Stories’.
(Tip: Blowing money on comedy shows is an inevitable part of The Fringe experience, but don’t blow your money on food! Head to our Omni Centre restaurant for great food at even better prices!) 

Do you want something Scottish or Exotic entertainment?

Something Scottish

tattooThe Fringe is arguably the biggest Scottish event of the year, and although we welcome talent from around the world throughout August, we also celebrate homegrown talent. Although not strictly part of The Fringe, you don’t get much more Scottish than the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Held during the evening at Edinburgh Castle, the event is an incredible display of military precision and very loud noises. It’s also very cold. But despite all that, it’s a must-see!

Idea: The Tattoo. Finito.

Exotic Entertainment

Your definition of exotic entertainment is probably a mile away from ours. But just to make sure we’re on the right page, we’re talking about entertainment from countries other than Scotland (yes, even England – that’s exotic for some people!). The Fringe is the perfect place to find entertainment from across the globe – dancers, signers and gymnasts will head here to showcase their talents and bring a touch of worldliness to Scotland.


Idea: You’re spoilt for choice if you’re looking for entertainment from overseas, but we’ll give a shoutout to an Italian act that you won’t want to miss. Check out classical guitarist Luca Villani, who has several performances throughout The Fringe and is an absolute delight to watch.

Do you: Fancy a laugh or a life-changer?

I’m always up for a laugh!

The Fringe is the ultimate place for comedy. Even if you don’t manage to catch a stand up, improv group or sketch show, you’ll get a laugh just from reading the ‘Joke of The Fringe’ entrants. Some are funny, some are so bad they’re funny, and some are just plain bad.

gary1Idea: Gary Little and Scott Gibson are 2 great Scottish comedians that you could check out at The Fringe, with both of them performing various shows throughout the festival. If standup isn’t your thing, then Italy’s very own circus act ‘Liberi Di’ is the perfect choice for a light bit of comedy. You’ll find them performing at the Gilded Balloon until the 31st.

I want to be enlightened!

It’s doesn’t have to be all fun and games at The Fringe. If you want to be enlightened (or fancy seeming sophisticated for a few hours) then there are plenty of independent dramatic shows that you can catch, often for free. These shows are typically held in very small and intimate venues though, so make sure you’re actually going to find the show enjoyable before taking a seat. Otherwise you could find yourself walking out after 15 minutes and disrupting the actors and audience!


Idea: You can’t get much more enlightening than an opera. You can catch the Scottish opera group Opera Bohemia performing their rendition of the Italian classic ‘La Traviata’ on the 25th of August at venue 122.

(Tip: Want to feel sophisticated but don’t fancy sitting through an entire show? Head to our prosecco bar at our Omni Centre restaurant for a taste of the high life!)

At the end of the day, I’m: Heading home late or staying overnight?

Heading home late

Once you’ve managed to drag yourself away from the fun of The Fringe, you’d better start thinking about how you’re going to get home. Taxis can be found everywhere for people living locally, but if you’re from further afield then you might need to consider a train or bus. Trains will generally run until around midnight (always check beforehand) but buses tend to run a bit later. If you’re heading home in the early hours, you can catch buses at Buchanan bus station which head to Glasgow, Fife, and Livingston.


Idea: Stick around the centre of town and you’ll eventually find a Pedicab – a bike taxi that is reminiscent of the velo-taxis found across Florence and Rome. It’s the green alternative to get around town and the perfect way to get some fresh air before heading to bed!

(Tip: If you’re heading home in the early evening then make sure to stop off at our Edinburgh Queensferry Road restaurant for a quick bite. We’re on the way out of the city if you’re heading towards Fife. The perfect way to wrap up your Fringe experience!)

Staying overnight?

You’re spoilt for choice for places to stay in Edinburgh. Regardless of your budget or preferred area, you’ll be able to find something to suit your needs. Hotels, hostels and even spare rooms can all be found either online or by asking friends (politely!). Just make sure that you inspect the place before settling in for the night, as you don’t want to end your day at The Fringe on a sour note (or sour mattress!).


Idea: Try The Glasshouse in the Omni Centre for a great hotel in a central location. You even get overnight shoeshine included in the price, plus you can head to our Omni Centre restaurant for an authentic Italian breakfast in the morning!

The Fringe might take place in Edinburgh, but it’s really a global event. Attracting acts and tourists from across the world. It’s our chance to put Scotland on the map and remind everyone what makes this place and these people so great.

If you are locked out our friends at Smartlox locksmith edinburgh will get you back into your hotel, AirBNB, hostel or BNB in no time!

Hopefully our guide will help you get a slice of the action and make planning your time at The Fringe as easy as pie.

You’ll have to pay a bit more for the top crust acts, but it’s well worth the admission. Remember – every penny that you spend on acts at The Fringe is an investment back into Scotland!