Edinburgh Festival 2013

It's one of my ambitions to visit as many art's festivals around the world that I can and the Edinburgh festival is the largest one anywhere in world. The International  Festival,  Fringe and Film festival   started in 1947 and was set up after the second world war as a platform to celebrate the flowering of the human spirit. In 1983 the book festival was established and every year plays host to some of the biggest names in the literary world.

I love it and go every year.  I'm lucky to be able to get there in a couple of hours  by train. It's a great  start,  as the coastal route from Holy Island  is quite spectacular and provides the traveller with a splendid entrance to the city of Edinburgh.

So, whether you are staying for a week or a day here are a few handy hints.

How to get there -

If you are coming from London,  trains run every half hour from King's Cross. Alternatively you can fly into Edinburgh airport. From there an express bus runs into Edinburgh Waverley every 10 minutes.  From my experience it's probably best to leave your car at home, as both parking and getting about on  4 wheels is a nightmare.

Where to stay -

A word of warning accommodation is expensive during the festival period.. I previously stayed at the King James apartments on the Royal Mile; which offered self catering accommodation  right in the thick of it. However,  from back-packers hostels to 5 star hotels, there is somewhere to stay to suit all budgets. Accommodation  can be booked through Expedia.

As a seasoned festival goer it is my advice that you scan the festival brochure before you go. You can then take time to decide  what you want to see and  and draw up an itinerary. Tickets can be purchased in advance and this avoids any disappointment and queuing for ages. In order to  allow for spontaneity, however,  build in some spare time so that you can travel "off piste" and   take in a show that just takes your fancy.

Where to eat - 

Bear in mind that's it's a long day and you will need time to eat. Service in some restaurants can be too slow to fit in with a packed festival schedule, so you will need to take this into account  when planning your day. There are many cafes, bars and pubs that do food. Also, some venues have a food tent attached where you can grab a bite to eat.  However, here are a few of my favourite eating places.

David Bann - St Mary's Street. Vegetarian restaurant.
The Mussel Inn - Rose Street. Seafood restaurant. Gets crowded and has a real buzz with a cosmopolitan feel. Be prepared to queue.
The Tower - Chamber's Street
The Scottish Cafe and Restaurant- Princes Street Gardens. Affordable quality dining in the Scottish National Gallery.
The Witchery - The Royal Mile. Fine dining. Pre-booking required for lunch during the festival.
Gennaro - Grassmarket. Italian restaurant.
The Cafe at the Palace - Holyrood Palace. Particularly  nice for afternoon tea.
The Fish and Chip take-away - opposite Hunter's Square.

Here are a few dates for your diary -

The Fringe starts on 2nd August and runs until the 26th August. You might want to check out Stand-Up Tragedy, a combination of comedy and cabaret,  that show cases talent from the Hackney Attic and runs from the 3rd-14th August. At events like this you might just catch the next big thing right at the start of their career. Surprises guaranteed!

The Film Festival runs from 19th - 30th June

The International  Festival runs from the 9th August - 1st September

The Book Festival runs from 9th August - 1st September.


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