Edinburgh

20th July 2007 at 01:00
Why go?

Summer is the best time to appreciate the wild joy in the city streets. There are festival performers acting, singing, strumming, juggling and fire-eating on every corner watch out particularly for the coveted spot on top of the postbox outside the Fringe Office on the Royal Mile.

Why go now?

The festivals plural. As well as the original Edinburgh International Festival (www.eif.co.uk) there's the Fringe, www.edfringe.com, the Film Festival, the Book Festival... See www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk

Won't it be expensive?

Not if you go for "week zero" of the Fringe, from July 30, when performers are anxious to get anybody to see their show and hand out free tickets. Hang about in the Pleasance Courtyard or on the Royal Mile, or later in the summer visit the Half-Price Hut and the e-ticket tent in Princes Mall.

I'm hungry

Valvona Crolla (0131 556 6066, www.valvonacrolla.com) is a city favourite. As well as the original restaurant and deli on Elm Row, there is the swanky VinCaffe on Multrees Walk next to St Andrew's Square.

How to get there

Don't even think of taking your car into the city the buses are excellent particularly if you buy an all-day ticket for pound;2.50 (child pound;2). Good trains into Edinburgh Waverley make staying as far afield as Glasgow a viable option.

Stay another day?

The International and Fringe Festival programmes have been out for months and with 17,000 performers on the Fringe alone, every floor and bed in town is likely to be booked. However, Festival Flats (01620 810620, www.festivalflats.net) has one-bed flats from pound;350 a week and says it tries "to slot people in as best we can". Festival Beds (0131 225 1101, www.festivalbeds.co.uk) organises BB in private homes (from pound;25pppn). For hotels try the Apex City, Apex International or Apex European (0845 365 0000, www.apexhotels.co.uk) from pound;154 per room per night, based on two sharing.

Need to know more?

www.visitscotland.com citybreaks

Web of the week

www.cheapflights.co.uk

useful for comparing prices, but also has lots of other info, including a "telephone cheat sheet" which gives you directions on how to "speak to a human" in easy steps and a travel checklist for all the things you need to do before you go.

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