Edinburgh festival for all ages. What to see with a family ranging from ages 10 to 70.
We decided to go to Edinburgh Fringe with the whole family for a day trip to take in the festival and introduce the children to new experiences. The festival never disappoints for providing excitement, intrigue and lots of laughs.
How to Plan Edinburgh Festival Fringe for all ages
Book two shows in advance and take a chance on a third show. We tried booking the day before. However, a lot of the performances for families can be sold out so booking a few days ahead is wise. This is often the case for drama performances where the theatre space is not large and of course if a whole family is going it only takes 30 families to fill.
We booked a 3pm show and 5pm show hoping to get a 1 or 7 pm show on the spot. I set these times as I know that you have to leave plenty of time for walking as grandma does not walk fast and the boys need toilet stops and drinks.
We chose a drama piece for families and a circus performance as those we pre booked, and made sure the venues were close to each other and then looked around these venues for a third performance.
Taking in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This is a chance to see free street acts, lots of free spoken word performances and some great free science demonstrations. The Royal Mile is one of the best places to take in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and see what’s coming up.
The App for Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This has made the festival so easy. I still love the programme and getting one sent to your home before your visit is very worth while but the app does provide all the details you need. I love the favourites list on the app and the links to maps so you can see where the performance is. It’s important you don’t just look for a show but you check the time and the venue. Some performances can be in venues quite far away like the Royal Botanic Gardens which is a brilliant venue but be prepared to get a taxi which ends up being the quickest and cheapest option. Black cabs are everywhere in Edinburgh, which is brilliant as you can hail them down.
What we saw at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
We saw ‘The Greatest Goat of all Time’ and it advertises as for 7-107 year olds. Fantastic, fun and up close theatre at its best. It’s not quite for teenagers but for our group including a 10 and 12 year old it was fab. We all loved it and also loved George Square, chilling out with ice-cream.
Circus: We went to ‘Universoul Circus at the Circus Hub on the Meadows. We loved this performance as we saw a very high standard of circus performers from tightrope walkers from America, clowning, Mongolian acrobats to Caribbean limbo dancing. A performance for all the family with very excited children gasping at all the stunts and coming out of the show wanting to practise handstands and jumping. As a parent I watched my children be amazed at the acrobats’ skills and their joy in seeing the impossible possible. My experience of circus at the festival is that it is of an international standard, and you just don’t get a chance to see that anywhere else especially for these prices. Our most expensive ticket was £18 for an adult which is amazing compared to London prices. I would say this show is for all ages.
We decided to stay at the Circus hub for our third surprise show and saw Tabarnak which was a show of great tumbling skills, fantastic but aimed at adults and teenagers. I will not forget this atmospheric performance.
Given more time I would have gone to Science at venue 272 (free and venue sits 100 people with times at 12/ 1.15). I would have done Comedy , Sportz venue 75 and Poetry King venue 333. I would have loved to do Art Attack at 5pm but we just didn’t have the time.
Mix up your programme so the family get a bit of every thing and I always try and take them to performances we could not see at home or performance spaces they don’t get the chance to experience like a big top or in the Underbelly performance spaces under the bridges.
Tips for Edinburgh Festival Fringe for all ages
It can all be a bit much sometimes for children and grandparents so you must factor chill time and spaces to sit. We find the National Museum of Scotland (free) well worth a visit and pop into the technology wing to play on the large-scale racing car with the café next to it while Grandma gets a cup of tea and you can check out the programme. The viewing area from the top of the Museum also gives you an amazing view of Edinburgh and the sea.
For families from England it might be better to go in the last two weeks of the festival as the Scottish schools all go back at this time.
It’s a very hilly city so make sure you have walking shoes and treat yourselves to a taxi if you want to get to a venue and not have a long walk.
Safety at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
You feel very safe with a family and the venue hubs (marked in yellow on the map) often have great chill areas. Our favourite chill area is George Square. I have been coming for years pre kids and what I have noted is so many families and sitting out areas now. Fake grass is everywhere and this is fab for sitting and having a picnic or using all the pop up eating huts. I always write my mobile number on my children’s arms just in case.
Food at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
We always bring a packed lunch or snacks but you can get food for about £5-8 each and it will fill you up. There is just so much choice these days and so many cafés and restaurants. It feels like a cultural food festival in some places. Always bring plenty of drinks for children and snacks.
Venues good for families and which zone they are in
Near the Meadows and National Museum of Scotland
The Circus Hub venue 360 (underbelly programming- that’s the purple cow)
George Square (Assembly programming- white writing on red back ground)
Pleasant dome or Pleasant court yard (Pleasant’s programming – yellow square with purple)
Summerhall (venue 26)
Near Princes street /Train station
Assembly Hall (venue 35)
The National Galley of Scotland (lots of street performances)
Assembly rooms (venue 20) on George Street