THE Edinburgh Festival returns in full force this year with acts from around the world.
From the best established and emerging comedians to dazzling dance acts and quirky circus performers, there’s something for absolutely everyone.
While the commute to a show sounds great, the pressure of the cost of living can mean a trip to the capital seems like a luxury you can’t afford.
But fear not, there are ways to enjoy the Fringe on a budget.
Here’s our guide to getting the most out of the fest without breaking the bank.
IF you’re traveling to the festival with youngsters in tow, be sure to use Scotrail’s Kids for a Quid tickets.
At weekends or off-peak, up to four children can travel for just £1 per paying adult.
The tickets, which must be bought at a box office, also have the added benefit of giving you free entry to the attractions with a full-price ticket. For example, an adult traveling from Glasgow to Edinburgh with a child can travel for as little as £11.40.
So if you’re in Edinburgh for shows, you can also take one person to Edinburgh Zoo and the Camera Obscura for free.
FREE IS A CHARM
THERE are tons of great performances at the festival that cost absolutely nothing.
Just log into edfringe.com, go to the All Shows tab, then filter for free to see what’s on offer.
There are many entertaining options, from Accordion Ryan’s Pop Bangers, which sees the musician belt out at the Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, to the stunning one-hour Straitjacket Escape Magic Show, held at PBH’s Free Fringe at Pilgrim.
Meanwhile, Monday and Tuesday, August 8th and 9th are this year’s 2-for-1 days.
You can secure these cheap offers for many shows on the event website.
THERE are some absolutely brilliant shows at the Fringe this year – but you don’t really need to book anything to enjoy the festival.
Auld Reekie is buzzing as the internationally acclaimed event is underway and there is a brilliant vibe in town.
There are street performers throughout the run trying to capitalize on the sheer volume of tourists that flock to Edinburgh.
So, weather permitting, find a café or pub with outdoor seating – there are plenty on the Royal Mile – order a drink and wait. Free entertainment will come to you in no time.
If you’re going to the festival for a whole day, food is another expense to consider.
If the weather stays nice, pack a picnic and find a spot for an alfresco bite in Princes Street Gardens. But you can also get great bargains in chain restaurants at the moment.
At Bella Italia, youngsters can eat Monday to Thursday between 4pm and 6pm with the purchase of any adult main course for £1.
Meanwhile, Marks and Spencer has extended its children’s eat-free scheme until September 2, giving youngsters free breakfast or lunch when guests spend £5 or more in a single transaction on adult food or drink.
STAY ON PURPOSE
It can be incredibly difficult – not to mention expensive – to find accommodation in Edinburgh while the Fringe is in operation, so public transport to and from the capital is the best option.
Hotels tend to get booked up months in advance by artists and tourists, while private owners tend to raise prices during the high season.
But if you want to stay, camping close to town is a budget option.
Mortonhall Caravan and Camping Park is still available in August with a tent site priced at £33.50 for an adult, with additional adults £7 and children £3.70. And buses run from the park to the city every 10 minutes.
WHILE YOU ARE THERE…
IF you’ve made the effort and spent the money to travel to Edinburgh for the festival, you might as well make the most of it.
And there are plenty of great free attractions in the capital to enjoy on a budget.
For fans of the supernatural, you can join an expert guide on a ghost tour that takes hikers to the “haunted town” of yesteryear.
Just a mile from the city center, you can enter and enjoy Edinburgh’s 72 acres of immaculately manicured Botanical Gardens for free.
Or marvel at the masterpieces at the Scottish National Gallery, where works by Raphael, Vermeer, Monet and Van Gogh hang on the walls.