Where to stay during the Edinburgh Festival
Don’t be a Fringe novice, book your Edinburgh Festival accommodation like a pro
This article is from 2015.
Organising travel accommodation can be a minefield at the best of times. Finding accommodation for Edinburgh Festivals is a royal pain if you're not clever about it. The good news is, there are loads of options and still time to book. So if this is your first trip to Edinburgh during festival season and you're not sorted yet, don't worry, we're here to help. If it’s not your first time – well shame on you, you ought to know better.
Didn’t know you could camp for Edinburgh Festivals? You can, and we don’t mean by rocking over to Arthur’s Seat and pitching up by St Anthony’s Chapel. Campingninja are operating an Edinburgh Festivals campsite from 7–31 Aug just a short shuttle ride from town at The Royal Highland Centre. With a resume boasting camping events at London 2012, Glasgow 2014 and Tour de France, Campingninja know what they’re doing with regards to facilities, activities and services. Options range from £19 per adult per night on a standard pitch to £19pp+£25 for a premium pitch, which provides space for caravans, campervans, trailer tents etc, so this is perfect for anyone operating on a small budget (price set to rise to £23 from 14 Jul). And yes, there’s glamping too. (see end of page for our 10% off offer)
If you’re looking for a place to stay that is quintessentially Edinburgh, AirBnB is a great bet for local digs with plenty of character. There's all manner of apartments, townhouses, rooms and mansions to choose depending on your budget. We found this incredible ‘New York style warehouse apartment’ in Leith for $357 per night and this ‘Cute Vintage inspired flat’ also in Leith. You could stay in a ‘Luxury Georgian flat’ in the city centre for $295 per night, or this ‘Quaint historic gate house’ for $244. There are loads of options still available during the Fringe period (here, here, here and here), so you’re spoilt for choice really.
Edinburgh has long been a backpacker favourite. And where the backpackers go, there will always be hostels. If you are cool with bunk beds, snoring roommates, a shared kitchen, developing your pool game and an all-round great communal atmosphere, hostels are where it’s at. Oh, and cheap… how could we forget? Beds run from around a tenner to £65 per night plus any extras, like a continental breakfast. Bed bugs are free … just kidding. Anyway, we’ve checked and there’s still loads of availability come Fringe time for you and your mates. Check out any of the following: The Hostel, Haggis Hostels, Castle Rock, Caledonian Backpackers and Scottish YHA – all good options.
If you’re not looking to save money and would prefer to drop serious coin for a couple of nights' luxury accommodation during the festival, win over your loved one and generally make like a festival A-lister, Edinburgh has plenty of five star hotels with men in tartan waiting to open the foyer doors for you. The Waldorf Astoria, The Balmoral, The Scotsman and G&V all come with the kind of trappings you’d expect from a world class establishment. Here’s to champagne breakfasts every day of the fest.
With 8,108 hosts in Edinburgh, there’s plenty of opportunity to bag yourself a free tour guide within a highly active community of people who understand the meaning of ‘travel karma’. It’s also a bit male heavy, but if you’re cool with the guy who prefers ‘clothes-free’ living, then go for it. Stays are of the short-term variety and couchsurfing is definitely for the more adventurous types … but maybe you’re just better off chancing your luck on Tinder or Grindr?
Not technically a place to stay, but this is the moment to plough through your friends list for any old acquaintance you’ve made through the years and re-establish contact with a view to, maybe, kinda, possibly scoring a place to stay for ‘a couple of nights’ during the festival. Then proceed to move in on opening night, bring friends to stay, perhaps the rest of your theatre group; then move out once the toilet is broke, the food is devoured, and the festival is over. Just don't expect to be invited back next year.