August is the best time of year to visit Edinburgh. Not only because temperatures change from sub zero to mildly tolerable, but it’s also the month long arts festival The Edinburgh Fringe. A city filled with comedy, theatre, pop up bars and restaurants all which gives Edinburgh a unique buzz throughout August. Read on for my guide to the UK’s most fabulous festival.
We picked a variety of shows to see all with one common theme – comedy. Previously I’ve seen dance shows, dramatic arts and more serious acts. However this weekend we wanted to laugh as much as possible. Starting out with a family dinner to Faulty Towers. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, this is one hell of a farcical experience, and one that will keep you laughing throughout the two hour duration. The Faulty Towers experience has been running for years and is well worth the £50 a head ticket. Book here.
For stand up solo comedy my top pick is Suzi Ruffell. Laugh out loud from start to finish, Suzi pokes fun at every day situations from her point of view whilst at the same time delivering an important message of awareness to the LGBT community. Suzi performs at 9.45pm at The Pleasance venue. Book here.
Next up is Andrew Lawrence. This is the third time I’ve watched his stand up at the Fringe and wont be the last. Lawrence is a pessimist in life but delivers his negative opinions with a hugely comical spin. On everyday at 8.10pm at Assembly Studios. Book here.
We booked this purely because we wanted to laugh at President Trump’s expense. This is as real as it’s going to be for us ever attending a Trump rally. The impersonation of Donald Trump is 100% perfection, however the comedy act itself isn’t as funny as it could have been. However a few laughs ensued. 4.10pm at Gilded Balloon Teviot. Book here.
A parody of Hamilton musical to the storyline of Lewis Hamilton’s rise to fame and success. I have next to no knowledge of F1 so the plot was a little lost on me. Nevertheless it was an outstanding performance of singing and script writing. If you are a fan of Formula 1 then this is definitely a show not to be missed. 9.30pm at Assembly Studios. Book here.
Dining Al Desko
A comedy about the trials and tribulations of corporate office politics. One thing for sure it made me glad I don’t work in an office. The characters are well played, the lines are witty it’s just a shame it’s on at 10am because the struggle to laugh at that hour is real. Book here.
Monteiths – nestling in to Monteith’s basement bar located on the Royal Mile has now become a little tradition for us each time we visit Edinburgh. Hundreds of whiskey bottles line the walls, copper stag heads coat hangers hang off the wall and comfy tartan chairs add to the cosy experience here. Sip one of their incredible whiskeys whilst wishing away the blustery Edinburgh weather outside. If whiskey isn’t your thing, all their cocktails are so artfully crafted with extravagant homemade liquors and potions.
Assembly Square Gardens & Bristo Square both located a stones throw from each other in the thick of the festival activities. Also both temporary during August. Assembly Gardens at George Square is the perfect spot to grab some food and drink in between shows. It does however get very busy with a one in one out policy at peak times, whereas the stunning pergola flowered roof bar in Bristo Square has access at all times.
Grams – with a surge in demand for clean and lean yet delicious food Grams is bang on trend with their brunch and lunch menu. Poached eggs with pretty much anything and protein pancakes washed down with any plant based milk coffee or protein shake. Check out their website here and their instagram here.
Honeycomb – located in Bruntsfield, or as my boyfriend calls it Brunchfield, Honeycomb is one of many fabulous brunch spots this cute Edinburgh village has to offer. I’m recommending Honeycomb first as they do a hazelnut mocha which is served in a cup laced with Nutella. I don’t think it needs much more recommending than that, but if I must go on their shakshuka baked eggs are rich and delicious, the smoked salmon comes in generous sized portions and the coffee they serve is beautiful.
Fish & Chips you can’t visit Edinburgh and not enjoy an east coast chippy. Reason 1 of many as to why a Scottish chippy is better than any other in the world – they skin the fish. Reason 2, haddock is the usual default option. If we get more localised, an east coast fish and chip experience is actually the best in the world because of CHIPPY SAUCE. A mixture of half brown sauce half vinegar lashed over your chips. It was the one meal I wouldn’t stop talking about until I got it because quite frankly nowhere else in the world compares. If you’re feeling extra brave, then try a deep fried Mars bar too. Actually very delicious, but maybe that’s my Scottish heritage talking. Everyone has their favourite chip shop and mine is Globetrotters, primarily because of its proximity to our family home in Edinburgh, and also because they always humour me with extra sauce.
Baba – Lebanese cuisine in the heart of Edinburgh. Baba is an upmarket restaurant in the newly refurbished Principal Hotel. The food is exquisite with an abundance of flavours in every dish. The menu is designed as small sharing dishes which is great seeing as you’ll want to order everything on the menu. Baba books up so make a reservation or go early for lunch.
Trenchtown Caribbean – a real stumble upon during our stay in Edinburgh. The colours of the building drew us in, then the Caribbean food on the menu confirmed we weren’t giving up our table. The vibe is funky and the food is authentic. Make sure you get the chilli cheese roti. We opted for the jerk chicken burgers too which were extremely satisfying, however if you want to try something a little more local goat curry is always on the menu too. Cash only. Book here.
Six by Nico – a six course tasting menu which changes every six weeks. Which means if you become as hooked as we do on this wonderful food you’ll be returning every few weeks for the next menu change. Only £28 a head and well worth booking in advance. We tried the Mexican menu which served up miniature dishes of nachos, chicken tacos, pork cheek and refried beans, sea bass and a banana chocolate dessert all in a fine dining experience. You can opt for the wine pairings or just drink at your own pace. Book here.
Food Trucks – During the festival an abundance of food trucks pop up around festival venues. Assembly George Square has the most so start here. Try out The Buffalo Truck for a mouthwatering buffalo fried chicken burger, Chick & Pea do incredible halloumi fries and you’ll be spoilt for choice when pizza, dumplings, bagels, and even creme brulée is concerned.
Wellington – a coffee shop which has existed as long as I can remember, yet the first time I ventured in was this month. Without dwelling on the past I really wished id visited before. No time like now to make up for the lost time. Beautiful, mellow coffee is served alongside an array of towering cakes.
Cairngorn – beautiful artisan coffee, epic instagram setting. Feel like I could end the description there and it would be enough for most people to visit, but I’ll continue. On offer is yummy homemade cakes and sandwiches, as well as pretty much any kind of plant based milk if you don’t do regular milk. It’s also where I had the best turmeric latte i’ve ever tried. They have indoor and outdoor seating and are located centrally on castle street.
The Principal Hotel – recently refurbished hotel in the heart of Edinburgh. I discovered this hotel on my last day in Edinburgh and am now trying to justify a trip back to the city ASAP in order to stay in this beautiful hotel. Even if you’re not a guest make sure to visit their beautiful greenhouse cafe for a coffee – dogs welcome.
Air B&B – Edinburgh is one of the best cities to do air B&B in and always works out cheaper than staying in a hotel.
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