Come to the Fringe – it’s cheaper than you think!
Let’s nail the myth right now!
It’s no harder and no more expensive to stay for a weekend or a week in Edinburgh in August than it is anywhere else worth going to. Use the internet, book ahead, and you’ll be fine.
The stories of flats that cost thousands are complaints made by performers and BBC employees who want to stay for the whole month in the middle of town. (Let’s whisper the word “luvvy” and move on).
So – how to do the Fringe on a budget?
Stay a little Out of Town
Edinburgh has good bus services, trams and trains. Pick a B&B or guest house in a suburb, come into town for lunch and take a taxi or night-bus back. Recoup your taxi-fares with lower accommodation costs. Fringe venues are mainly in the Old Town and partly in the New Town, but there is more to Edinburgh than that: Edinburgh’s Districts.
DO check the public transport links first so everything goes to plan:
Get the Lothian Buses app, buy a book of tickets or get tickets on your phone.
Stay with Friends
Blagging a couch or spare room is the cheapest option and a great way to catch up, but you’ll need to be flexible with dates- we’re very popular in August! Or try signing up to some of these groups to exchange spare beds:
Edinburgh has lots of back-packer hostels. Rooms are generally shared and can be very basic, though some have spectacular views and can be luxurious. The ones in the City Centre can be noise until late at night, so check out the reviews. The SYHA hostel on Leith Walk is very popular with groups and is fitted out to a high standard as it gets 5 starts from VisitScotland so it fills up quickly.
Use booking sites to check availability:
Universities around Edinburgh offer student rooms for let over the summer holiday in the city centre and further afield; all are good for basic accommodation.
The University of Edinburgh offers single and twin rooms
Napier University has 3, 4 and 5 bedroom apartments with kitchen and lounge
Queen Margaret University Offers 3,4,5 and 6 bedded apartments with kitchen and bathroom for self catering for a minimum of 7 nights
Hotels and B&Bs
If all that seems a bit basic, then of course Edinburgh has hotels, both independently run and chains such as Holiday Inn, Premier Inn and Travelodge.
Check out sites individually or use booking sites which you can use for hotels or B&Bs:
Hotels are generally pricey, and you are unlikely to get a discount during the Fringe. If you want a more stylish B&B option try:
There has been a growth in City Apartments for let, as well as traditional self catering homes. Book early, these book up fast.
A lot of people in Edinburgh also let out their flats for August and the Edinburgh Fringe site usually has an accommodation noticeboard www.edfringe.com– remember these have not been vetted in any way.
Camping is certainly something to consider if you are staying just a few nights, or if you like camping anyway, if you have a caravan or camper van. But a stay of three or four weeks could be an experience best mitigated by youth, alcohol, a large friendship group and a very good sleeping bag. August nights can be chilly in the Lothians but the real problems being rain and wind.
Camping Ninja have set up a large operation on the Edinburgh Showground by the Airport following their experience of setting up campsites at the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. It’s half an hour out by public transport but it might be a challenging doing the journey after midnight.
Campspace.com seems to be a sort of AirB&B for campsites. The opposite of Camping Ninja. It’s not clear how many sites they have in Edinburgh, but if you book early, you might get an in-town bargain here.
Mortonhall Campsite is Edinburgh’s five-star, five-thistle, five-everything campsite. They have Wigwams. What more could anyone want?
Pichup.com lists 50 sites within 30 miles of Edinburgh.
Google and Trip Advisor are your friends.
The following Sites may also be of use:
Booking.com: Hotel search engine
Late Rooms: Deals on hotel rooms.
Hotel Bookers: Deals on last minute rooms.
Festival beds: Deals on Bed and Breakfasts
Edinburgh Aparments: Serviced Apartments
Hostel World: Details and deals on hostels.
Guide courtesy of Alison Metcalfe, updated by Ben Makin