The Perfect Edinburgh Festival Weekend
Ah, the Edinburgh Festival. One epic month of theatre, opera, comedy and, let's face it, insanely expensive hotel rooms. If you're travelling to the Scottish capital for your stag weekend, you might be worried about how you're going to get the most for your buck. Can you see the acts you want to see? Will you even be able to get up Princes Street? Here's my guide to enjoying the Fringe without the pain...
Know when to go
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a special beast. It's not like a comedy tour, where the show is prepare, tested and refined before it hits the stage. No, from the very best to the very weirdest, the Fringe is always a work in progress.
Because of this, you can score some great deals at the start of the month. Cheaper show tickets happen during the first few performances, as the artists rework on the fly, getting everything ready for the main event. And as shows don't run all month, you can take advantage of bargain first night tickets throughout much of the Festival: you just have to know which shows are starting up, and which have been running for a while.
Read the reviews
If you're looking for the next big comedy thing, read reviews before you start randomly turning up at shows. Attend the Fringe from its mid point onwards for this, so you can get a good idea of what's scoring a hit and what's missing the mark. Of course the better the reviews for a show, the more likely you are to find tickets selling out quickly or selling for a higher price.
The British summer doesn't need much encouragement to stop being sunny, and in Edinburgh the chances of a rainy festival are always high. Maybe Mother Nature feels the need to counterbalance all the comedy with a good dose of depressing weather, or maybe it's just normal for Scotland. Either way, you should pack with an eye on the skies.
Lightweight, practical and good in all weathers are the watchwords of the day. Ideally, you want clothes and bags that are great when it's sunny and warm, and bone-dry when it's raining. Forget personal style for your stag weekend, and go for the hi-tech hiking gear instead.
Bring a plastic envelope
You probably haven't used a ziplock plastic envelope since the last time you went orienteering with your Boy Scout troop. But a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe demands it. Use it to store the 8 million fliers you get given for random comedy happenings.
Planes, trains, automobiles
Car share. It's the way forward. You can even hook up with random strangers for a road trip to Edinburgh via sites like liftshare.com and gocarshare.com. You could end up sharing a vehicle with the next comedy sensation, too.
The train or a plane are the quickest and easiest ways to get to the Fringe, but last minute tickets can be pricey. Hopefully you arranged yours months ago, when you booked your Edinburgh stag do.
Get the Programme
The Fringe Programme is a must-have, detailing absolutely everything you could ever do at the festival, evs. Don't worry if you don't have one yet. There are thousands of them in every shop in Edinburgh, and they're all free. You can also download it, for smart checking whenever you need to (it rains. Paper is bad).
Check out the Royal Mile
Often avoided because it's full of elderly Americans intent on discovering'the real Scotland', the Royal Mile is the beating heart of Fringe advertising. You'll be assaulted by mimes, street artists and outlandishly dressed cast members for shows you've never heard of. Pay attention to them, and you could discover a real comedy gem.
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