The world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival attracts thousands of visitors each year. Nestled amidst the cobbled streets and historic charm of Scotland's capital, this infamous comedy festival has now become a cultural landmark, drawing performers and spectators from across the globe.

For both seasoned attendees and newcomers alike, navigating the bustling streets of the Royal Mile and jam-packed schedule of comedy shows can seem overwhelming. But worry no more, as our guide to what to see and do at the Edinburgh Fringe will help you make the most of your Edinburgh Fringe in 2024. Feel free to jump to the relevant section for you below:

All You Need to Know About The Edinburgh Fringe 2024

What is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

visit the edinburgh fringe festival this summer
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, often referred to simply as the "Fringe," is the largest arts festival in the world. It runs hundreds of shows covering theatre, comedy, dance, music, spoken word, and more. What sets the Fringe apart is its open-access nature, allowing anyone with a venue and a show to participate, resulting in a wonderfully eclectic mix of performances.

When is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2024?

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival typically takes place over three weeks in August. The exact dates may vary slightly each year, but it generally begins in the first half of August and runs until the end of the month. This year the Fringe runs from the 2nd to the 26th of the month.

What do you do at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

The options are truly endless during the Fringe (just take a look at the festival's hefty catalogue). You can immerse yourself in a diverse range of performances, from established acts to up-and-coming artists, often held in various venues throughout the city. Beyond attending shows, the Fringe offers a vibrant atmosphere filled with street performers, pop-up bars, food stalls, and art installations.

Who organises the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

a lady hands out flyers at the edinburgh fringe festival 2024
Unlike other traditional arts festivals, the Edinburgh Fringe operates on a unique open-access model, meaning there is no central governing body or single organiser. Instead, the festival is made up of thousands of individual shows and events, each organised independently by artists, performers, producers, and venues. This decentralized approach fosters a spirit of artistic freedom and innovation, making the Fringe truly one-of-a-kind.

Why did the Edinburgh Fringe Festival start?

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival traces its roots back to 1947 when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to the newly established Edinburgh International Festival, seeking to showcase their work on the fringes of the official program. Over the years, this alternative festival grew in size and popularity, eventually evolving into the sprawling cultural extravaganza we know today. Its origins embody the spirit of artistic rebellion and grassroots creativity, driving the Fringe's enduring appeal.

Whether you're a theatre aficionado, comedy connoisseur, or simply seeking an unforgettable Scottish summer, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival promises something truly special for everyone. So, grab your programme, don your walking shoes, and prepare to be captivated by the magic of the Fringe.

The 10 Must-See Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe 2024

Did you know that more than 1,300 shows will be part of the Fringe this year? That's a lot to get through! Check out our top 10 must-see shows for this August.

performers at the edinburgh fringe festival 2024

1. Igor Lipinski's Piano Illusions

Date: August 1-25
Venue: artSpace@StMarks
Ticket Price: £12-£15
In this Edinburgh Fringe Show, Polish pianist Igor Lipinski brings a mesmerising blend of piano and magic to the stage, accompanied by flutist Anna Chenoweth Lipinski. It's a one-of-a-kind musical experience you won't want to miss!

2. Victor's Victoria

Date: August 3-28
Venue: Assembly
Ticket Price: £10-£14
Step back into the golden age of Hollywood with Victoria Mature as she weaves music and movie clips inspired by her father, Hollywood heartthrob Victor Mature, into an intimate cabaret experience.

3. Haus of Honky-Tonk

Date: August 2-26
Venue: Brewhemia
Ticket Price: £15-£18
Get ready for a boot-scootin' extravaganza! Join rhinestone-clad performers for a night filled with country classics and unforgettable entertainment at the Haus of Honky-Tonk.

4. Suhani Shah: Spellbound 2.0

Date: August 4-27
Venue: Underbelly
Ticket Price: £12-£16
Prepare to be amazed with our next Edinburgh Fringe show as India's most famous mind-reader, Suhani Shah, takes you on a journey into the depths of mental mysteries. With surprises, laughter, and interactive engagement, Spellbound 2.0 is a show you won't forget.

5. Off the Cuff: Stand-Up Comedy Magic

Date: August 5-25
Venue: Scottish Comedy Festival
Ticket Price: £8-£12
Join Chris Dinwoodie for an evening of sleight-of-hand miracles, mesmerizing mind reading, and a natural off-the-cuff sense of humor. Prepare to be dazzled!

6. Chinese Culture Carnival

Date: August 1-26
Venue: Central Hall
Ticket Price: £10-£15
Immerse yourself in a vibrant showcase of Chinese traditional culture, featuring music, dance, and various artistic forms. It's a captivating performance for audiences of all ages.

7. Comfort Food Cabaret

Date: August 3-28
Venue: Edinburgh New Town Cookery School
Ticket Price: £20-£25
Join Australia's singing cook Michelle Pearson for an evening of live music, cooking, and comedy. It's a soulful journey that will leave you entertained and well-fed!

8. Mitzi Fitz's Glitzy Bitz

Date: August 2-25
Venue: Hootenannies
Ticket Price: £10-£12
Step into the world of Mitzi Fitz for a night of witty repartee, spectacular comedic prowess, and flawless production values. It's a show that's sure to dazzle and delight.

9. From Holyrood to Hollywood

Date: August 3-27
Venue: Saint Stephen's Theatre
Ticket Price: £14-£18
Ru Paul's Drag Race fans won't want to miss this hilarious Fringe comedy show. Join Scottish Drag Race winner Lawrence Chaney as she takes you on a journey from performing in the basement of CC Blooms to international stardom. It's a hilarious and heartwarming tale of success and self-discovery.

10. Tones: A Hip-Hop Opera

Date: August 2-27
Venue: ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall
Ticket Price: £14-£18
Experience a unique blend of gritty underground sounds of hip-hop, grime, and drill with the melodrama of opera in this electrifying piece of gig theatre. It's a must-see for music lovers and theatre enthusiasts alike!

Be sure to grab your Fringe tickets early for these side-splitting performances, as they're sure to sell out fast. Whether you're a fan of comedy, cabaret, music or wanting a child-friendly performance, the Edinburgh Fringe 2024 really has it all!

How do you get tickets for shows at the Edinburgh Fringe?

Booking tickets for shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is essential to make sure you don't miss out on your favourite shows. Here's how you can book tickets for the best shows at the Fringe:

  • Book Online: The most convenient way to purchase tickets for Fringe shows is through the official Edinburgh Fringe Festival website. Simply visit www.edfringe.com and browse the extensive programme to find the performances you want to attend. Once you've selected your desired shows, follow the prompts to purchase your tickets securely online
  • On-site Box Offices: During the festival, you'll find numerous box offices scattered throughout the city of Edinburgh. These box offices are typically located near major festival venues and offer in-person ticket sales as well as assistance with any inquiries you may have. Keep an eye out for the Fringe's iconic purple signage to locate these box offices easily.
  • At the Venue: Many individual venues also have their own box offices where you can purchase tickets directly for shows taking place at that venue. If there's a specific performance you're interested in seeing, check the venue's website or contact them directly for information on ticket availability and booking.
  • Half-Price Hut: For budget-conscious Fringe-goers, the Half-Price Hut offers discounted tickets for select shows on the day of the performance. Located on the Mound Precinct, the Half-Price Hut opens daily and offers a limited number of tickets at 50% off the regular price. Arrive early to secure the best deals!
  • Fringe App: Download the official Edinburgh Fringe App to your smartphone for easy access to the programme, ticket booking, and up-to-date information on showtimes and venues. The app allows you to plan your Fringe experience on the go and even offers digital ticketing options for added convenience.

With these handy options, booking tickets for shows at the Fringe is super straightforward. Whether you prefer to book online, visit a box office in person, or take advantage of last-minute discounts, securing your tickets early ensures you can enjoy the best of the Fringe without any hassle.

Where to Stay During the Edinburgh Fringe 2024

A good base will make or break your Edinburgh Fringe experience and this is common knowledge as hotels in Edinburgh during the Fringe are very hard to come by. If you are thinking about heading to Auld Reekie for August, make sure you book your accommodation as early as possible. Here are our picks for the best places to stay in Edinburgh during the Fringe:

1. The Balmoral Hotel (5-star)

Situated in the heart of Edinburgh's city centre, The Balmoral Hotel offers luxurious accommodation and impeccable service. With its elegant Victorian architecture and stunning views of Edinburgh Castle, this iconic hotel provides the perfect retreat after a day of exploring the Fringe. Amenities include spacious rooms and suites, a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa, and a stylish cocktail bar.

2. The Scotsman Hotel (4-star)

Housed within a historic building that once served as the headquarters of The Scotsman newspaper, this boutique hotel exudes charm and character. Located just a stone's throw away from the Royal Mile and major Fringe venues, The Scotsman Hotel offers stylish rooms, gourmet dining options, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city.

3. Apex Grassmarket Hotel (4-star)

stay at the APEX hotel in Edinburgh during the edinburgh fringe 2024
Nestled beneath the iconic Edinburgh Castle, Apex Grassmarket Hotel is ideally situated for Fringe-goers looking to immerse themselves in the festival atmosphere. The hotel boasts modern and spacious rooms, an on-site restaurant serving delicious Scottish cuisine, and a leisure club with a swimming pool and gym facilities.

4. Radisson Blu Hotel Edinburgh (4-star)

stay at the Radisson Blu hotel on the Royal Mile
Conveniently located on the historic Royal Mile, Radisson Blu Hotel Edinburgh offers contemporary accommodation within walking distance of many Fringe venues and attractions. Guests can enjoy stylish rooms with modern amenities, a vibrant bar and restaurant, and stunning views of the city skyline from the rooftop terrace. Why not nip down the Mile and enjoy a whisky tasting or two for a truly Scottish experience?

5. Jurys Inn Edinburgh (3-star)

Located just a short stroll from the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and other major Fringe venues, Jurys Inn Edinburgh provides comfortable and affordable accommodation for festival attendees. The hotel features spacious rooms, a casual dining restaurant, and a welcoming bar where you can unwind with a drink after a day of Fringe festivities.

Where to Eat during the Fringe 2024

Running around the city all day is bound to work up an appetite. Check out our recommendations for the best Edinburgh restaurants to eat at in between shows.

1. The Outsider

Situated on George IV Bridge with views of Edinburgh Castle, The Outsider offers a sophisticated dining experience in a stylish setting. Known for its creative Scottish cuisine with a modern twist, this restaurant sources high-quality local ingredients to craft dishes such as pan-seared scallops, haggis bon bons, and roasted venison loin.

2. Hendersons

hendersons restaurant in edinburgh
A long-standing vegetarian institution in Edinburgh, Hendersons has been serving up delicious plant-based fare since 1962. Centrally located on Hanover Street, this vegetarian and vegan restaurant offers a diverse menu of wholesome dishes, including vegan haggis, lentil moussaka, and freshly made salads. Don't miss their legendary vegan desserts, such as chocolate fudge cake and lemon polenta cake.

3. Pizzeria 1926

Tucked away on Dalry Road, Pizzeria 1926 is a hidden gem for authentic Neapolitan-style pizza lovers. Using traditional methods and imported Italian ingredients, this cosy restaurant serves up mouthwatering pizzas with perfectly charred crusts and fresh toppings. Pair your pizza with a glass of Italian wine or a refreshing Aperol Spritz for the ultimate dining experience.

4. Rustom

Only a stone's throw from Haymarket station, Rustom offers a taste of contemporary Indian cuisine in a stylish and relaxed setting. Specializing in small plates and sharing dishes, this restaurant showcases bold and innovative flavors inspired by traditional Indian recipes. Highlights include chicken tikka masala, lamb biryani, and paneer tikka skewers.

5. Blackwoods

go to blackwoods during the edinburgh fringe 2024
Situated within the iconic Nira Caledonia hotel in the New Town area, Blackwoods is a chic brasserie serving modern Scottish cuisine with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. The menu features a range of dishes, from classic Scottish staples like haggis and smoked salmon to inventive creations such as venison Wellington and North Sea cod with chorizo crust. Finish your meal with a decadent dessert or a selection of Scottish cheeses.

Whether you're craving traditional Scottish fare, vegetarian delights, authentic Italian pizza, contemporary Indian cuisine, or modern Scottish dishes, these Edinburgh restaurants offer something to suit every palate during your jam-packed Fringe schedule. And if you're more of a brunch type of person, check out our blog on the best brunch spots in Edinburgh.

Gift a Trip to the Fringe with Experiencegift Cards

gift a trip to the edinburgh fringe festival 2024 with experience gift cards from Experiencegift
We're sure that after our extensive rundown of the Edinburgh Fringe 2024, you're going to want to book a trip there ASAP. Or perhaps you know a culture buff, comedy lover or theatre aficionado that's always dreamed of experiencing the Fringe in person?

Well, if they have a special occasion approaching or you just fancy treating them - consider buying them one of our gift cards for experiences. Whether you want to gift them a hotel in Edinburgh with a Hotelgift, a flight to the Scottish capital with Flightgift or a fun activity to enjoy once they're there with Activitygift, our experience gift cards are flexible, special and definitely a unique gift.