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Peter Deegan's Edinburgh Festival tips

Here’s some tips from our Editor-in-Chief, Peter Deegan on getting the most from a Edinburgh visit in August.

  • Create an online account with the main festival sites (International, Fringe and Underbelly). You can login and see what shows you’ve booked, make your own list of ‘favorites’ to choose from.
    • Sign up for their email newsletters which can include discounts and show suggestions (albeit biased).
    • The Edinburgh Fringe has a good EdFringe app for Apple and Android.
  • Book online wherever possible. The Box Office queues can be long and sometimes cold & wet too!
  • Double-check your calendar BEFORE booking – both the date/time and location. With so much going on, it’s easy to double-book or book without enough time to get between venues.

Word of Mouth

Choosing from the hundreds of shows can be very difficult. ‘Word of Mouth’ is the best guide to what’s good and what to avoid.

  • Talk to other people as you’re queuing or waiting for shows to start … share your Festival experiences and hear theirs. Some performers will recommend other shows, which can be a good or bad thing.
    • Frankie Boyle suggested a comic last year who I thought was rubbish while Fred MacAulay put me onto Nick Revell which was a delight.

Peter’s Edinburgh 2018 tips

Fred MacAulay can always be depended on for a good show and this year is no different.  He’s teamed up with John Maloney this year for a thoroughly enjoyable hour.

 Zoe Lyons does a well crafted and energetic hour.  Unusually for a festival act, the title ‘Entry Level Human’ is actually used in the show.


  • Leave enough time to reach venues. Getting around Edinburgh can be slow with all the crowds and traffic. On a rainy and crowded day, that 10 minute walk can take a half-hour.   There’s a great bus network but even the buses get stuck getting through the main city area.
  • Shows often end late, usually because earlier events in the same venue ran overtime. Allow for that when calculating time to reach the next event.

Transport and Navigation

  • Google Maps has real-time data for local buses. It’s easy to navigate your way on public transport.
  • If you’re here for a week or more, get an Edinburgh Ridacard then add a one or four week pass. It’s cheaper and more convenient than daily passes.
  • Finding venues can be ‘interesting’. Use your smartphone with mapping and GPS.
    • Location sharing via Google Maps or WhatsApp is incredibly useful in finding/meeting up with people. Look on your device to see where other people are or they can look to see your location.


  • None of the Festivals have gone paperless. Depending on the festival management, you can either print tickets yourself or collect tickets at a venue or ticket office.
  • The Fringe has an excellent system for issuing tickets, there are self-service machines where you insert your credit card and the machine spits out all the online booked tickets linked to that card. When Peter first went to one of those machines, he got over a metre/yard of tickets streaming out – much to his surprise and the others waiting their turn <g>.

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