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crowds during international festival

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crowds during international festival

I'm travelling with my parents to Scotland, and it turns out that we're landing in Edinburgh smack in the middle of the International Festival. Could someone tell me if the crowds are truly overwhelming? -- we are considering staying outside the city to avoid the crowds, but my parents have never been, and this might be their only chance to see the sights of that marvellous city. But at 84 years old (parents, not me!), I need to have a sense of the level of crowds, and the intensity of the partying at night so I can best know how to plan!!!

thanks!

Chantal from Canada

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1. Re: crowds during international festival

It depends where you're staying.

If you're slap bang on the High Street you might find it a bit intense with noise at night. Otherwise, I'd go for it. Edinburgh is a year round destination so you will always get noise and if you're in the old town chances are that you could be woken by hen parties every weekend.

Edinburgh during the Festival is brilliant. There's a great atmosphere and your parents could have the time of their lives. If you already have accommodation booked - lucky you - I'd go for it. If you haven't, staying in the suburbs would be quieter but you have the commute in which could be tiring.

Edinburgh is best seen on foot, particularly during the Festival. It's also hilly and some streets are cobbled so could be tricky to walk on after a long day. I would always advise to stay as centrally as you can so you can pop back for a rest.

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2. Re: crowds during international festival

Absolutely heaving anywhere near a venue / Royal Mile / pub - plus this year Princes Street is undergoing major overhauls so it's even worse than normal

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Royal Mile
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3. Re: crowds during international festival

Reading your post, it seems like you haven't booked your accommodation yet. Good luck with that, during the Festival.

You might have to consider staying in Glasgow or Stirling - both far enough from Edinburgh to avoid the Festival crowds but both less than an hour from Edinburgh by train. You might find it difficult to get anything nearer Edinburgh at that time of year.

To be frank, I'm not sure that your planning has worked out very well, if you've booked your flights without first making sure you'd have somewhere to stay. Can you reschedule your flights for a different time of year?

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Canada
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4. Re: crowds during international festival

Thanks, all, for your input. We do have a place tentatively booked on the outskirts (Borthwick Castle), but I'm trying to get a sense of the crowds themselves. I think we'll stick with our peaceful spot outside the city, and commute in -- but once in, will we be shoulder-to-shoulder? A colleague advised that she was in Edinburgh for the Festival and could barely make it down the street. Exaggeration?

Thanks!!

cmm

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Borthwick Castle
Borthwick Castle
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5. Re: crowds during international festival

no it is not an exaggeration.The Royal Mile gets very busy especially all the way from the Tron Church (Hunter Square) right up to the castle (6-800yards) and when the street performers are on (10am-10pm) it can be very very busy and difficult to move very quickly.

if you can avoid the RoyalMile which is where the main tourist sites are you will find things slightly less manic but busy non the less.

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The Royal Mile Tavern
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6. Re: crowds during international festival

It depends which street! On the Royal mile (Castle at the top and Holyrood palace at the bottom) the top half will be totally crowded as there are lots of free street performers, and this is also the HQ of the Fringe society box office which sells tickets for the whole city. There will also be wqueues aruond teh Castle in teh evenings for the Edinburgh Tattoo one of the main events of the festival which runs for 3 weeks in AUgust.

Around the major venues there will be crowds coming and going from performances which generally last around an hour at a time.

But away from the main venues there is still lots of walking around space in the but the population does swell tremendously just because of the number of visitors and performers concentrated into a short timeframe. This does give the city an exciting atmosphere but if you seriously get claustrophobic about crowds then perhaps the Royal mile area is best avoided.

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7. Re: crowds during international festival

How do you plan to travel into the city from Borthwick Castle? It's outside of a very small village on a minor country road and public transport links are poor.

I presume therefore that you will have a car, in which case I'd recommend driving from Borthwick Castle to the nearest Park and Ride, leave the car there (free parking) and get the bus into the city.

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Borthwick Castle
Borthwick Castle
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Canada
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8. Re: crowds during international festival

Thanks!! we've already sussed out the park-and-ride, which seems to be a perfect compromise: peace in the evenings, but we can venture into the city to experience the excitement of one of the world's premier festivals!!

cmm

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9. Re: crowds during international festival

Go with the advice from 3Nations. Edinburgh people complain about the crowds, but they are localised to the main Fringe venues.

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10. Re: crowds during international festival

Chantal, we went there in August 2007 and I had the same concerns as I don't really like large crowds. We had a great time and the crowds did not bother us at all. We did find restaurants crowded and just ate earlier then usual.

I just booked flights/hotel again for August and had no problems finding a hotel of our preference.

I think the Goodwitch gave very good advice:

"Edinburgh is best seen on foot, particularly during the Festival. It's also hilly and some streets are cobbled so could be tricky to walk on after a long day. I would always advise to stay as centrally as you can so you can pop back for a rest."

It is nice to stay centrally so that you can go back for a rest and then head out again.

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