Edinburgh Fringe: Tickets, times and when to go

Feature | 07 Jul 2015

When is the Edinburgh Fringe?
The 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe officially begins on Friday 7 August, and runs until Monday 31 August. However, a wide range of shows will hold preview performances on the days ahead of the festival – this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe previews run from 5-6 August.
This year’s Edinburgh Fringe coincides with the Edinburgh International Festival, also running from 7-31 August, while the Edinburgh Art Festival (30 Jul-30 Aug) and Edinburgh International Book Festival (15-31 Aug) are also ongoing in the city during the month.

What is in the Edinburgh Fringe programme?
This year’s Edinburgh Fringe programme features over 3,300 productions across theatre, comedy, music and cabaret. The Edinburgh Fringe programme for 2015 was released in June – read an online version of the programme here, or pick up a physical copy from venues across Edinburgh and beyond.

How can you get tickets for the Edinburgh Fringe?
Tickets for the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe are on sale now, with the central Fringe box office selling tickets for every show at the festival. The Fringe box office is open every day from now until the festival starts in August, although opening times vary, and the online box office is open 24 hours a day with ticket pick-up points at The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Airport amongst others.

The Edinburgh Fringe box office sells 25% of the tickets for each show at the festival and individual venues sell the remainder themselves, so tickets for shows ‘sold out’ at the main box office may still be available if you go direct. Many of the larger venues operate joint ticket systems allowing tickets for multiple Fringe venues to be picked up at the same time – the ‘Big Four’ Fringe venues of Assembly, Pleasance, Underbelly and Gilded Balloon, and The Stand and the Assembly Rooms are just two of the groups who combine together to sell Fringe tickets.

When should you go to the Edinburgh Fringe?
Weekends at the Edinburgh Fringe can be incredibly busy, and pretty expensive – accommodation costs skyrocket, tickets for shows tend to be pricier from Friday to Sunday than in the week, while weekend performances from big name comedians such as Stewart Lee and David O’Doherty tend to sell out well in advance of the actual festival itself. Visiting during the week can offer a better chance of seeing your chosen shows, as well as avoiding some of the Edinburgh crowds and saving some cash in the process.

One good time to go to the Edinburgh Fringe is right at the start – the two days of previews on 5-6 August offer the chance to see shows for around half their normal ticket price, while the first two weekdays of the Edinburgh Fringe proper (10 & 11 August) see many shows offering two-for-one deals on tickets. Another thing to remember about the Edinburgh Fringe is that it is a 24 hour festival, and late-night shows at venues like The Stand, Pleasance Courtyard and Assembly George Square Gardens are an opportunity to see multiple acts in one go, while also making the absolute most of your time at the festival.

Where should you go at the Edinburgh Fringe?
While Edinburgh Fringe venues are spread across the city, there are a number of key hubs for activity during August. One such hub is the area around George Square – the gardens and Edinburgh University buildings are home to Assembly, while the nearby Teviot Row House and Potterrow are the sites of Gilded Balloon and Pleasance Dome respectively. There are a whole host of bars, restaurants and cafes nearby, and our venue and event listings can help you find what you’re looking for during the Edinburgh Fringe, be it a show, a sandwich, or something else entirely.

At the other side of Edinburgh Castle, George Street is another key festival thoroughfare, connecting the Charlotte Square Gardens home of the Edinburgh International Book Festival to the venues and bars of St Andrew Square Gardens, via The Assembly Rooms. Check our listings and venue guides to find out what’s on and where to go during the Fringe. The Meadows are also a good place to go during the Edinburgh Fringe, even if the Edinburgh weather doesn’t cooperate. Underbelly’s circus programme will take place in two big tops at The Meadows, while the Summerhall arts complex at the edge of the park is a year-round site for music and art in Edinburgh, playing host to a wide range of shows during August.

More from The Skinny:

Read our Edinburgh Fringe review archive – Stewart Lee, Tony Law, Bridget Christie and more

The Skinny's picks from the 2015 Edinburgh Festivals

Fringe Food - our guides to the best food and drink near some of the Fringe's main venues
• Pubs, cafes & restaurants near The Stand
• Bars, on-the-go options and coffee shops near Summerhall
• Places to eat and drink near Gilded Balloon and Pleasance Dome