If you want to take advantage of the Edinburgh Festival – the world’s biggest arts gathering that covers the Fringe, the Edinburgh International Festival and everything in-between – you need to start with the basics: where to stay.
After a long day and night of festival shows and bars, you’ll need somewhere to rest your head, whether that’s a five-star hotel, a rented apartment or a basic hostel.
There’s a vast array of options, but with demand sky-high in August, places book up at lightning speed, and prices can reach wallet-busting levels pretty quickly.
Now’s the time to start planning your Edinburgh Festival 2015 with our guide to the accommodation options.
Apartments and Rentals
The festival is big business for Edinburgh property owners and many landlords work their leases to coincide with the beginning of August, or will ship out in order to make some space for festival tourists.
Edinburgh city centre is essentially a collection of flats and a castle, so if you’re being offered a great rate on a roomy property – then most likely you’ve either hit the castle jackpot (unlikely) or you’re somewhere out in the sticks. But, as long as you get browsing a few months in advance, picking up a reasonable deal on an apartment shared with friends or relatives shouldn’t be impossible, and there a range of options to suit any budget.
More informal than going through official letting agencies, but perhaps more likely to open a great rate on festival renting is AirBnB. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the website’s concept is that people can put up their whole flats or just a spare room to rent within certain dates. Potential property letters can be reviewed as can those looking to stay – so you can work out what kind of person you will be sharing with over August.
AirBnB can be a cheaper option than going through letting channels, and can also have the added bonus of real local insight. It’s often advised to Skype with your potential flat-mate in order to ensure that everything is legit.
Useful link: airbnb.co.uk
It’s important to state that these rooms can book up fast, but Edinburgh’s multiple universities do provide their student halls for the festival season. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean staying somewhere that resembles the flat from The Young Ones – the freshers are long gone by August and Edinburgh’s halls themselves are mostly new builds, often with en-suite bathrooms and kitchen spaces.
Edinburgh is a tourist hotspot all year round, not just in the middle of Fringe madness, so the city is teeming with great hostel locations. Hostels are pin-pointed around the city centre’s traditional nightlife areas (predominantly the Old Town and the West End), so you shouldn’t be too far from comedy clubs, pop-up bars or large purple cows.
Accommodation ranges in price (and quality too) but with prior booking, you should be able to find a suitable base for your festival experience.
The moment you walked in the joint (bwah-wah), I could see you were a man of distinction – a real big spender… If you’re looking to set up in the Burgh for the entire month – then living like Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums is not advisable. However, if you’re looking for a brief weekend fling with the world’s biggest arts festival then booking a comfy stay would be the way to do the festival in style.
Bed and Breakfast
It may seem a little old-fashioned now, but the Great British B’n’B is still a great way to experience Edinburgh. Those who work in the hospitality industry are usually passionate about their business and make sure their guests are well-looked after. If you’re new to the Festival or indeed Edinburgh itself, then staying with a host who will be more than willing to share their gems of local knowledge is a great way to get accustomed with the city. Most B’n’B locations in Edinburgh tend to be a little removed from the city centre, but there’s always easy and fast bus connections.
Well, it is a festival. Campsite specialists Camping Ninja will be providing the Edinburgh Festival campsite for the first time ever this year, with the emphasis being on building family-friendly community areas instead of the type of sites seen at boozy music festivals. Various deals are on offer, ranging from pitching up with your own tent, selecting a VIP tent package or a special campsite village dedicated to performers. It’s all a little experimental this year, but if you’re looking for a cost-efficient way of doing the festival then it could be worth checking out.
One of the more established options is the Mortonhall Campsite, set in 200 acres of land in the south of the city. This could actually be a good escape from the chaos of the festival.
Finally, for something a little different, some Edinburgh residents even let you camp in their garden during Festival season, and of course there’s now a website to help you find them.
Edinburgh Festival tips and info:
How to make the most of the Edinburgh Festival
Best places for a quick bite to eat in Edinburgh
Best coffee in Edinburgh: 5 places to refuel during the Festival
Cheap eats in Edinburgh: 16 of the best budget restaurants and cafés
10 of the best bars in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Restaurants Guide – read the reviews and book tables
5 of the best places for brunch in Edinburgh
5 of the best cafés for cake in Edinburgh