It’s the eternal problem faced by performers and audiences alike – trying to find somewhere to stay during Edinburgh’s festivals.
Although the city is already filling to bursting point with budding actors, overzealous street teams and comedy buffs, we’ve found a range of available accommodation options to suit any budget.
The first thing to note is the huge difference between weekend and weekday prices. Hotel and apartment rates can vary by up to 250% from Thursday to Friday, and with shows and events on pretty much constantly it’s well worth taking a midweek trip if you can.
One place where accommodation rates avoid an unhelpful weekend bounce is the Edinburgh University student accommodation at Pollock Halls. Less a halls of residence and more a small village, the site offers a range of options from cheap single rooms through to three and four-bedroom apartments. A favourite of Fringe performers, there’s always a vibrant and fun atmosphere around the place in August. Single rooms start from £55 a night, two-bed apartments from £154 a night.
The Knight Residence
From student digs to one of the best places to stay in the world. The Knight Residence was recently named as the best choice for accommodation in the UK, and ninth-best on the planet. It certainly has plenty to offer – located in the shadow of the castle, the fully serviced apartments offer the space of home with the convenience and comfort of a holiday. After all, who wants to tidy up after a long day on the Fringe? Limited availability, from £115 per person per night.
Holiday apartments from Fountain Court also sit in the middle of the action, with a range of locations in Tollcross and Haymarket. Their clean, spacious flats with free wifi are an ideal base for the festival, but the extras Fountain Court can lay on for a small fee will make your stay so much easier. Temporary gym memberships, all the ingredients for a hearty breakfast, and treats for your dog (who you can bring along for £10) are just some of the frills you can choose from. Apartments from £152 per night.
If you do have your heart set on a hotel, then being secretive can pay off. The ‘secret’ deals on websites like Expedia and LastMinute.com offer some of the city’s top hotels at a reduced rate, on the grounds that you won’t be entirely sure where you’ll end up at the time of booking. However, a quick bit of online sleuthing can help you pinpoint the location of your ‘secret’ accommodation before you hand over your money. Grabbing a five-star hotel for a three-star price is good at the best of times – during the festival it’s a godsend.
Out of town
And if none of that takes your fancy, you can always head for the countryside. The Lothians are packed with delightful country hotels available for a steal compared to their city centre counterparts. While a stay in Macdonald’s Holyrood Hotel starts at £215 a night, their Houston House hotel in West Lothian comes in at just £123 a night, with the added bonus of offering a break from the madness of the Fringe.
By Peter Simpson
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