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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

To be in Edinburgh during its Edinburgh Festival

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It is worth gearing up for, for the annual August festival of Edinburgh; which is also the largest annual cultural festival in the world. There are just so many things you can do at this time; with foreigners descending to the streets, the city is buzzing. In short, there is a lot of cheer and excitement everywhere.

The Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for many arts and cultural festivals put on by various unrelated organisations and are therefore officially separate events, but regarded as the same event as a whole, as it’s all taking place at the same time. There are so many festivals you’ll enjoy; out of which the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are the largest and original components of the festival. I personally love the Military Tattoo and the buzz and excitement I had in the Princes Street garden waiting for the fireworks display to start and setting up my camera to capture the night.

Fireworks on display

Fireworks on display

Edinburgh International Festival: This festival of performing arts takes place over three weeks from around the middle of August; and includes top class performers of music, theatre, opera and dance from all around the world. It also hosts a series of visual art exhibitions, talks and workshops.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo: Don’t be misled by the term ‘tattoo’ here. There is no ‘ink’ involved : -) but rather it is used to describe the ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed at the esplanade of Edinburgh castle each year by Military musicians that composed of British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International Military bands. It is Scotland’s best-selling spectacle and so is not a surprise that tickets for this big event is always sold out in advance; hence the need to be alert about it couple of months prior to the event. The Tattoo activity will entertain you with its high-tech illumination, imaginative graphics, thundering sounds of drums and bagpipes, impressive marching and specially commissioned fireworks.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe (or simply The Fringe): The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. It is an unjuried festival, meaning there is no selection committee and therefore any type of performance can participate; and includes a street fair which is located on the Royal Mile. Other shows include Music, Dance & Physical Theatre, Musicals and Opera, and Children’s shows, in addition to assorted Events and Exhibitions.

Other popular festivals include iFest, Edinburgh Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Interactive Festival, Edinburgh People’s Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Mela, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival and a whole lot more. Enough of reading and hearing about it; only when you have been a part of this big event can you say you have really seen the best of Edinburgh!

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The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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fringe The summer exodus to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival continues: the cobbled streets are filled with people handing out flyers for their plays, next to groups performing songs from their shows. The atmosphere, despite the inevitable rain – it’s Scotland after all, is electrifying and exciting.

This year we did the Edinburgh festival experience in one day, commuting from Glasgow. The last train is around midnight: an extra service thanks to the fringe. Word of warning: if you have not already sorted out your accommodation you might be in trouble. The hotel prices are extortionate around this time of year and you’d really be best off finding new love for a distant family member who lives close or join the celebrations in the evenings with all the performers and find yourself a local buddy. (That’s a joke, mother.)

For all you people who are still planning to heading up North, a few tips:

1. Be nice to all the people ‘flyering’: they are just promoting their shows. They have worked hard and often put a lot of their own money into it.
2. Pick up an offical Fringe magazine, which contains all the shows and has a very useful map in the front. You can get one from the Box Office on the High Street, which is open from 9am to 9pm.
3. Book tickets online to avoid disappointment, but still be prepared to queue when you pick them up. So leave yourself enough time to get to a show!
4. During down time, climb the stairs of Calton Hill, just a ten-minute walk from Waverly train station. The view from the top is fantastic: you can overlook the bustling city streets and see the gorgeous landscape surrounding the city.edinburgh-castle
5. Embrace being a tourist and visit the famous Edinburgh Castle (open daily 9.30-5pm; adults £12; child £6).

Should you have time to go sight-seeing, book an Edinburgh tour where you can hop on and hop off, and get the most of your time in Scotland. Enjoy!

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The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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fringe The summer exodus to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival continues: the cobbled streets are filled with people handing out flyers for their plays, next to groups performing songs from their shows. The atmosphere, despite the inevitable rain – it’s Scotland after all, is electrifying and exciting.

This year we did the Edinburgh festival experience in one day, commuting from Glasgow. The last train is around midnight: an extra service thanks to the fringe. Word of warning: if you have not already sorted out your accommodation you might be in trouble.  The hotel prices are extortionate around this time of year and you’d really be best off finding new love for a distant family member who lives close or join the celebrations in the evenings with all the performers and find yourself a local buddy. (That’s a joke, mother.)

For all you people who are still planning to heading up North, a few tips:

1.    Be nice to all the people ‘flyering’: they are just promoting their shows. They have worked hard and often put a lot of their own money into it.
2.    Pick up an offical Fringe magazine, which contains all the shows and has a very useful map in the front. You can get one from the Box Office on the High Street, which is open from 9am to 9pm.
3.    Book tickets online to avoid disappointment, but still be prepared to queue when you pick them up. So leave yourself enough time to get to a show!
4.    During down time, climb the stairs of Calton Hill, just a ten-minute walk from Waverly train station. The view from the top is fantastic: you can overlook the bustling city streets and see the gorgeous landscape surrounding the city.edinburgh-castle5.  Embrace being a tourist and visit the famous Edinburgh Castle (open daily 9.30-5pm; adults £12; child £6).

Should you have time to go sight-seeing, book an Edinburgh tour where you can hop on and hop off,   and get the most of your time in Scotland. Enjoy!

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Things to do in Edinburgh

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The Homecoming 2009 and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

This is the year to travel to Scotland!  This year Scotland is hosting its first Homecoming.  The Homecoming is taking place to honor the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth.  Don’t know you Robert Burns is?  That’s okay because before my trip to Edinburgh I was not aware of who he was either.  Robert Burns is claimed to be the national poet of Scotland.  Still don’t know what he is famous for?  He is most well known for writing ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the song that is sung to celebrate the end of the year on New Years Eve.  During the Homecoming there are over 200 events taking place to celebrate: Robert Burns, whisky, golf, great Scottish innovations/minds, as well as Scottish ancestry.

Bagpipes being played (Flickr by Tyla'75)

Bagpipes being played (Flickr by Tyla'75)

Edinburgh is also known as a festival hub.  Throughout the year Edinburgh is home to 12 fantastic festivals.  This coming month from August 7- August 31 the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will be taking place.  The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world!  It will have 2,000 different shows ranging from dance, theater, children’s exhibits, musicals, comedy, and various other genres.  These performances will range from professional acts  all the way down to street performances. continue reading

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