Seven things to do at Edinburgh Fringe Festival apart from seeing a show

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you know?

© Chris Scott

Edinburgh Fringe Festival is just around the corner and promises to be another fantastic year. However, you might want to expand your horizons and explore the great Scottish capital a little deeper. WhatsOnStage is on hand to help you out.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
© Patrick Franzis/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Visit Edinburgh Book Fest

You'd be mistaken if you thought the Fringe and EIF were the only summer festivals in Edinburgh; since 1983 the Edinburgh International Book Festival has brought authors from all over the world to the Scottish capital. This year, over 800 authors will be attending signings, launches and readings. For more information, click here.

Grab something to eat

Trying to do the Fringe on a budget can be pretty daunting, but you won't need to worry about feeding yourself if you find a few hidden gems. Mosque Kitchen (11.30am to 10pm) provides generous portions of brilliant food for a great price, and there are plenty more for you to explore, too. Make sure you check TripAdvisor before you go.

The view from Arthur's Seat
The view from Arthur's Seat
© Jagrap (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Walk up Arthur's Seat

If you fancy burning off some of the calories, attempt the walk up Arthur's Seat. Rising 250 metres over the city, it's a great chance to see the incredible view of Edinburgh from above, and a go-to tourist attraction all-year round.

See the Pandas at Edinburgh Zoo

They say you should never work with children or animals, but there's nothing wrong with using the animals to entertain the kids. Edinburgh Zoo is home to the famous Edinburgh Pandas. (If you can't make it to Edinburgh, you can keep up with the pandas with this live webcam.)


Sample the Whisky

Whatever tipple tickles your fancy, it will be hard to escape Scotland without trying the world famous Scotch. So, why not try lots of them? Take a tour of the Scotch Whisky Experience and enjoy a taste of the world's largest whisky collection (or Irn Bru for under-18s).


Take in some history at Edinburgh Castle

Take in some history with your stay and visit the historical Edinburgh Castle. Experience the One O'Clock Gun, explore the Military Prison, and keep an eye out for events such as An Audience with Mary Queen of Scots.

Fun Fact: The first Ordnance Survey map was drawn up in the Castle in 1747 #themoreyouknow.


Do some shopping at Boxsmall

The Fringe is full of markets, but Boxsmall, on Festival Square, is a contemporary, family-friendly market designed to showcase traditional and modern Scottish food. There's also craft stalls, mini-performances for the kids, and live musical performances throughout the day. Worth a visit if the weather behaves itself.

Read all our Edinburgh Festival coverage