22nd June, 2015

If you've never been to the Edinburgh Fringe, then it's high time you thought about going! The largest - and, according to many, the best - arts festival in the world takes place every August in the Scottish capital. This year it runs from the 7th to the 31st. We think it's the perfect way to round off our cultural walking holiday, 'In the footsteps of famous writers'. What better end to a fortnight of literary exploration in the countryside than an arts festival in the city?

Tell me more about the Fringe, you say

Ok, well here are some interesting facts...
- The festival has taken place every year since 1947
- Last year, an estimated 2,183,591 tickets were issued for shows from a whopping 51 countries in 299 venues
- This year's programme features over 3,000 events
- Fringe 2015 shows include cabaret and variety; children's shows; comedy; dance; physical theatre and circus; events; exhibitions; music; musicals and opera; spoken word; and theatre

The Fringe is an unjuried festival with no selection committee, and therefore any type of performance may participate. It has therefore often showcased experimental works that might not be invited to a more conservative arts festival.

It has also spawned many notable original shows and helped establish the careers of many writers and performers. In 1960, Alan Bennett, Dudley Moore, Peter Cook and Jonathan Miller performed at the Royal Lyceum theatre in Beyond the Fringe, introducing a new wave of British satire and heralding a change in attitudes towards politicians and the establishment. Ironically, this show was put together by the Edinburgh International Festival as a rebuff to the emerging Fringe. But its title alone helped publicise "the Fringe", especially when it went on to London's West End and New York's Broadway for the next 12 months!

The perfect Fringe warm-up

So, now we've convinced you that the Edinburgh Fringe is awesome, perhaps you'd be interested in warming up for the festival with our 'In the footsteps of famous writers' walking holiday. You can pick and choose which parts of the tour you want to do, or sign up for the whole lot as detailed in the sample itinerary. We've suggested beginning in London and the gentle hamlets of southern England, and then slowly making your way all the way up the country to reach Edinburgh, where the tour concludes. Along the way, you'll have the chance to discover the landscapes, people and places that inspired some of Britain's greatest literary talents, such as Jane Austen (Hampshire), Thomas Hardy (Dorchester), Tolkien, CS Lewis & Lewis Carroll (Oxford), Shakespeare (Stratford), the Bronte sisters (Yorkshire), Beatrix Potter & Wordsworth (Lake District) and Dylan Thomas (Laugharne, Wales). It's the perfect warm-up for the Edinburgh Fringe!