Festival fun with kids can be cheap

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

It’s that time of year again folks – the one all Edinburgh natives and workers despise and the rest of the world adores.

Now the Edinburgh Festival is in full swing and you can’t walk up Cockburn Street without a naked juggler handing you a flyer or an out-of-work drama graduate jumping out of a close at you.

I did a column last year moaning about the Edinburgh Festival and the impact it has on people that have to be in the city for purposes other than fun. But I feel it’s worth moaning about again.

My journey to work takes me to Edinburgh Waverley train station then I have to venture up towards the Royal Mile, also known as The Gathering Place of a Million Tourists.

It’s just unbelievable, all times of day the area is packed and my ten minute walk takes double during August.

Of course, it also means that all lunch providers are packed out and getting food and bringing it back to eat within my hour long break becomes like a challenge from The Crystal Maze.

And the shows are so expensive, only the wealthy tourists can afford to go.

I thought about taking Jack and Sophie to see some of the children’s shows but they cost a fortune. To take the three of us to a couple of shows was going to cost £60. Add that to the rail fares, the lunch and juices and it adds up to a very expensive day out.

So I ditched the idea until I got chatted to a guy at work.

Now, this man is truly miserable. He refuses to put into colleagues birthday gifts and doesn’t even bring in biscuits for the office tin.

So I was more than shocked when he told me he takes his kids to the Festival every year on a budget and they have a great day out. He spends time hunting free shows with good reviews and packs a picnic so he doesn’t need to shell out.

So, inspired by my tight co-worker and always keen to find a bargain, I made tuna sandwiches, packed up the kids and headed for Edinburgh.

It turns out under fives are free on the train and I have a season ticket so the journey was free. We took in a puppet show and clown act which went down brilliantly and cost just the donation to the actors to help cover their overheads and lunch was free too.

A whole day out for the tiny price of £6. That is my kind of trip!