How to get cheap tickets at the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe

The Half Price Hut is the place to go in Edinburgh for a bargain during the Fringe (Photo: Shutterstock)
The Half Price Hut is the place to go in Edinburgh for a bargain during the Fringe (Photo: Shutterstock)

If you’re looking to save some money during this year’s Edinburgh Festival season, we have a solution.

A month of non-stop art, culture and entertainment sounds fantastic on paper, but constantly shelling out for International Festival or Fringe performances can get expensive.

Here are some easy ways to save your cash while still seeing the best of what the Festival has to offer.

Book in advance

It might sound obvious, but the spontaneous nature of the Festival (and particularly the Fringe) means that not everyone plans ahead. If you are able book some shows in advance, you’ll probably be able to save some money in the process.

Some acts charge less on certain days of the week - usually quieter week day evenings - and more at the weekends. You’re likely to be able to save a few pounds if you book nice and early before those cheaper performances have sold out.

2 for 1

Some Fringe acts offer a two-for-one deal on tickets for certain performances, meaning you and a friend can split the normal ticket cost between you. Unsurprisingly, these limited performances tend to sell out fast.

Be organised and you might be able to see many of the shows you’re looking forward to at half price.

Group discount

If you can round up at least nine friends or family members, you may be able to take advantage of a group discount when booking Fringe shows.

Not all performances offer a group discount, but it’s worth checking.

Half Price Hut

If you aren’t one for planning ahead, you can still grab a few bargains at the Fringe if you know where to look for them.

When August actually rolls around, the Virgin Money Half Price Hut pops up outside the Scottish National Gallery, at the foot of The Mound. The hut is open daily (usually from around 10am to 9pm) and offers hundreds of half price ticket deals to shows.

Pay what you like

You won’t actually be required to buy a ticket for many shows at the Fringe. Instead, after the show you will be able to donate however much you like (or can) to the performer.

If you enjoyed the performance, it is good etiquette to put something in the bucket, but you can usually spend a lot less than you would on ticketed shows and still schedule in a full day’s entertainment.

Concessions

Pay attention to the concession prices listed on both the International Festival and Fringe websites. As long as you can prove that you are eligible for the discount, you can save a significant amount of money.

Students, under 18s, Young Scot Card holders and European Youth Card holders are eligible for 50 per cent off tickets for selected performances at the International Festival. Senior citizens, arts workers and registered unemployed people can also get 30 per cent off tickets for certain shows.

If you are under the age of 26, you can also pay just £8 on the day for selected Festival performances, which must be bought directly from the ticket office.

Every Fringe show is priced differently, but several offer special family discounts, as well as concessions for students, unemployed people, customers with disabilities, senior citizens and children under 18.