According to the Guinness Book of Records, Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival is the largest in the world, and for anyone who has been, it has also been voted the best. For three weeks every August, the city plays host to over six hundred companies who put on a vast range of events for their audience. You will find every art form that you can possibly think of, from theatre and comedy to music and magic. There are up to one thousand shows per day in over two hundred venues so you are guaranteed to find something you like, however obscure your tastes. Most of the shows will not cost you any more than £5 but a large number are free. One thing you do need to remember is that while the festival is on, the population of Edinburgh doubles so you need to book accommodation well in advance. Other festivals in the city during the summer months include the Jazz Festival which takes place from July 30th to August 8th, the Military Tatoo from August 6th to 28th and the International Film Festival from August 15th to 29th.
While there are doubts about whether this festival is going to take place this year are not, there is every possibility that it will. It was cancelled last year too and still took place so keep your fingers crossed. Glastonbury Festival of Comtemporary Performing Arts is now the UK's largest music festival. It takes place in seven hundred acres of open land in Somerset and the atmosphere is amazing. Over one hundred thousand people attended last year with twenty thousand staff making sure everything runs smoothly. You will get to see music, theatre, circus and cabaret as well as over seven hundred stalls offering clothes, craft and food. With over one thousand performances in three days, if you stumble across something you don’t like, all you have to do is move on to the next area. And, all the proceeds go to charity which should make you feel even better about attending. If it does go ahead it will be at the end of June.
Cats, New London Theatre, Drury Lane, London
If you are going to spend some time in London and have a little cash to spare, then you have to get to West End show. And, the one that we recommend is the longest running musical in the world – Andrew Lloyd Webbers’s Cats. This particular show was responsible for the introduction of long term musical shows both in the UK and across the Atlantic in the States. The New London version is a unique one and takes place in a theatre that looks like it was purpose built, incidentally it wasn’t. It will be a memorable experience and one that you can take on your travels with you.
This is the name that Scots give to the New Year and it is now such a huge event in the country, that it even overshadows Christmas for some people. Ideally, Scotland's capital is where you should be if you want to be at the centre of the celebrations but wherever you are you will get swept up in the mood. The Hogmanay street parties are now lasting up to three days making it the biggest winter celebration on the continent. It is actually regarded as a festival for the Scottish and visitors where there’s bands, dances and special shows from all over the world taking place for those of you brave enough to beat the crowds. Because of overcrowding in recent years, entry to the city centres is now limited to those who have advance tickets.
This is another music festival which has gone from strength to strength in recent years. It’s completely contained in one arena apart from the campsite which is located outside the main area. While it does take place over three days, there are also one-day tickets for those of you who can’t fit it into your busy schedule, or those of you who just are not up to three days of constant partying. As well as music, you can visit the comedy tent featuring some of the UK’s most popular up and coming comedians, or wander through the multitude of stalls selling all types of cheap and cheerful paraphernalia. It will take place from the 25th to the 27th August, 2001.