How to do the Edinburgh Fringe for less than £30

Written by LittleAlice_x

10.30am: Brunch £0. I was fortunate enough that one of my friends from Edinburgh invited me to stay wit

10.30am: Brunch £0. I was fortunate enough that one of my friends from Edinburgh invited me to stay with her during the Fringe, knocking my accommodation costs from potentially hundreds of pounds to free. She also made me a lovely wholemeal bagel with cream cheese before we set off for our adventure round the Capital. So far, my Fringe experience was shaping up to be an affordable one.

11.30am: Bus ride to the centre £3.50. The one downside of staying at my friend’s was that she lives an hour away from the city centre. However, Lothian Buses had the perfect solution to this in the form of their Day Ticket. For only £3.50 I could ride the bus as much as I wanted, meaning I could travel from venue to venue with ease. I would definitely recommend the buses to anyone- apart from being good value, they are also frequent and fairly fast, bearing in mind the whole city is slowed down by the throngs of tourists and performers on the streets.

1pm: Ghosts of the Happy and High Spirited £0. We started off our festival schedule with a free show held in the basement of an Italian restaurant. That’s one of the best things about the fringe- the smallest of cafes or bars can be a venue for a variety of quirky performances. I have to admit, this wasn’t the best show I’ve ever seen. It consisted of two men, the first of whom told the tale of an encounter with a ghost and the second told paranormal- themed jokes. It was fairly amateur but not the worst way to spend an hour. There was also a 15 per cent off voucher for the restaurant upstairs, meaning there was another chance for me to save on my day out.

3.15pm: Twelve Night: Unplugged £5. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to use our cheap lunch voucher as we underestimated the queues for tickets. If you are doing the Fringe then prepare to be bombarded by reps dishing out leaflets, even in the box office queue. After a half-hour wait, we got our tickets and headed off to a performance of Shakespeare’s Twelve Night that I was particularly looking forward to. I’m afraid to say I was rather let down. The performance was by a group of American High schoolers who, for their age, were on the whole quite good. However, I had high expectations and the fairly casual attitude to the play was not what I expected. Amateur Shakespeare was always going to be a gamble.

5pm: Dinner at Candy Bar £10. Having skipped lunch, my friend and I were starving after our second performance. Thankfully, she knew of a great place to go for a bite to eat. Candy Bar is a funky basement bar on George Street where everything on the menu is less than five pounds. Yes, less than five pounds. Ok, the drinks were a bit more expensive. Even so, £10 for a Kopperberg and a burger is not to be sniffed at. The food was actually really good- the burger was served on a plank with a little bucket of chips (the number one choice for restaurants considering themselves to be ‘modern’) and the coleslaw was homemade. We left feeling happily stuffed.

6.30pm: Dobbing and Hamdi £2. We had originally hoped to go to see a parody musical performance but we didn’t quite make it in time. Instead, we wandered into a comedy show we’d seen in the free show directory at the atmospheric Cabaret Voltaire. This was by far my favourite show of the day. Hamdi, the first comedian, was a Welsh Muslim of Eygptian origin, and unafraid to confront British political correctness and the stigma surrounding Islam. He was extremely professional and it wouldn’t surprise me if we see him on Live at the Apollo in a few years. Dobbing, the second comedian, was not bad but he couldn’t compete with Hamdi’s self-depreciating humour. I happily put £2 in to the donation bucket.

7.30pm: Drinks at the Courtyard £6. After a busy day taking in the excitement of the Fringe, we went and had drinks at the Courtyard café by the Surgeon’s Hall Museum. My friend and I shared a pitcher, meaning we only spent six pounds each. The Courtyard also offered an outdoor barbeque, which smelt delicious, but we were still too full after our bargain dinner.

9pm: Chilling with a DVD £0. We decided we’d done enough for the day and headed back to my friend’s house. To continue our Fringe experience we watched Michael McIntyre’s latest DVD as he was as a new comedian, showcasing at the Edinburgh Festival. We probably should have seen another show but it’s amazing how exhausting it is wondering round Edinburgh all day!

Total Spend: £26.50. Result: A bargain for a wonderful day! 

With the Fringe, you really don’t know what you’re going to get. Sometimes the free shows can be better than the expensive ones but you don’t know until you see them. To see the big names will be expensive. Nonetheless, I’ve shown that you can do the Fringe on a budget and still have a great time.

What do you think? What are your experiences at the Edinburgh Fringe? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.