August in Edinburgh is a really busy time. At this time of year, the centre of Edinburgh, particularly the area around the Old Town, is jammed packed full of people, including many visitors and transformed into a vibrant, noisy atmosphere as the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe get into full swing.
This year, it ran from 3-29 August and the Royal Mile was closed off to accommodate stages for the many performers to perform for a few minutes and promote their shows. Any space space that could be found was plastered with posters for various shows. Old buildings that are usually closed up are opened for a month to create venues for the thousands of performers that descend on the city for the month. During this month, accommodation for visitors is at a premium so many of those who come do so for the day if they can. Otherwise they have to plan their trip at least a year in advance to get accommodation. As a result of this, hotels raise their prices because they know they’ll sell their rooms at such a high price at this time of the year.
With the amount of people in Edinburgh at this time, it can be difficult to find somewhere to eat and drink if you want time away from the madness that is the festival. Looking towards Edinburgh Castle, seating borders the Esplanade as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo runs during the festival period with this year’s one running from 4-26 August 2017. Bus companies run tour packages to the Tattoo for those who wish to see it and park their vehicles in designated areas, for example, Chambers Street, and the audience has to walk up the steep hill to the Castle Esplanade.
So, what if you’re going to Edinburgh by car for the day? Regardless of whether or not you are going to see the Festival, Fringe or Tattoo, the best way to get there by car, if you’re going for the day, is to drive to the Park and Ride at Ingliston where you can park the car for free. A short walk from the car park is the tram stop. The trams in Edinburgh run between the Airport and York Place in the city centre. For the cost of a day ticket (about £3.60) you can leave your car at the park and ride and take a tram into the centre of Edinburgh. The trams run every eight minutes during the day and this frequency reduces slightly at night. The trip takes about half an hour and once you disembark, whether you go to the Old Town or the New Town is up to you.
If you go by train, Haymarket and Waverley Stations are in the city centre so you can walk straight into town from there. The newest station is Edinburgh Gateway which is near the suburban Edinburgh Park Station. If your trip to Edinburgh by train takes you to one of those stations, they are both close to tram stops so you can take the tram into the centre of Edinburgh.
Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, particularly the Free Fringe, is a gamble but you can find a gem. This year, my partner and I went to a few shows, two of which were less than impressive. The best of the shows we went to were by comedians Dominic Holland and Ashley Storrie. Dominic Holland is the father of actor Tom Holland and his gem of a show was all about how he has been eclipsed in show business by his more successful son. Ashley Storrie is a regular at the Festival with her mother Janey Godley who is also a comedian. We laughed until we cried at her excellent show and although we did not have time to see her mother, perhaps we will one day.