OK, so you’ve heard the hype about the Edinburgh Festival and the Fringe Festival which happens every August, but you’re just not a theatre-goer so you’re not interested in going, right? The thought of undergrads re-inventing Shakespeare through an emoji-only performance, or re-enacting politicians’ tweets in the art of mime is not your cup of tea. But leaving thespian cliche’s (and made-up show concepts) to one side, I can solemnly swear that every person in the world would find something they enjoy at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Why am I so confident in that statement? The choice on offer alone guarantees there is something for everyone. But to save you a long winded argument, I present the top five reasons to check it out. No bank holiday plans? No sweat, Edinburgh is your city for the long weekend.
1 – You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get there
Believe it or not, Scotland is accessible by relatively cheap trains (if you don’t mind a few changes). The student-targeted website Red Spotted Hanky offers super cheap train tickets for all across the UK. And if you’ve got time to spare, why not consider an overnight coach from London? Megabus and National Express have prices starting from £30. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not book a seat in a BlaBla car? This car-sharing service is really popular in continental Europe and the States, and lets you get from A to B by joining someone else’s roadtrip. Talk about reducing that carbon footprint!
2 – Accommodation is affordable
There was a time when procrastinating was a bad thing. But the travel industry is increasingly gearing towards the last-minute types (good news for me!). With companies like HotelTonight, LateRooms and LastMinute specialising in affordable last minute bookings, customers now have a wide array of choices when it comes to booking a stay at the 11th hour. Edinburgh has everything from hostels to homely B&Bs and 5-star hotels for you to rest your weary heads. And if you’re travelling as a big group you could consider thinking outside-the-box and book The Private Dorm at Edinburgh’s STAY Central. It’s cost-effective and ideal for fun-seeking friends travelling together.
3 – Laughter is the best medicine
It’s a centuries old saying but still holds true, and there is certainly no shortage of laughter at the Edinburgh Festival (be it the sincere or pity variety). There are all sorts of comedians performing throughout August – from improvisers to satirists and everything outside and in between. Lots of newer acts will offer free shows, while old stalwarts like Lee Stewart require advance booking. Some of the best comedy you’ll see you’re likely to stumble upon by chance, as lots of pubs play host to showcases. Get ready for an impromptu ab workout… or some awkward silences. Both are equally gratifying.
4 – Discover someone famous… before they get famous
If you’ve been on the London tube recently you may have noticed the posters for the Bad Education movie starring Jack Whitehall. Whether you’re a fan of the Fresh Meat star or not, the Channel 4 darling had his start at Edinburgh Festival. Maybe you’ll stumble upon a rising star on your festival journey. (Take selfies with as many acts as possible to prepare for this scenario). You’ll certainly discover some group, troupe or star you won’t have heard of before so you can add another name to your list of “people to watch out for”. You could catch their future shows whenever they’re closest to you!
5 – Learn something new about yourself
Until Edinburgh Festival 2014 I never knew I’d enjoy a dystopian sci-fi thriller performed entirely in silence through mime. But now I do! Only at Edinburgh Festival can you be exposed to such creative, incredible endeavours, and find out what art forms you love (and loathe). It’s a real journey of discovery – but an enriching one. So, what are you waiting for?