5 top tips for a cheap day out at the Edinburgh Fringe

There are ways to having a cheap day at the Edinburgh Fringe. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
There are ways to having a cheap day at the Edinburgh Fringe. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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It’s nearly the half-way point of the Fringe – and you’re about to hit the wall. This marathon attempt to take in all comedy, theatre and random flyers on offer has hit your bank balance hard and has your wallet/purse quivering with fatigue.

You may have spent a lot already but retreating into your flat and watching episodes of Tipping Point just doesn’t cut it.

Watching the various street performers in action is one way to save money. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Watching the various street performers in action is one way to save money. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Contrary to popular belief, enjoying Edinburgh in August doesn’t mean splashing cash like a young Richie Rich. Here’s our top tips for keeping it reasonably affordable at the Fringe.

1. Embrace the free Fringe

Wait, you thought the only chance to see something fun/interesting/emotional was to pay top dollar at one of the big venues?

The world of festival entertainment, like many others, is changing. Once, the big names of the Fringe could only be at the most prestigious venues – but plenty of comedians have taken their shows to the free Fringe in what is likely to become an increasing trend.

Instead of paying £10-15 for one show – why not catch two or three and drop £5 in the bucket each time? Catch a comedian you know, a theatre show you don’t and randomly pick from any of the free fringe brochures. If it’s great, you’re winning and if it’s terrible, then at least you have a memorable experience to laugh about later.

2. Sample some street performances

A sunny day in Edinburgh is a rare thing, so shying away from the city centre when there’s just so much going on would be foolish.

Between diving in and out of venues for free shows, you can get a hell of a lot of the festival atmosphere from just wandering the streets and popping into venue spaces. There’s a whole of host of jugglers, magicians, dance troupes and barbershop quartets.

3. Eat cheap at cheap eateries

It’s never easy finding the best value eating spots in an unfamiliar city, especially when plenty of restaurants can spot your perplexed expression and the nervous fumbling with your backpack from a mile-off.

If only there was someone looking to help you out…

4. Put together a picnic

A consecutive run of days at burger joints and sandwich bars may be good fun – but will leave you a little less mobile in the long run. The city is teeming with green spaces and the occasional (read: very occasional) ray of sunshine means you can pack some sandwiches before heading out and bask in the summer sun.

5. Lived-in locals, not pricey pop-ups

Festival bars, it’s hard not to love them. They’re here but once a year, with their fancy food trucks and quirky drinking dens littered with Fringe acts.

But never forget those looking after you all year round – letting you prop up a bar stool, sip your pint in peace and cradle your whisky. Edinburgh’s snug watering holes won’t be hiking up their prices and the locals won’t be moaning about their three-star reviews. Bliss.

If you want to get a real feel for Edinburgh, you can’t go wrong with diving into the rich pub culture of Auld Reekie.