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48 hours at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Scotland

  

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Image

Street entertainers perform on the Royal Mile to promote their shows during in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on August 24, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland. This 65th Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festivals in the world, it was established as an alternative to the International Festival also held in August..

  

 From Reuters:

EDINBURGH — The Edinburgh Festival Fringe offers everything from street buskers and mimes to top-class singers, actors, comedians and cabaret stars at hundreds of venues around the Scottish capital and that's in addition to the international book, art, jazz festivals and the Military Tattoo, which are all part of the cultural cornucopia that is Edinburgh in August.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge provide some helpful hints for enjoying 48 hours of crowds, comedy, theater, dance and art on the hilly, cobblestoned streets.

First Day

6 p.m. Book into your hotel and then hit the streets, probably after arriving at Edinburgh Waverley train station, which lies at the center of the city under the brooding shadow of Edinburgh Castle. Top tip: You can order a Fringe program before you go, online at www.edfringe.com.

The Fringe website also advises you where and how to book tickets, so it is well worth consulting before you come to Edinburgh - and after you arrive.

 

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Street entertainers perform on the Royal Mile to promote their shows during in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on August 24, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Wander over to the Royal Mile and take in the sights and sounds in a city where more than 21,000 performers are ready to entertain you with over 2,500 shows.

One of the great spectacles of the Festival is the Military Tattoo, which caters for 220,000 spectators over its three-week run to August 27.

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

A Street entertainer lays down on a bed of nails during a performance on the Royal Mile to promote their shows during in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on August 24, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Tattoo, with over 1,000 military and civilian performers, is sold out early in the year. But you can try your luck at the ticket office 33-34 Market Street, just round the corner from Waverley Station - or you can check at your hotel desk if any are available.

8 p.m. Head for some food and drink. Try the Royal McGregor pub at the heart of the Royal Mile. (www.royalmcgregor.co.uk). The pub is run by the McGregor family and boasts of its links to the MacGregor clan. Have a pint of local ale to slake your thirst and order from the traditional and modern food menu.

 

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Street entertainers perform on the Royal Mile to promote their shows during in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on August 24, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

 

10 p.m. Head to bed because Saturday will be a long slog running from show to show and seeing the sights. Or if you're feeling like making it more of a night out head off the Royal Mile. One Edinburgh treat is The Royal Oak pub at 1 Infirmary Street (www.royal-oak-folk.com), a focal point for traditional folk musicians.

Second Day

10 a.m. Start your day with a hearty breakfast at any of the many pubs and restaurants catering for hungry festival-goers. Wander along the Royal Mile to take in the sights and sounds of everything from buskers to acrobats, mimes, magicians and dozens of other eye-catching shows along the street cut off to traffic for the festivities. Small troupes promoting themselves also line the street begging for you to come to their shows, people in pajamas, funny hats, colored hair, dressed as anything from giant poppies to crazy animals will clamor for your attention and there is an army of young women all toting placards and handing out flyers. Drink it in.

 

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Street entertainers perform on the Royal Mile to promote their shows during in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on August 24, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

 

The main official Fringe venues are clustered in the shadow of Edinburgh University's McEwen Hall, where giant tents have been erected on open ground. The box offices for the Assembly Rooms, Pleasance and Gilded Balloon are to be found there. The offices of the Underbelly is on the Cowgate leading into the Grass Market under the southern ramparts of the Castle.

Take time to visit the Castle itself (www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk). Perched on an extinct volcano it is classed as a World Heritage Site. A fortress of some kind has stood here since 600 A.D. and it is still an active military center. Continue reading.

 

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Street entertainers perform on the Royal Mile to promote their shows during in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on August 24, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland.