International Festival and Fringe 2018: Must See Shows

Every August Edinburgh blooms into a capital of culture and excitement. Check out our top picks for shows to see at this year's fringe.

30 . 07 . 2018

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world. In 2017, 3,398 shows were staged with a total of 53,232 performances across 300 venues. Every year performers and visitors flock to Edinburgh from over 70 countries around the world.

The Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe.

The 2018 Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe is right around the corner and with it the Scottish capital will welcome over 5,000 performers from the world of theatre, dance, comedy, music and more. Whether you’re a seasoned visitor or this is your first trip, planning your time here can be a tad overwhelming. So, we’ve done the hard work for you! Here is our helpful guide to some of this year’s festival highlights happening at venues across the city.

Read more: The Best Beer Gardens in Edinburgh


The Festival Theatre is at the centre of the Edinburgh International Festival. This year, the historic arts venue will host a number of large scale theatre productions including La Cenerentola, a retelling of the classic story of ‘Cinderella’, and Hocus Pocus, a stunning visual spectacle of dance, theatre and visual art.

In the mood for some serious drama? The Traverse Theatre holds an iconic status as the theatrical heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Having launched the careers of many of Scotland’s best known writers, it’s made a name for itself as the home of new writing and experimental theatre. This Edinburgh Fringe, the Traverse will celebrate Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People’ with a series of plays written by 3 up-and-coming Scottish playwrights. Breakfast Plays: Youthquake explores the pressing question of our time: how can the younger generation be a catalyst for political and social change?

© Franco Lannino

© Franco Lannino


Edinburgh Fringe has a bit of a false reputation for catering only to adults. The wide range of events does in fact have something for everyone! The Fringe boasts a varied programme of entertainment that is sure to captivate children of all ages. From magicians to puppet shows, big and small kids alike will find something to enjoy.

If you’re a family with slightly older kids, why not experience one of Edinburgh’s infamously spooky ghost tours? This year sees the introduction of the Fringe Fright Bus, a comedic sightseeing tour around Europe’s most haunted city. From the award-winning Ghost Bus Tours, this hour long theatrical comedy on wheels will make you laugh and jump! Sit back and enjoy as your creepy conductor divulges the grisly details of Edinburgh’s dark and murderous past. Guests at Fountain Court Apartments can even enjoy a 10% discount on the tour!

Following a sell-out season in 2015, the UK’s best-selling author Julia Donaldson returns to Edinburgh with a brand-new show featuring Room on the Broom, The Magic Paintbrush, The Ugly Five, Superworm, The Gruffalo and newly released The Cook and the King. The cast of five bring Julia’s stories to life with songs, puppetry and plenty of help from the audience.


In the world of Scottish stand-up, The Stand Comedy Club is something of an institution. With venues in Edinburgh and Glasgow, it has been a platform for successful comedians such as Kevin Bridges and Frankie Boyle. The Stand truly comes into its own during the Edinburgh Fringe by showcasing some of the best new comedic talent from the UK and overseas.

Just a 5 minute walk from our Harris and Grove Street apartments, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is where you will find a whole host of bigger comedy names such as Craig Hill, Iain Stirling and returning favourite, Daniel Sloss. In addition, the Barnardo’s Big Comedy Benefit will see household names from both  TV and stand-up take the stage in a comedy extravaganza to raise money for charity.

© Beth Chalmers

© Beth Chalmers


Seating over 2,000 people, the Usher Hall is Edinburgh’s premier concert hall and this August, it plays a pivotal role in the Edinburgh International Festival. The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams is a spectacular digital projection show, reflecting on the centenary of the end of the Great War. This free outdoor event will take place in Festival Square, with projections cast onto the historic venue.

Classical music fans need not be disappointed. This year’s festival programme includes concerts from the London Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and The Orchestra of the Americas, an ensemble of young musicians aged 18 – 30 from throughout North and South America.

Celebrating the best in Scottish contemporary music, Light on the Shore is a month long series of events taking place at the newly revamped Leith Theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. Recently described as ‘the best live music venue in Scotland’, the theatre opens the stage this August to some of the biggest names in Scottish music including Mogwai, Julie Fowlis and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Featuring punk, folk, techno and everything in between, this season of concerts will celebrate the remarkable variety and collaborative nature of Scotland’s music, as well as its impact on the rest of the world.

© Pablo Heras-Casado

© Pablo Heras-Casado


For those of you on a budget, visiting the Edinburgh Fringe need not be a costly endeavour. There are plenty of free events taking place across the city including this year’s Free Fringe. Showcasing a diverse line-up of more than 500 acts, the free fringe is a must-see. Each performance can be enjoyed for just a small donation at the door.

If you would prefer to be outdoors, the Grassmarket and the Royal Mile are great options for free entertainment. They are arguably the best spots to soak up some of the festival atmosphere and hopefully some sunshine. With numerous street performers from buskers and jugglers to flamethrowers and flash mobs, there’s always something going on.


Are you planning to visit the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? Why not make it a night away? Book your stay in one of our centrally-located apartments and enjoy your very own Edinburgh Festival Fringe Accommodation today.

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