A First Timers Guide to the Fringe

A First Timers Guide to the Fringe

A First Timers Guide to the Fringe
2023-07-21 13:58:05

First time at the Edinburgh Fringe? Don’t panic! We’ve put together a handy guide to help you make the most of your visit.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is an experience like no other, with thousands of shows and events at hundreds of unique venues. At EdFest.com, we've got the inside scoop on the best venues in the city to share with you throughout the Festival.


Street Performers on the Royal Mile

Embrace the Unexpected

Choosing from thousands of shows can be overwhelming, so let the shows come to you!

Find yourself wandering around Edinburgh with no idea what to see next? Being flyered on the Royal Mile is an essential Fringe experience. Talk to the people flyering to get a better idea of what their show is like and look out for acts who bring a small snippet of their show to the Mile so you can ‘try before you buy’. 

Be open to trying something new and you might find your new favourite act!


Cowgate (Underbelly)

Navigating Edinburgh’s Fringe Maze

As a beautiful historic city, Edinburgh is great for Instagram but can be tricky to navigate!

If you’re following a map to a Cowgate venue, you might find yourself confused on top of a bridge. The Old Town is on multiple levels, so make sure you’re going underneath a bridge on your way to a show at Cowgate. Many venues also have similar names, so make sure you know George Street from George Square before booking back to back shows.

When in doubt, give yourself plenty of time to get there and explore the city as you go - and make sure to double check the venue address on your ticket!


George Square Street Food

Don’t Forget about Food!

A trip to the Fringe can be a long day, so make sure you fuel up while you’re out! 

Alongside some brilliant pop up bars, many venues have also added food stalls and trucks to help you make it through to the late night performances. This includes appearances from some of the best local businesses like the award winning Alandas and Edinburgh street food favourite Mana Poke. 

Our favourite places to grab a bite to eat this year are the Pleasance Courtyard and Assembly George Square!


Late'N'Live (Gilded Balloon)

Booking the MUST SEE Shows

Looking forward to your favourite TV comedian? Heard about your kids’ favourite book being performed? Think you’ve found the next Fleabag? 

If you’re set on seeing a performance it’s important to book your tickets before you miss out. Luckily, EdFest.com has made it easy to book shows at some of the most iconic venues, all in one place! This includes Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Just the Tonic, Pleasance, theSpaceUK, Underbelly and ZOO.

Our FREE Membership allows you access to our exclusive offers - 241, 20% off, 50% off, £5 and £8 tickets! Sign up here!

Curated Days at the Fringe

Curated Days at the Fringe

Curated Days at the Fringe

2023-07-28 12:55:49

With over 1,000 shows on EdFest.com this August it can be overwhelming to decide what shows you’d like to see. Let alone find ones which won’t clash and are close by!

To make life easy for the indecisive amongst us, we’ve curated some days around different genres to give you a head start! We’ve also left some gaps between the shows to catch your breath or, for the hardcore festival-pros, squeeze in other shows to fill your day!


Craig Hill at Just the Tonic, Nucleus

First up… A day of Comedy

3.40pm: Start your comedy run with the amazing Biscuit Barrellsketch crew. Gilded Balloon, Teviot. An incredible 69 sketches in one hour! 

Grab yourself drinks or food in the Gilded Balloon gardens, Underbelly Bristo Square or Pleasance Dome…. You might even have time to throw in a wild card show from a flyer you’ve been given! Then get going with plenty of time to spare for…

7.30pm: Craig Hill who is celebrating 24 years of comedy at the Fringe with his show this year at Just the Tonic, Nucleus. 

To end your evening, make your way over to the Underbelly Gardens in George Square to see what’s going on, get yourself some more food or a drink to keep you going ahead of an amazing late night show…

11.15pm: Book well in advance for Edinburgh Comedy AllStars at the iconic Udderbelly upturned purple cow! Nightly lineups available at underbellyedinburgh.co.uk.


The Kinsey Sicks by Lois Tema at Gilded Balloon at the Museum

Comedy not your thing? How about an evening of Drag & Cabaret?!

Maybe you’re arriving into Edinburgh later in the day, or you work in Edinburgh and just want a jam-packed evening of entertainment or… as can often be the case, you’re feeling a little weary from a full on evening the night before and just want to build your energy back up before another night of Fringe - then we have you covered.

7.20pm: Start your evening with the outspoken drag a cappella quartet The Kinsey Sicks in the magic surrounding of Gilded Balloon at the Museum!

After you’ve been suitably appalled by this potty-mouthed group, head down the road across Bristo Square to Assembly George Square for a quick drink or snack before…

9.40pm: Oscar and The Crown - an immersive nightclub musical! Combining sequins, reality TV and the complete works of Oscar Wilde - a match made in heaven. 

Now you’ve got a true Fringe dash through the flyerers and festival goers back across Bristo Square for your final show of the night…

11.00pm: brand new to the Fringe for magic and variety hosted by Tom Brace head to Late Night Magic at Pleasance Dome to see you through until Midnight!


So you’ve had a day of Comedy and an evening of Cabaret. But the Fringe has oh so much more still to offer… for our third and final curated day we’re picked out some Theatre highlights.


Andronicus Synecdoche by Domas Rimeika at ZOO Southside 

An earlier start for this one as we have a lot to fit in..

10.00am: Start the day with Pieces of Us at theSpaceUK @ Surgeons Hall and meet a whole range of characters to appreciate what makes us all the same. 

Take some time to let the tales sink in and treat yourself to a nice Lunch in town before heading on to play #2.

3.35pm: Godot is a Woman in Pleasance Courtyard; Silent Faces return with their trademark style of playful, political, physical theatre. 

We’ve given you a nice hour to wander up the hill to the next venue in time for…

5.50pm: Name of the Dame at Just the Tonic, Nucleus. Written by author and actor Adam Perrott and comic and improviser, Kate McCabe, this parody contains dames, detectics and stylish hats! The perfect combo.

After a triple hit of theatre across the city, we had to include some Shakespeare-inspired performance for our final show of the night…

8.20pm: Andronicus Synecdoche at ZOO Southside, you’re in for a true epic. Present by Song of the Goat, this performance features original text and music inspired by Titus Andronicus.

A Quick Guide to EdFest Venues

A Quick Guide to EdFest Venues

2023-08-02 10:39:29

This Fringe you’re really spoilt for choice! We’ve got seven amazing venues with the best shows of the festival. Feeling a bit overwhelmed? We’ve put together a quick guide to each of our venues to keep you on track this year!


As the longest running curated multi-venue operator, Assembly has ample experience selecting some of the best shows of the Fringe! And with venues spanning the city of Edinburgh, you’re never too far from their extensive programme.

If you’re looking to spend the whole day in one location, Assembly George Square has a great selection of food and drinks stalls surrounded by so many venues, you can’t go wrong. Fancy a more spectacular venue? Check out Assembly Roxy, Checkpoint and Hall. These venues, scattered between George Street and George Square, are beautiful old churches filled with some of the most exciting comedy, theatre, circus and music at the Fringe! 

That’s not all! Don’t miss a night out in the New Town at Assembly Rooms, or a whole dance programme, in collaboration with Dance Base, at the Grassmarket. Finally, for a truly unique Fringe experience, head out to Assembly at Murrayfield Ice Rink to catch the spectacular immersive circus performance, IMA.

With a vast programme of comedy, dance, circus, music and so much more, Assembly is well worth a visit this Fringe! Find tickets for their shows here.

Gilded Balloon

Our Pals in Pink at Gilded Balloon are an Edinburgh based family business, who run amazing comedy productions throughout the year. They’ve been at the Fringe for over 30 years, and have a fantastic programme of comedy, theatre, and a whole lot of drag!

You’ll find Gilded Balloon towering over Bristo square inside their iconic Teviot home. Enjoy a drink inside the Gilded Garden before heading up and down the many spiral staircases to see your favourite comedy shows!

Looking for a venue even more fabulously pink? Don’t miss Patter Hoose’s, Studio 54 inspired Patter Bar! Inside this new Fringe hub you’ll find the best of Gilded Balloon, late into the night. Finally, have you ever fancied a night at the museum? Now you can, with Gilded Balloon transforming the back of the building and taking over the auditorium. It’s a venue you don’t want to skip!

Don’t miss out on their amazing programme! Find tickets for Gilded Balloon shows here.

Just the Tonic

Comedy legends, Just the Tonic, have been at the Fringe for over 20 years. Priding themselves on keeping the feeling of the Fringe, they host the best new comedy of the festival. As well as having amazing EdFest deals, many shows are 'Pay What You Want' so anyone can get a chance to see some hilarious comedy this Fringe! 

Find their headline acts inside Nucleus, home to their largest performance space. Another converted church, the atmosphere inside is like no other! If that doesn’t sound amazing enough, take a trip to The Caves - Just the Tonic’s main fringe hub. In here you’ll find six underground performance spaces for a quintessentially Edinburgh Fringe experience!

Don’t miss out on their other spaces, tucked away behind Cowgate, the Mash House and La Belle Angele for even more late night comedy! And for a more wholesome daytime experience, take a trip to The Grassmarket Community Project complete with a fantastic cafe, outside bar and some truly hilarious shows.

Find tickets for some of the best comedy shows in town here.

The Pleasance

The Pleasance Theatre Trust are Edinburgh Festival Fringe veterans, being at the heart of the festival since 1985! Don't miss the shows which are part of their Pleasance Futures development programme, which supports talented new performers and writers taking on the Fringe.

As one of the most iconic venues of the Fringe, a trip to the festival is not complete without going to Pleasance Courtyard. This maze of performance spaces inside the Edinburgh University Complex could keep you entertained for the whole festival by itself! As the home of their comedy programme, you can watch famous faces and up and coming comics, all in one place!

If that’s not enough, be sure to visit the Dome, Pleasance’s Bristo Square hub. It’s filled with a fantastic variety of comedy and theatre acts, as well as inside and outside bars, and the immersive DARKFIELD shipping containers. Finally, for state of the art theatrical productions, don’t miss out on the amazing work hosted at EICC!

Don’t miss the best of comedy, theatre and children’s shows at The Pleasance this year! Find tickets here.


Passionate about creating a platform for progressive and original work, theSpaceUK have been championing live performances at the Fringe since 1995! Having the most diverse programming of the Festival, they've truly got something for everyone.

The Surgeons Hall Complex is a fantastic multi-space venue, with a great courtyard bar, to see an incredible diverse range of shows. Around the corner you’ll find Triplex, another multi space venue, which doubles as a late night social hub. Want even more? Symposium Hall, with its custom built amphitheatre, is a fantastic converted church space with another covered beer garden outside - perfect for summer afternoons!

On the Royal Mile you’ll find another three venues: On the Mile, Niddry Street and Venue 45. A real mix of old and new, these intimate theatre spaces in the ideal central location, have amazing atmospheres which are not to be missed. 

With the largest range of acts at the festival, you can’t go wrong with a trip to theSpaceUK. Find tickets here.


As one of the largest operations at the Edinburgh Fringe, Underbelly has so many incredible acts from around the world, in some iconic venues! From Cowgate to the Meadows, it's easy to find their a-moo-zing venues - just follow the cow!

In the venue where it all began, Cowgate is the undoubted home of late night comedy. With bars open until 5am, this venue under the bridge is the place to be until the sun comes back up! Once the day begins again, head to George Square to sit by the iconic upside-down purple cow and soak up the sunshine in the beer garden (and cure your hangover with some amazing street food!).

Underbelly’s newest addition, Circus Hub is the first major space dedicated to circus at the Fringe. Inside the two tents in the Meadows, you’ll find an incredible selection of unmissable world class acts!

Finally, don’t miss the multi-space venue at Bristo Square. With spaces surrounding and inside McEwan hall,  you’ll find a fantastic selection of comedy, theatre, cabaret and music. And a trip to Bristo Square would not be complete without visiting the garden which has become synonymous with the Fringe.

Find tickets for all these brilliant venues here.

ZOO Venues

The home of the unexpected, ZOO Venues curate an incredible selection of international contemporary performances. Hosting exciting new talent, and big names from around the world, ZOO have selected an incredible dance and physical theatre programme which is well worth a visit! 

Inside ZOO’s Southside home, you can find two fantastic performance spaces, with the larger being perfect for large physical theatre productions. There is also a pop up bar and Southside Community Centre’s cafe - the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before your next show.

For exciting small scale productions, with some of the best new writing of the Fringe, don’t miss a trip to ZOO Playground. Complete with its own courtyard bar serving wine and local beers, this hidden gem is the perfect spot to sit in the sunshine away from the larger crowds of the festival. 

Get tickets to ZOO’s fantastic programme here.

EdFest's A-Z of the Fringe

EdFest's A-Z of the Fringe

EdFest's A-Z of the Fringe

2023-08-09 11:47:18

You can never truly understand Edinburgh Festival Fringe until you’ve experienced running from show to show, being bombarded with flyers and dragging yourself, coffee in hand, to an early morning show when you’re feeling a bit worse for wear from the late night shows  the evening before!

HOWEVER, EdFest is here to give you a feel for the Fest with our A - Z of the Fringe.

A is for Assembly

With 25 venues across the city this Summer, Assembly is one of the glorious EdFest venues - keep your eyes peeled for more venue info in our venue blog here!

B is for Bristo Square

Home to an incredible three EdFest venues, Bristo Square is one of the real hubs of the Fringe! Across Gilded Balloon’s Teviot, Pleasance’s Dome and Underbelly’s McEwan Hall, you could spend the whole month in this one square and not get bored - and there’s fantastic food and drinks across all the venues in the square to keep you going!

C is for Cowgate

One of the more confusing areas of Edinburgh, Cowgate is an amazing street underneath the city known for its late night clubs and Fringe venues. This includes Underbelly's Cowgate and Just the Tonic at The Caves - two Fringe institutions! 

D is for Dance

This year Assembly @ Dancebase has 15 incredible shows spanning a whole range of dance; whether you are an avid fan or keen to discover something new it’s absolutely worth exploring what’s on offer.

E is for EdFest

It may be a bit big-headed of us but we couldn’t not include ourselves in the Fringe round-up. To find all those bargains and pack in as many shows as possible there could only be one E is for…

F is for Flyers

Love them or hate them, flyers are a true feature of the fest. Are you a kind soul who takes every flyer they’re offered? Or are you a head down and keep walking kind of a punter, adamant you won’t be side tracked? It’s amazing seeing the inventive ways performers try to spread the word about their show.

Gilded Balloon, Teviot

G is for Gilded Balloon

Another glorious EdFest venue, Gilded Balloon has been running for 38 years and nurtures some of the best up and coming comedians through their famous ‘So you think you’re funny?’ competition each year, as well as showcasing amazing Scottish and international performers across their programme.

H is for Hangovers

For the more restrained, or sensible, festival-goers you may manage to avoid this one altogether but roaming the streets in the morning is a sight to behold. Watch audiences with their sunglasses on in the not-so-sunny Scottish summer questioning the early morning show they booked after a late night at the festival bars!

I is for Ice Rink

This year there is an incredible immersive circus: IMA at the Ice Rink in Murrayfield! (That’s a lot of I’s). A short trip out of the city centre, this really is a show not to be missed. Magical.

J is for Just The Tonic

Our third spectacular EdFest venue, Just The Tonic, has been a major Fringe player since 2002 bringing a huge range of incredible comedy year on year. 

K is for Kids

Bubble shows, storytelling and circus shows for families, there’s so many shows for Kids across the Fringe. And with performers running around the streets promoting their shows there’s always something to keep the family entertained! 

L is for Laughs

The best medicine going. Whilst there’s theatre, cabaret, music, circus and oh so much more the Fringe has got to be best known for it’s Comedy. So many huge names were discovered at the Fringe and they keep coming back year on year alongside the new up and coming comedians starting out their career!

M is for Montpeliers

The Montpelier group is made up of seven bars and restaurants around Edinburgh and as a partner of ours they are offering 20% off your bill to anyone who’s booked a ticket through EdFest.com! For the whole of August. So swing by and get your scran between shows.

Assembly Rooms, George St

N is for New Town

The Festival Fringe spans the whole city including a whole host of venues on George Street. See it transformed into its own mini festival for the summer at the Assembly Rooms and the Bijou tent in the gardens outside.

O is for Old Town

Old Town is home to a huge number of Fringe venues and you can really feel the full scale of the Fringe wandering around between Pleasance Courtyard, Bristo Sq and George Sq with performers promoting their shows, street food stalls on every corner and the general panic of audiences running from one show to the next!

P is for Pleasance

Pleasance is another true icon in the EdFest family. From the Courtyard to the Dome their bright yellow signs bring sunshine to even the most rainy Edinburgh days. Their programme has hosted some of the best in Theatre and Comedy since 1985!

Q is for Queens

If Drag is what you live for, we have so many Queens across the Fringe this year - just take a look here and find some old favourites or discover someone new!

Performances on the Royal Mile

R is for Royal Mile

If you’ve got time to kill, or just want a whole host of free entertainment, take a walk from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle and witness buskers, magicians, living statues - come rain or shine! 

S is for Scotsman

We love our pals at the Scotsman - from ticket giveaways to ongoing reviews and show highlights they’re an amazing source of information and inspiration for what to see at the Fringe!

T is for theSpaceUK

New this year to the EdFest family, theSpaceUK are a fantastic addition to the team bringing over 400 shows to the EdFest programme! Stop by one of their venues and see some of their incredible programming with a real focus on grassroots and original work.

U is for Underbelly

A mighty venue in the EdFest team, from the iconic purple cow in George Sq to the circus hub on the meadows you’ll no doubt find tonnes of Fringe favourites across Underbelly.

Udderbelly, George Square

V is for Veggies

The Edinburgh Fringe can be an intense experience. When you’re out all day and night, looking after yourself can quickly reach the bottom of your list. If you’re feeling a bit run down, our top tip is to have some rest and make sure you eat some vegetables - especially if you’re performing!

W is for Waterproof

What would a Scottish Summer festival be without a little downpour. No. 1 piece of advice, always pack a waterproof! You can head out for the day in brilliant sunshine and by lunchtime have experienced every season going. So layers, layers, layers.

X is for X-Rated

There really is something for everyone across the Fringe including an endless supply of late night risky, unfiltered and adult rated for late at night - check out what’s on offer late night here.

Y is for YES!

Top tip of the Fringe in our mind is the classic ‘just say Yes’ - there’s never a better opportunity to try something new and take a chance on an act you’ve never seen before - then you can always say ‘I saw them when they were playing to an audience of 20 and now they’re selling out arenas’.

Z is for ZOO

The last but oh by NO means least the final jewel in the EdFest crown: ZOO Venues. With an amazing programme including a huge array of dance and physical theatre from international artists.