With the summer holidays drawing to a close soon, we decided to pack our bags and arrange one last trip to visit Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. Luckily for us parents over the last few years there’s been a huge increase in family friendly events and acts, guaranteeing an awesome kids Fringe experience. In fact, we found there are over 150 children’s shows taking place throughout August. Whether you’re curious about visiting now or in the future, here’s why we think The Fringe is a must visit for the whole family!
- The Shows (of course!)The Fringe is famous for the amount of shows it has to offer and there’s a great lineup for kids of all ages! You’ll find comedies, magic, musicals, storytelling, little discos, crafting… you name it, they have it! There’s a range of cultural acts spanning from Germany to Japan giving children a taste of what the world has to offer. We highly recommend booking some shows in advance, as they can be very popular. Our favourite this year has to be The Amazing Bubble Man!
- Free EntertainmentWhilst it’s good to have a couple of shows pre-booked, the kids Fringe experience wouldn’t be complete without the huge range of free entertainment available! The BBC has its own venue with free daily activities for kids to join in. Or take a stroll down The Royal Mile and you’ll find a variety of talented street acts to watch. Not to mention there’s a host of free shows you can pre-book that are part of the specially formed Free Festival to help make The Fringe accessible to all no matter what your budget.
- Tasty FoodBesides Edinburgh’s delicious cafes and restaurants, there are some excellent pop-up street food stalls around The Fringe that you can easily visit for lunches & snacks on the go. This includes inside The Underbelly, which is where many of the younger shows take place. It has plenty of sheltered and outdoor seating so you’re covered whatever the weather. We’d highly recommend the fish tacos!
- Great Way To Explore The CityWith shows being hosted across the city, it’s worth giving yourself plenty of time to enjoy taking in different spots and areas. Edinburgh is full of beautiful cobblestoned streets, Edwardian architecture and hidden gems, one of our favourites being Diagon House (purveyors of all things Harry Potter) and for delicious cupcakes and hot chocolates, both tucked away on The Royal Mile!
- Interrupting your kids’ Fringe experience to introduce…In between shows, there’s a number of attractions you can stop by in town to escape the busy streets. We highly recommend the National Museum of Scotland, which is light and airy with loads to see from a world gallery of animals to steam trains. Other places not to miss are Princes Street Gardens and Camera Obscura on the Royal Mile, whilst a short walk away on Holyrood Road you will find the 5-star visitor attraction, Dynamic Earth.
- Encouraging Kids’ CreativityThe Fringe is about embracing creativity in all its forms and never fails to spark the imagination of all those who attend. Not only does it inspire young people, but it also promotes diversity and the importance of creative learning. It’s a place where kids are free to be kids, to be curious, build the courage to participate in shows and most importantly have fun!
- It’s Baby Friendly!Kids Fringe? Nah, how about Baby Fringe! It’s not often that you’ll find an event that caters to ages 0+! There’s lots for babies to participate in from sensory activities and alphabet musicals, to baby opera shows and outdoor play, so the youngest members of the family needn’t worry about missing out on any of the fun!
- There’s Also A Book Festival!Located in Charlotte Square Gardens, the Edinburgh International Book Festival runs from mid-August and has plenty on offer for young families. There are stories, rhymes and songs for young children to comic books and debates on the latest must reads for teens. With its convenient location, it’s highly worth checking out (don’t forget you’ll need to book tickets for this event).
Speaking of books, don’t miss The Fringe’s!
Meeting at Greyfriars Bobby, kids and adults alike will love following a robed, guided tour of the magical locations that inspired characters and scenes from the famous Harry Potter series. You’ll stop by The Elephant House cafe, where the books were partially written as well as Hogwarts itself (based on George Herriot’s School).
- The Edinburgh Tattoo Set next to Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is another visual highlight that takes place during The Fringe Festival. The show includes bagpipes, highland dancers, marching bands, dancing, and much more. This is then followed by a short but wonderful fireworks display! The show takes place in the evening and is free of charge for children under 3 (being an outdoor event we recommend you wrap up warm and bring ear defenders for little ears.)
Have you ever been to Edinburgh Fringe Festival with kids? Let us know your tips in a comment below. Time to start planning a day out with the kids in Edinburgh or look for great family-friendly festivals near you.