'Doing the Edinburgh Festival' can be an expensive business, no doubt about it. Ticket prices have crept steadily upwards over the last few years and booking fees have started to appear, but there are still many ways to save money. Here's a few of them ...
There are over 6,000 completely free shows on the Laughing Horse Free Festival, most of them staged in Edinburgh's bars. And what have you got to lose going to anything that costs nothing? There's a lot of comedy but I'm particularly intrigued by Anyone for a Witch Hunt?, a play described as a cross between Arthur Miller's The Crucible and Father Ted.
The Edinburgh International Festival has a reputation for being particularly pricey. And yes, the top priced ticket for St Petersburg's famed Mariinsky Opera at the Festival Theatre is £72 but - with all due respect to those involved in Anyone for a Witch Hunt? - we're talking world class opera here. Equally you can get a ticket for £16. Particularly good value are the Queen's Hall series of morning concerts where you can get a ticket for £8. Admittedly that's standing in the gallery but where else can you see baritone Bo Skovhus for less than the price of lunch?
There's only a few weeks to go before the Edinburgh International Festival & Edinburgh Festival Fringe start. Already taxis & buses carry adverts with the grinning faces of this year's up-&-coming comedians. Last year the Fringe had almost 2 million ticket sales and this year there are over 2,400 shows so you would be forgiven for thinking that nothing much happens in Edinburgh before festival season kicks off in August.
And while it does feel like the calm before the storm there's still plenty to see.
Somewhat overshadowed by its bigger festival brothers, the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival starts today & runs to 31st July. As ever the programme is an eclectic mix: Courtney Pine, Curtis Stigers, the Robert Cray Band (all playing in the intimate Queens Hall), the unique sound of Swedish electronica merchants the Magnus Öström Band, a resurrection of the Vegas! night club as well as the traditional - and completely free! - Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket on Saturday 23rd.
After a fantastic 2010-11 season at the Royal Lyceum Theatre the Lyceum Youth Theatre get their chance to (literally) take central stage this weekend (22nd & 23rd July) with a double bill Blood Wedding & It Snows. The young company's last show Bassett was flawless and you can see these two plays for a mere £8.50.
Edinburgh isn’t normally the first place of you’d think of when looking to take away your kids for a few days, however there’s more than enough on show to entertain the family.
Normally a popular city breaks destination for people who want to see Edinburgh Castle, watch the Military Tattoo or check out the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh is also filled with things to keep children happy whilst you’re away for a few days, so read on and find out what to do & how much it costs.
For those of us who like to keep fit and enhance our green credentials by cycling while on holiday, there’s a great new aid to help us navigate across the fifty miles or so of Edinburgh’s dedicated cycle paths.
The Bike Station, a city-based charity that recycles bikes, has launched an interactive map which it plans to update regularly using “ambassadors” with access to mobile technology.
Two more tips for kids' shows at the Fringe: Alice in Wonderland from Uncontained Arts and Scamp Theatre's Stick Man Live on Stage. Stick Man is playing in E4 Udderbelly, the upturned purple cow that has taken up residence in Bristo Square.