The Best and Worst Toilets at the Edinburgh Fringe

In the name of good journalism, our theatre editor dives deep into the muddy waters of public opinion to find out which toilets are worth visiting and when you should hold it in at the 2018 Fringe.

Feature by Amy Taylor | 24 Jul 2018
  • Toilets illustration

If going to the Fringe is a pleasure, then why is finding a decent venue toilet such a pain? It may be easier to get hold of the hottest tickets at the festival than it is to find a nice, clean, secure loo. But these toilets do exist – when we asked our readers to tell us about their best and worst Fringe toilet stories, boy, did they have stories. 

From colourful Fringe toilet tales involving finding used pregnancy tests, fights with men dressed as pandas, drag queens using the toilets as changing rooms (because there weren’t any in the venue), and my favourite, the person who managed a pop-up venue in what turned out to be a popular cottaging toilet - spending a penny at the Fringe is always an experience. But where should you go?

The Best 

According to the survey respondents, some of the Fringe’s best toilets can be found at Gilded Balloon; both Teviot Row House and Rose Theatre, which were praised for being 'clean, bright and fragrant'.

Other fan favourites were Underbelly Cowgate, Traverse, Pleasance Dome and Assembly Rooms, which were described by one person as 'pretty swish'.

The Worst 

Regular visitors to the Fringe may not be surprised to learn that when it comes to toilets, Summerhall’s offerings proved to be very unpopular. For not having enough toilets, to queues, cleanliness, lack of soap and toilet paper, Summerhall's bathrooms were not highly recommended. Runners-up were Assembly George Square, Pleasance Courtyard and The Hive for the same reasons. 

Which Venues Have Gender Neutral toilets?

Everybody needs to use the toilet and everyone has the right to use the one that best suits their gender identity. We asked some of the biggest Fringe venues if they had gender-neutral toilets and here are their responses: 

Yes

Assembly – Club Bar and George Square Gardens have a gender-neutral toilet block.

Gilded Balloon – One gender-neutral toilet at Teviot Row House, outside The Dining Room. Due to council occupancy regulations, Teviot Row House in its current configuration cannot provide additional gender neutral toilets, but EUSA, who manages the building, are committed to changing this.

Fringe Central – Has one gender-neutral toilet.

Greenside – All three of their venues (Greenside @ Infirmary Street, Greenside @ Nicolson Square and Greenside @ Royal Terrace) will have at least one gender-neutral toilet, with the exception of Greenside @ Royal Terrace, as both its toilets are gender neutral.

Institute Francais D’Ecosse – The disabled toilet on the first floor is gender neutral.

Pleasance Courtyard – West ground floor, theatre block basement and first-floor toilets are gender neutral.

Riddle’s Court – All their single occupancy toilets are gender neutral.

Scottish Storytelling Centre – Their disabled toilets are gender neutral, while the rest remain gender defined, “at the moment”.

Sweet Venues Apex Grassmarket –The accessible toilet within the 1st-floor venue complex (the conference suite of the hotel) is gender neutral.

Sweet Venues Novotel Lauriston Place – The accessible toilet in the hotel bar’s toilets is gender neutral.

Summerhall – The majority of their toilets are gender neutral, except the toilets in The Royal Dick bar and the four toilets to the right of the box office are for women only.

Traverse – All toilets are gender neutral.

Underbelly – All venues have gender-neutral toilets and Underbelly encourage patrons to use the toilets that best match their gender identity.

No

Bedlam Theatre – There is no space within the building for gender neutral toilets, but they would like to change this if a planned redevelopment goes ahead.

The Rose Theatre – Gender-neutral toilets are not yet available, but they committed to providing them in the future.

Pleasance Dome

The National Museum of Scotland – Do not currently offer gender-neutral toilets but would “certainly consider” them in the future.

The Space UK

The Stand

The New Town Theatre