Unless you’re a crazy super fan of all things comedy and performance art then the Edinburgh Fringe is really quite a challenge. In 2013 I went up to Edinburgh to share an hour show with another comedian and it was a disaster. Not because no one came (because no one really did), but because it was stupidly busy. You couldn’t move in the Royal Mile without a flyer being thrusted in your face. Everyone was so happy and jolly, they would dance and perform in the street like something out of FAME. No one seemed to be struggling with any sort of low self esteem (though I’m sure they were), and I couldn’t wait to come home.
That said, it can be quite fun and there are some amazing acts who go up to Edinburgh every year to do a show. If you can get over the flyers and drama students everywhere then the Fringe can be really good. During my show I made about £7 and paid around £200 to put on the show. When I went back to visit the venue that I had performed in (3 years later) I found a £10 note outside. I was fucking thrilled to bits. It was more than I had made from my entire Edinburgh run, the whole 6 days. So to celebrate I went to buy an expensive notebook for future comedy writing and scribbles.
Edinburgh Castle & Royal Tattoo
When I walked up the Royal Mile I saw a Sikh gentleman sitting on a bench holding a homemade sign that said “£80 tattoo”. Well at first I thought that was quite reasonable for a tattoo but how did he know what I wanted to have done? I could’ve wanted my entire back covered in a Star Wars tattoo, and that would obviously cost more than £80. Three days later when I heard cannons and some very loud bag pipes I realised that it was for the Royal Tattoo.
I never did see that Sikh gentleman again so I Googled the tickets and they were £200+. So if you’re planning on going to the Royal Tattoo then look out for a Sikh man – or buy your tickets well in advance. If you can’t get tickets then you still have to check out Edinburgh Castle, it’s bloody lovely. It dominates the city’s skyline due to it being on a huge rock. Inside is just as spectacular as the outside and so is the view from the castle walls. Though JK has never confirmed it, Edinburgh Castle was probably an inspiration for Hogwarts.
The Grassmarket is the bustling, colourful and exciting part of Edinburgh. With a ton of vibrant bars and restaurants this part of the city is definitely worth a good visit. It was originally a market place for horses and cattle but you won’t see any of them here now. What you will see are streets full of charm and Greyfriars Bobby. Bobby is a bronze skye terrier statue with the same Category A listing as the castle. The little fluffy is very famous in the city after he pined at his owner’s grave for many years after his death.
The market is also home to an abundance of independent boutique shops and The Elephant House. This ordinary cafe has extraordinary views of Edinburgh Castle and oh yeah, JK Rowling wrote some of the early Harry Potter books in here.
If you want to see Edinburgh at its finest then get your fat arse up the big bloody hill to Arthur’s seat. It’s not that difficult to climb as I did it in converse and shorts. So if you’re not a climber it’s not an issue. Up at the main peak of these hills you get amazing views of the city and beyond. It’s also really bloody windy.
Edinburgh is my favourite place in the world. It’s so beautiful, interesting, fun and, unlike London, it has character and a real university feel to it – if that makes sense?
I can’t wait to go back. The last time we left I cried and Suz laughed at me.