The Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Kids

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Kids

Most people head to Edinburgh in August for the Fringe Festival: a few weeks when comedians and thespians and every sort of artist take over bars and performance spaces, nooks and crannies. There are vans parked around the city that double as comedy clubs for a crammed half-dozen audience members and huge trucks are stationed on pedestrian thoroughfares to serve as temporary film houses. It’s a joyous, if not overwhelming time to be in Edinburgh. There’s so much to do on any given day, from free shows to street festivals to ticketed events, that you’re faced with the realization that you’re going to miss most of everything. And then you head to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with kids and you really feel like you’re going to miss everything.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Kids


I spent our two days in Edinburgh trying to come to terms with the fact that I would enjoy nothing. It was like going to Woodstock in the summer of ’69, but never getting out of the parking lot. Or like going to the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival with an allergy to apples.


Of course, there are plenty of things to do with kids at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, (albeit not the fringy stuff). On the Royal Mile, there were street performers and whatever it is you call those guys who paint themselves to look silver or gold or yoda-like, and do you the pleasure of slightly animating when you tip them. There were bagpipers and face-painters, street theater and street musicians.


The Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Kids


Along Princes Street, a small carnival had been set up in the strip of park bordering the avenue. Locals and tourists spun round in the carousel and families chipped away on the putting greens, while my daughter ran around on these inflatables that, when compressed by a larger body, sent her flying.


While we tried to find a show appropriate for kids, we were hopeless at it, arriving late for some and showing up at others deep into nap time. But on the walk back to the hotel, we found a great street band comprising a guitarist, a fiddler, and a didgereedoo player. A great crowd formed. My eldest daughter danced on the cobblestone walkway with the wonderful regard of a toddler. The fiddler (in the same boat as us) wore her toddler on her back as she sawed at her instrument, (but only for two songs because the baby started to cry). A drunken reveler enticed the band to play something Irish, so that she could river dance, which she did face-first into the cobblestone with enough force to make a small elephant unconscious.


While I would have enjoyed, perhaps, slipping into a few shows, I truly doubt that I would have found anything at the festival that would have been as heartwarming, entertaining, and memorable as that gathering around the trio, while my toddler and a drunken old lady danced.


The Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Kids

Posted on by Noah Lederman in Baby Voyage

3 Responses to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Kids

  1. Kirsty

    aww such a shame you never got to see more – but glad that you enjoyed your time there! The street performers are so much fun – my husband was roped in to a bed of nails performance a few years ago! I’ve never made it to the Fringe Festival but would love to go 🙂
    Kirsty recently posted…Best luggage for kids – from toddlers to teens!My Profile

  2. ken Miller

    I heard a lot about this and would love to visit next year.
    The image of a lady and a kid above is very heart-touching.

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