All the latest inspiration and guidance for help you plan your next family hoilday

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is back!

With so much uncertainty over the past year, the 2020 Fringe Festival being cancelled and so many events still not going ahead, there was a big question mark about the Fringe's return in 2021 but never fear, the world's largest performing arts festival is back and, for once, the city actually has reasonably priced hotels in August.

What is the Edinburgh Fringe?

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is an annual performing arts festival which takes place throughout August every year. It lasts practically the whole month and features thousands of comedy shows, dance performances, musicals, plays, and practically every performing art show you can think of and there are plenty that are suitable for the whole family or targeted specifically for younger fans.

Performers come from all across the world and venues all across the city take part. The venues vary in size from iconic sights with close to a thousand seats to some of the smallest comedy venues in the world, one only has 3 seats! Shows are generally pretty cheap and there are hundreds of free shows to attend. Big names tend to charge more and typically sell out well in advance but the fringe is a great place to discover new up-and-coming performers.

But despite the thousands of amazing shows taking place, there is more to the fringe. The city of Edinburgh is transformed every year by the fringe and there's a brilliant, but busy, atmosphere. Chockablock full of street-performers, you have to factor in the crowds when walking from one part of the city to the other.

What's happening in 2021?

This year's Fringe is looking a little different to normal. Masks are still compulsory indoors when you aren't eating or drinking in Scotland and social distancing may still be required. Because of this, many of the shows are taking place outdoors - so be sure to keep an eye on the Scottish weather.

On a positive note, due to the lack of international tourism at the moment, Edinburgh is less busy and cheaper than a normal August. In a typical year, between the Edinburgh Fringe and Edinburgh Military Tattoo, accommodation during August is sold out far in advance and price can rise extraordinarily compared to normal. This year, things are looking a little more low-key, especially since the Edinburgh Tattoo has been cancelled, meaning there's some real bargains to be had.

As previously mentioned, some of the Fringe is moving online. If you aren't comfortable travelling at the moment or just can't make it to Edinburgh, this is an amazing opportunity to experience the Edinburgh Fringe from the comfort of your own home. Certain shows are only available at specific times (Scheduled) and others are available to watch any time (On-Demand). Check out a list of Online Fringe shows here. Helpfully, if you click on the filter button - you'll be able to find shows that are suitable for different ages ranges.

Things to keep in mind

  • Scotland has different COVID restrictions to the rest of the UK and social distancing may be required in certain places where it isn't back home. The Scottish Government also intend to keep masks mandatory indoors even after the drop of most restrictions on the 9th August. This includes when travelling by public transport or watching Fringe shows indoors.
  • Shows may be free but that doesn't mean they don't need to be booked in advance. Venues may have reduced capacity this year so, despite the lack of international visitors, shows are still likely to sell out. If you've got your (or a little one's) heart set on a specific show, click here to find out more details on booking tickets or visit one of the main ticket offices to browse.
  • If you're booking multiple shows for one day, be sure to check where the venues are. While Edinburgh is a compact city, there are many venues taking part in the fringe. Crowds and street performed make it slower to walk around the city and with little ones in tow, you won't want to be rushing between performances.

Where to stay?

Normally Edinburgh is incredibly busy in August so this year represents a rare opportunity to get a good deal on accommodation at the Fringe.

Whether you're visiting Edinburgh during the Fringe or another time of year, we recommend either staying in Edinburgh's Old Town, near the Royal Mile, or in the New Town. Be aware that during the fringe, these places are at the heart of the action which does mean short walks to venues and easy access to street performers but can also mean noisy nights if you're on a main street. Alternatively, consider staying in Leith. You'll need to travel into the city centre but you'll get much quieter nights. You can read more about these areas and more here.

To find your perfect accommodation, visit us at tripAbrood.com and we'll be happy to help.

Whats on?

There might be less shows on this year but there's still plenty to choose from. Right now, there are 670 shows with tickets on sale and you can browse them here! (Remember to filter for family-friendly content)

Here are a few of our family-friendly favourites.


Aladdin

Always a family favourite, Aladdin is brought to life with this year's show by Flying High Young Company. This 50-minute show is perfect for the little ones.

Venue: The Space Triplex Jenner Theatre (Venue 38)
Dates: 6-14 August
Ages: 3+
Tickets available here.

Is this a dagger?

Want to introduce your youngsters to Shakespeare? This is how! A one-man show, Andy Cannon brings Shakespeare's Macbeth to life - all alone and armed only with a stool, a wooden sword and an empty tub of Pringles. The show can get a little scary for little ones so best to stick to the recommendation of ages 8+.

Venue: The Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30)
Dates: 6-10, 12-17, 21-22, 28-29 August
Ages: 8+
Tickets available here.

Madame Modjeska's Fairytale

Described as whimsical and imaginative, this hybrid physical theater-animation film follows Victorian-inspired fantasy characters through their explorations, a fairytale written by renowned Polish Shakespearean actress Helena Modjeska. Something a bit unusual to bring a bit of the fringe home to you.

Venue: Online (On-Demand)
Dates: available from 6 August
Ages: 0+
Tickets available here.

Drag Queen Story Hour

Aida H Dee - The Storytime Drag Queen - has travelled all across the country, reading inclusive stories and making everyone smile.. and Edinburgh is the next stop. An interactive storytime show with an emphasis on inclusivity.

Venue: Assembly Roxy (Venue 139)
Dates: 4-8 August
Ages: 0+
Tickets available here.

You Choose

Based on the book by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt, You choose is a brand new interactive musical with a twist. Suitable for the whole family, you decide what happens! Use the picture book for inspiration and play a series of games and challenges to create a unique show!

Venue: Assembly George Square Gardens (Venue 3)
Dates: 6-10, 12-17, 19-22 August
Ages: 3+
Tickets available here.

Elliot Bibby: Left over lunch

Centred around his leftover lunch and filled with laughter, this multi-award-winning magician's  interactive show is bound to be great fun for the whole family.

Venue: Assembly George Square Gardens (Venue 3)
Dates: 27-29 August
Ages: 5+
Tickets available here.

The Garden of Delight

An award-winning, interactive performance, The Garden of Delight has music and songs suitably for the whole family. Let the children be taken on a quest around the garden where they'll encounter both good and evil magical creatures. The message of the play is simple: we should look after the world and care for its ecology.

Venue: The Space Triplex Jenner Theatre (Venue 38)
Dates: 6-9, 11-20, 24-25, 27-29 August
Ages: 3+
Tickets available here.