Every August when the world’s largest arts festival hits Edinburgh, the population of the Scottish capital more than doubles. For visitors, that inevitably means that hotels — if not already booked up months in advance — raise their rates accordingly. Take the limited-service budget brand Tunes Hotels. Their Edinburgh property costs £65 ($94) per night in July, a wallet-happy rate that shoots up to £140 ($202) for an Edinburgh Festival Fringe weekend — and you still have to pay extra for towels, WiFi, and even to have your room cleaned. If you’re looking for something a bit more stylish and accommodating, the chic boutique Nira Caledonia will set you back £290 ($417) to £340 ($489) per night between August 16 and 21.
Don’t write off Edinburgh’s best time of year just yet, though. This year, a new project by events producers Timebased will offer a richer and lower-cost alternative to pricey hotels, booked out B&Bs, and cramped hostels. The Great Estate is an intimate cultural camping experience to be held from August 16 through 21 in the bucolic setting of Vogrie Country Park, a 30-minute shuttle trip from Edinburgh’s Old Town.
Early bird tickets are on sale through April 29 at 11:45 p.m. (GMT) and are offered at three tiers: three days and three nights from August 16 to 19 for £115 ($165) per person; three days and three nights from August 19 to 21, also £115 ($165); or the entire six days and six nights from August 16 to 21 for £230 ($330), or $55 per night. Those with more refined tastes can reserve a Bell Tent, which is equipped with twin or double camp beds, bed linens, and lighting and can accommodate up to four guests for three nights at £185 ($266) and for six nights at £370 ($532) — that’s $22 per night, split between four. Those rates include your camping site, city shuttle passes, access to all facilities (including a golf course), as well as a packed program of live music, comedy, dance, theater, street food, art installations, and morning dance sessions with Morning Gloryville. It will be like making another, more exclusive, Fringe your home for the week.