Street art: exploring Edinburgh’s festivals with children

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A street performer outside the Scottish National Gallery

Auld Reekie’ is a fabulous family playground, from its inner-city castle to its gothic Old Town streets, once home to body snatchers Burke and Hare, and trendy Water of Leith, home to The Royal Yacht Britannia, which this spring opens 23 beautifully styled cabins on a ‘boatique’ hotel moored next to the Yacht. Of course, the Scottish capital has always been a big hitter when it comes to festivals, now such a mainstay of the family calendar.

There are multiple festivals in the Scottish capital, but the best-known are the Edinburgh International Festival and, running alongside it from 3 August to 27 August 2018, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The latter is a cornucopia of performances for families. The Fringe prides itself on welcoming anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them.

Fin and Scarlett at the front door of their Airbnb

Consequently, thousands of performers take to hundreds of theatres, some well known like poet John Hegley, others offering free shows for children, such as Superheroes for Kids, where my children discovered the might of Stan Lee and how to wear underpants over trousers correctly.

Just wandering the city, you’ll come across street performers and quirky sights round every corner. Go a bit earlier, during May half-term, and catch the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (26 May to 3 June 2018) with world-class theatre, dance, puppetry and multimedia for young audiences across 10 venues.

The festival also includes a weekend of free pop-up performances and activities at the National Museum of Scotland. If there’s one tip to give you about festival time, it’s book accommodation early. To give children a taste of living like a local, Airbnb is by far your best bet.

I took my kids, 13 and 10, to a gorgeous stone tenement flat on Eyre Crescent, down the mighty Dundas Street from the New Town towards the Firth of Forth, but just a 10-minute stroll from Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare.

It also had the bonus of being round the corner from the Royal Botanic Gardens. The stylish lounge and massive bedrooms were perfect – it was easy to imagine living there and was the perfect antidote to the busy festival streets.

A spacious bedroom at the home from home Airbnb

The lowdown: Edingburgh

Where to stay

Two-bedroom Airbnb flats in Edinburgh cost from around £100 per night, but rise to around £250 per night during festivaltimes.

Find out more about Edinburgh’s festivals.

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