Grace and her boyfriend didn't let the dull weather dampen their spirit at the Edinburgh FringePixabay: luxstorm

Towards the start of this year, my boyfriend and I decided that, in lieu of a traditional summer holiday, we wanted to experience the delights of the Edinburgh Fringe. I’d never been to the Fringe and Matt had never even been to Edinburgh, so you can imagine our excitement. It was an excitement, however, that was soon quelled as we fired up Booking.com and began to trawl through accommodation. There was no way we could afford to go for a week at those prices!

“With every step along the Royal Mile came a hand presenting a flyer for a show or a street performer flaunting their talents for the crowd”

Disappointment was beginning to set in, until Matt mentioned a friend of his from work who had been a few years ago and camped. Camping? In Edinburgh? I was intrigued, and became even more so when scrolling through edinburghfestivalcamping.com: the campsite boasted everything from hot showers to a hair straightening booth, and £15 pp per night to bring your own tent wasn’t to be sniffed at.

So, we went for it and, three months later, stuffed into my mum’s pink Ford KA packed to the brim with ALDI food and half of a Trespass shop, we hurtled up the M6 belting out James Blunt and Adele classics from Spotify’s ‘Easy 00s’ playlist. We made it to the campsite, situated next to the airport, in one piece (thank god for Google maps) and the free beers we were greeted with on arrival set a precedent for the hospitality of the site in general.

The one drawback of the campsite made itself known pretty much straight away, when we discovered that what we thought was a shuttle bus into Edinburgh City was in fact the public bus, which ran reasonably regularly during the day but only every half an hour between 12 - 4am. This meant that at 2am the following morning, first-night-on-holiday pissed (classic Brits), we had to wait a good 20 minutes for the bus, embark on the 30 minute journey, and walk another 20 minutes to the campsite in the cold, arriving back to a leaky tent in which everything was decidedly damp. Happy UK summer holidays!

The following morning, however, everything seemed much brighter as the glorious sunshine dried out all of our belongings, and we had a hearty breakfast in the huge fairy-lit tipi that the campsite provided. We set off into Edinburgh for a day of sightseeing. The castle and the Royal Mile were obvious starting points and a real highlight was a walk up Calton Hill which provided beautiful views of the city and the mountains, and had a nice relaxed atmosphere away from the bustle of the festival.

“Every street, every corner, every restaurant and venue, something was going on. Never have I experienced a city so full of life and art and spirit”

We found that it was nice to take a step back from the crowds occasionally, as we discovered when we embarked on a walk up the Salisbury Crags at sunset one evening. Fireworks shot up from the faraway castle, glittering in the haze of the evening sun setting over the cityscape, and we watched from our position on top of the windy crag, cold but mesmerised. It was magic.

And what to say of the Fringe Festival itself? We were in love. Every street, every corner, every restaurant and venue, something was going on. Edinburgh came alive – never have I experienced a city so full of life and art and spirit. With every step along the Royal Mile came a hand presenting a flyer for a show or a street performer flaunting their talents for the crowd.

We ate and drank (far too much) in the many pop-up watering holes around George Square and the Gilded Balloon and Edinburgh’s many quaint Scottish pubs. We laughed and cried at superb performances all over the city, sampling everything from comedy and theatre to the circus and a puppet show. And we always returned, tired but happy, to our trusty little tent, whose deflated airbed and inescapable dampness we had grown to know and love.

All in all, Edinburgh Fringe, five stars. Thank you for an unforgettable week

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