11 things you have to do before August ends
It seems like only yesterday that Edinburgh was gearing up for its busiest month of the year, but after a busy and fun-packed few weeks we’re already fast-approaching the final weekend. Worried about packing it all in in the limited time that's left? Here’s our ultimate checklist of the things you must do before it’s all over.
1) Visit a new part of the city
With so much of the action concentrated in Edinburgh’s centre, it’s easy not to venture further afield - but the festivals provide a great opportunity to do so, with venues across Edinburgh and in buildings and locations you might otherwise miss. Make sure you find time during the last week to explore a new area and venue you haven’t visited yet. You’ll leave feeling not only like you experienced the magic of the festivals, but the magic of the city too.
2) Seek out the genres you might have missed so far
We all have our favourite genres and performers, and it’s easy to pack August days with them. But the festivals are also about seeking out new experiences and finding new favourites, so now’s the time to give some attention to those you’ve been neglecting. Have you spent all month in the Pleasance Courtyard? Head to an Art Festival exhibition or catch something at the International Festival. Did you travel to Edinburgh to see the Tattoo? Make the most of your trip by scheduling in a Fringe day too.
3) Stimulate your brain…
The fantastic programming at Edinburgh’s festivals doesn’t slow down at all as they approach their conclusion, and there are a whole range of events exploring the day’s prescient issues still to take place. Find your favourite authors in conversation at the ‘Freedom’ themed Book Festival or have your perceptions challenged by dance, theatre or an exhibition; plenty on this year’s programme tackles challenging political issues head-on.
4) …or escape from it all
Of course, while the festivals present plenty of opportunities for intellectual stimulation and debate, sometimes you want to give your brain a rest and just relax for a while. Luckily the Fringe’s comedy programme also stays in full swing throughout the next week, with everything from stand-up and sketch comedy to puppetry and clowning available.
5) Make the most of the food offerings
Days are numbered for the myriad of delicious street food stalls and pop-ups that only exist during the festivals, so now’s the time to indulge that craving you’ve had all month for the interesting looking stall at your favourite venue. Seek out your favourite cuisine or try something new; kick back with some comfort food or jump headfirst into the Edinburgh experience with some traditional Scottish fare.
6) Grab the last chance to see the top shows…
By this point in the festivals, certain shows have garnered significant attention from audiences, reviewers and awards panels alike. Some will go on to great things: take Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, for instance, which won the Best Show award at last year’s Fringe and has since gone on to be a huge Netflix hit. Use this opportunity to take in all the recommendations you’ve been given and see the shows that people will be talking about for years to come.
7) …but make sure you’ve taken some risks too
Of course, part of the fun of the festivals is taking a chance on a great flyer or squeezing into a show just because it’s about to start and the performer asked you nicely. Make sure you’ve taken some time just to wander the streets and see what you find. The beauty of Edinburgh in August is that there are surprises around every corner!
8) Get a memento to take home with you
Edinburgh isn’t short on tourist and gift shops to stock up on souvenirs and presents, but don’t forget that the Book Festival also boasts its own bookshop at the Charlotte Square Gardens site, packed with offerings from those appearing and local publishers. Pop in for a unique memento in the festival spirit.
9) Have one last drink at your favourite pop-up
There’s always time for a quick refreshment stop and Edinburgh in August is packed full of options. Many of these will disappear soon and some will even make way for yet another concept next year, so make the most of those you’ve come to love over the month.
10) Make sure you’ve seen all the sights
Edinburgh is a year-round tourist hotspot for a reason, and the festivals provide a great chance to see all the top sights. Take a morning out for a refreshing walk up Arthur’s Seat, or amble through the city to the Castle or Scott Monument. You can even combine sightseeing with festival-going: plenty of iconic venues host exhibitions or performance spaces, and the Tattoo takes place each night on the famous Castle Esplanade.
11) See out the festivals in style with the Fireworks Concert
One of Edinburgh’s festival highlights doesn’t even take place until the very last minute: the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert which officially closes the International Festival. Book a ticket and head along to the Princes Street Gardens for the best view of the spectacular display, or scout out a good viewing spot elsewhere in the city to watch the fireworks against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. What better way to finish off the most busy and exciting month of the year?
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