What’s in this guide?

What is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

Put simply, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest performing arts festival in the world. Taking place every August across the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, the Fringe boasts an endless list of performers putting on shows and acts.

Taking place over three weeks, you’re bound to see everything from hilarious comedy gigs to mind-blowing theatre performances, wild dance routines, soul-stirring music and much much more.

The best part? Anyone can join the party! Whether you’re a seasoned performer or a newbie, you can sign up and put on your own show. During this period, the Scottish capital turns into a stage, with theatres, pubs, parks and even street corners hosting performances.

It's a fantastic experience for artists and audiences alike, and you're guaranteed to have an unforgettable time!

When is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

Get ready to mark your calendars for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! This year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival starts on Friday 4th August 2023 and lasts for over 3 weeks before finishing on 28th August 2023.

So pack your bags, book your train tickets and get ready for a whole month of mind-blowing performances, non-stop laughter, and jaw-dropping talent from all over the world.

Where is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival held?

The Fringe Festival takes place in the historic and vibrant capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. In August, when the festival hits town, the entire city comes alive with a diverse mix of performances, laughter, and artistic energy.

You'll find shows and events scattered all around, from iconic historic venues to cosy pubs, quirky church halls, and even street corners bustling with performers. Everywhere you turn, something exciting is happening! The whole place becomes a giant playground for artists and audiences alike.

Edinburgh truly embraces the Fringe Festival with open arms, making it the ultimate destination for anyone seeking an unforgettable arts adventure!

How much does the Edinburgh Fringe Festival cost?

The price of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival varies depending on your preferences and how you plan your trip.

There are plenty of free shows and events you can attend, especially on Edinburgh’s cobbled streets where performers often entertain passersby without a ticket. If you’re on a budget, this is a fantastic way to soak up the festival’s vibrant atmosphere.

If you want to catch a specific show in a theatre or venue, the prices can range from affordable to expensive, depending on the performer’s popularity and performance.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Edinburgh is very busy during Fringe season, so accommodation will probably be more expensive than usual. But with the Edinburgh Fringe being such a once-in-a-lifetime experience, many people agree that it's worth every penny!

What’s on at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023?

The full programme has now been confirmed and honestly, it might be easier to say what isn’t on. Over the course of three weeks, you can expect to see everything, including theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and more.

If you're looking for a laugh, side-splitting giggles will definitely be on the bill. This year, famous comedians such as Rhod Gilbert, Rose Matafeo and Frank Skinner are set to bring down the house. Circus acts will be sure to have you ooh-ing and ahh-ing and if that's not enough there'll be a whole programme full of events like escape-room games, pottery exhibitions and even ghost tours.

What’s the best way to travel to Edinburgh – train, car or plane?

We might be biased, but if you’re considering travelling to Edinburgh to attend the Fringe festival, then train is the best way to go! Not only is it one of the quickest ways to travel, but the train also emits significantly less CO₂ compared to other modes of transport, such as planes and cars. In fact, a single journey from London to Edinburgh by train emits three times less CO₂ than by car, and six times less than by plane*.

When taking the train, once you’ve settled in your comfortable seat, you can sit back, relax and take advantage of all the benefits of train travel. Unlike flying and driving, you can charge your devices using the power sockets and connect to the free WiFi to do some work, catch up on your favourite TV show or interact with your friends on social media. Alternatively, you could read a book or newspaper, or simply enjoy the unparalleled views of the Scottish countryside.

If you want to fly to Edinburgh, it’s worth taking into consideration that flying is the least environmentally friendly option – in fact, a single journey emits six times more CO₂ than taking the train*. Also, although flight times are usually between 60 and 90 minutes, you must factor in travelling to the airport, as well as the time it takes to go through check-in, security and baggage control. Most airlines recommend you arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight. After you’ve landed, you will need to travel from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre, which takes around 30 minutes. Once you consider all these factors, the total travel time is a lot longer than just the flight time.

Thinking of driving to Edinburgh? Remember that driving emits three times more CO₂ than taking the train*. Also, as you are driving, you won’t be able to sit back and enjoy the views or enjoy onboard amenities such as free WiFi or a catering service. Also, you will have to factor petrol prices into the overall cost of the journey. Another issue to consider is that Edinburgh is one of the UK’s busiest cities, therefore driving can be difficult and parking can be very expensive.

How to get to Edinburgh Fringe Festival by train

Edinburgh Waverley is the city's main train station, making it the ideal place to start your Fringe fun. From there, most events are within walking distance or a short bus ride.

The train from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley takes just four and a half hours. If you're a fan of a sea view, the train ride from Berwick-upon-Tweed is under an hour, going right along the coast. And, for those coming from further afield, we can help you find connecting tickets from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre. 

More things to do in Edinburgh

Of course, Edinburgh's a great city to visit all year round. Whether it's on your doorstep, or you're taking a mini-break there, Scotland's capital has many an option for things to do. Animal lover? You soon will be after a trip to Edinburgh Zoohome to the only giant pandas in the UK. 

See the oldest crown jewels in the British Isles and brush up on your history at Edinburgh Castle. Or, learn how fiery Scotch whisky is made with a ride through a virtual distillery at the Scotch Whisky Experience.

Read to book your tickets to Edinburgh? Start your search in our widget below. 

* CO₂ calculations are based on: Plane = Domestic flight with radiative forcing 0.24455 kg CO₂/passenger km Car = average petrol car 0.17363 kg CO₂/km / 1.5 (average loading for cars based on DFT statistical data set for vehicle mileage and occupancy) = 0.1157533 kg CO₂/passenger km Train = National Rail 0.0351 kg CO₂/passenger km Conversion factors are all scopes published by the UK Government