How Child Friendly is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
I wish I had taken them earlier. I was worried about the crowds and rushing around but I put a plan in place that made sure we had a relaxing time. During one of the performances I watched my children more than the show just to see how spell bound they were. I have been going to the festival for years with friends and this year was the first time I had brought my children (aged 9 and 11). They are hooked and we will be having many more trips in the future. Being immersed in the vibrant streets of Edinburgh, with so much colour, performers, music and fun is the best part of the festival.
Firstly- Plan Your Day
I advise that you book two performances in advance to avoid disappointment. Factor in time to do the Royal Mile (the High Street leading to the Castle entrance) in the morning and afternoon, where performers give you a taster of their shows. You may see something in the morning that you want to catch in the afternoon. You can also see some fab 45 minute circus or acrobatic performances, live music and magic for free (but a donation is appreciated.)
Just round the corner from this is the beautiful National Museum of Scotland (free). The heavy stone building is transformed when you step into a white, spacious, area with high vaulted ceilings. It’s a great place to have your picnic, chill from the crowds and have a cup of tea. You will find a 45 minute break in here worth while. They have a great interactive section on science and technology and the gem is the lift to the viewing terrace where you can see the whole of Edinburgh. We ate our sandwiches here.
The final place to visit is Princes Street and the gardens near the train station- lots of activities, performances and a Ferris wheel. The National Art Museum is also a good chill-out area and the terrace restaurant for afternoon tea looking out across the park is worth a visit (not many people know this).
What to Book
On the website it’s easy to book tickets www.tickets.edfringe.com and you can go to most large venues’ box office put your card in a ticket dispenser and have all your tickets printed. If you type in reviews guardian children 2017 Edinburgh festival you will see a list of amazing performances they recommend. However everyone else knows this trick so you do have to book in advance, even if it’s just the day before.
I often go by venue to book tickets. There are hundreds of venues across Edinburgh but the programming in a few key venues can be reliable, high quality, and often with international performers and central. Circus Hub on the Meadows is a great large big top; the Assembly Hall just up from the National Gallery and near to the train station has performances like ‘Transit’ which is a French Canadian acrobatic performance that will last in your memory for life. Pleasant Courtyard and Pleasant Dome are reliable. A little further out is Summerhall but it always puts on great shows.
Sit down with the map and make sure you understand where the show is you want to book and then factor in time to walk or take a taxi. This is why I recommend two shows, one at the beginning and one at the end of the day and then you’re not rushing and have plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere.
Black cabs are easy to get and you can hail them down anywhere. The buses are easy and a family day ticket is £8.50. However if you park centrally (up to £20 for the day) then you can just walk everywhere. The train station is in the heart of Edinburgh as is the festival so a family travel card might be your best option.
Where to Stay
Book an apartment through Airbnb, a B&B, or a hostel. Hotels are very expensive and often booked up months in advance. The university offers accommodation as well which is another great option.
NB: Katy and her family sent in this review simply because they love the festival so much. They paid for all their tickets.