Five ways to explore Edinburgh during the Fringe

Edinburgh skyline. Picture: TSPL
Edinburgh skyline. Picture: TSPL
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Visitors to Edinburgh during the summer festival season can sometimes feel a sense of ‘festival paralysis’ – with so much to see and do, where do you begin?

Finding your way around the city can be a good place to start, so we asked local guide Gareth Davies of Edinburgh Expert for his top tips for navigating Edinburgh.

A bus tour through Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL

A bus tour through Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL

1. Ho-Ho Bus Tours

Edinburgh Bus Tours are a great way to see and get around the city. Standard tickets are valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase, so you can enjoy a full day’s hop-on, hop-off travel with either the live or recorded commentary provided. Upgraded tickets give access to more than one tour route, and can include fast-track access to attractions like Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia.

2. Heritage highlights

While the numerous ghostie and ghoulie tours offer an easy (and macabre) historical hook for visitors, keep it classy by downloading a walking trail produced by Edinburgh World Heritage, the body charged with protecting and preserving the city’s heritage and culture. With Old and New Town trails, guides to the graveyards and an app for your phone, you can uncover and explore much of the city’s fascinating history without paying a penny.

3. Walk like a local

Some walking tour companies employ seasonal guides for the summer, but year-round resident guides – like myself – offer a truly local perspective, with a friendly and informative approach. Join one of the daily tours during the Fringe, with groups limited to 10 people to ensure you still see the city up-close and personal.

4. Go GPS

Ditch the live guide altogether with a self-guided tour from VoiceMap, featuring audio downloads that use the GPS on your smartphone to play commentary automatically as you explore the city. And with two exclusive routes created just for the Edinburgh Fringe, now you can find your way around the venues and hear samples of a variety of shows as you go.

5. Exert yourself

If walking or being bussed around the city seems a bit tame, try one of the more hardcore tour options, such as Edinburgh Run Tours, with up to 30-mile tailored routes for those who don’t see being on holiday as a valid excuse for escaping the fitness regime. Similarly, Edinburgh Bike Tours offer private and small-group tour options for those who want to see the city with more effort than a brisk walk requires.