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Edinburgh Fringe 2019: Your guide to this year's festival of comedy, cabaret and theatre

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The Edinburgh Fringe is one of the cultural highlights of the year – here’s where to head in 2019 to get the best of the fest. 

The Edinburgh Fringe is perfect for fans of comedy, cabaret, theatre, music or theatre – so everyone, in short.

A yearly highlight in our cultural calendar, the Fringe has produced some of the funniest jokes, brightest comedians and, let’s be honest, most legendary hangovers of the last few years.

Not sure where to start? Here’s our guide to what to see and where to go at this year’s Fringe.

What is the Edinburgh Fringe?

The Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest art festival – last year, the festival was nearly a month long and featured more than 55,000 performances of nearly 4000 different shows.

Established in the 1940s, the Fringe was intended as an alternative to the more traditional Edinburgh Festival – which, unlike the Fringe, specifically selects performers. At the Fringe, anyone can perform, meaning you get a real mish-mash of different voices, specialities and humours. 

There’s theatre, comedy, spoken word, poetry, performance art, music, dance, opera, circus… pretty much anything creative goes. 

When is the Edinburgh Fringe 2019?

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year will run from 02 – 26 August 2019.

When will the full programme be released?

The full Edinburgh Fringe schedule will be released on June 5th. 

The Edinburgh Comedy Award

One of the best known elements of the Fringe is the Edinburgh Comedy Award – which you might know as the Perrier Award.

The prize is awarded to the best show of the festival and has been won by some pretty impressive comedy luminaries.

The very first prize, for example, was won by the Cambridge Footlights – a troupe that at the time included  Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie and Tony Slattery. 

And tv channel Dave created the festival’s ‘Joke of the Year’ prize, rewarding such groaners as “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change”. Dad jokes ahoy! 

Where can I buy tickets for the Edinburgh Festival? 

Edinburgh Fringe tickets are being rolled out across the year – you can get them here

Are there any free events at the Edinburgh Fringe?

Tonnes! There are plenty of free events, and loads that are only a few pounds – so visiting doesn’t have to break the bank. There are even shows on the street – no money required. 

What do in Edinburgh

The Fringe runs for a month – so you’ve got plenty of time to explore the city, too. It’s been voted the most beautiful city in the UK, too, so it’s scenic too. 

There are boutiques to explore, castles to get lost in, eerie underground vaults to scare yourself silly in… and some of Scotland’s most beautiful and wild countryside is only a drive or train ride away if you want to get away. 

Want more tips? Here’s our guide to some of the best things to do in Edinburgh.

Visiting Edinburgh Festival for the first time? This is how to plan your trip

Edinburgh is pretty accessible, wherever you’re coming from. 

As you probably know, Scotland boasts some of the UK’s most scenic landscapes – so if you’re driving, you have a real treat in store. If you live on the East Coast, you can get there via the A1, and if you live in the West you can get there via the M6. 

It’s also just four hours away from King’s Cross, too, if you live in the capital – and the city’s main station is positiond in the very middle of the city, so you can hop off your train and into the fracas straight away. Sleeper trains are also available for those who want to take a slower, more scenic route.

For those who don’t mind a long journey, there’s also the coach. Coaches go to the city from all over the UK. You can even get one from Southampton if you don’t mind a fourteen hour trip – so we only recommend this to anyone who can happily sleep on a moving coach! 

If you’re short on time, though, or you simply don’t fancy a long drive, many major UK airports offer flights to Edinburgh too. Prices start at £23 – so you won’t be breaking the bank, either. 

What to see at the Edinburgh Fringe 

Shows from Al Murray, Adam Kay, Henning Wehn, Juliette Burton and more have already been announced – and more are to come. 

With thousands of shows to pick from, it can be tough to know what to go for. 

The Edinburgh Fringe Society have got your back, though. They release a programme every year to help you decide what to go for, as well as defeating the not inconsequential challenge of working out timings so you can make the most of your trip to the Fringe.

As we know, this year’s programme will be released in June – so check back here for more info on which shows you can’t miss. 

Images: David Monteith-Hodge