Best of Free Edinburgh Fringe for Families

So if you remember back to January, it was my new year’s resolution to go back to Edinburgh Fringe once again this year, except this time (and for the first time ever) do it with the kids in tow.

Me being me, my spreadsheet was out as soon as their brilliant new programme was released online – long before my beloved guide plopped through my letter box. I wasn’t sure what to expect planning a visit with the family. But to my surprise, not only is the programme plentiful, but it goes way beyond simply regurgitating well-loved children’s books to the stage. And what’s more, so much of it is as free as a bird!

Prepare to be amazed! Here’s my pick of free Edinburgh Fringe for families:

Cabaret and Live Music

Dr Frankenstein’s Spooky Disco
Join Dr Frankenstein and friends for a fun-packed hour of dancing and spooking goings-on in this renowned gothic venue. Be warned; the spooky organ music, thunder and lightning effects might prove too scary for some (adults).

Venue 304, Frankenstein Pub, 26 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EN
August 15-29, 12pm for 1hr
Suitable for 2-12

Free Fringe Music
Tempt them in with the promise of the natural history galleries and this celebration of traditional Celtic music and dance from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales will hopefully make them want to stay! See website for details of each of the free daily performances in this magnificent space.

Venue 179, National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, EH1 1JF
August 6-28, 2pm for 40 mins

Suitable for all ages

Magic and Clowning

Bubble Show with Milkshake and Dr Bubble
A brilliant alternative to spending £9 on The Amazing Bubble Man at Udderbelly, this Australian-Romanian duo have every bubble trick imaginable. There’s big, small and sculpted bubbles, the bubble carousel, the square bubble, smoke bubbles, caterpillar bubbles, tightrope bubbles and bubbles in bubbles. Plus with a bit of magic, you might even get your baby in a bubble!

Venue 272, Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, 139 Cowgate, EH1 1JS
August 3-28, 1.15pm for 1hr

Suitable for children age 3-14

Science Magic
Big tick mum and dad, this one’s as good as them doing their homework! Multi award-winning comedian and scientist Dónal Vaughan shows you the secrets of some of his amazing science tricks using everyday items and (if you’re lucky) you can join in too!

Venue 272, Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, 139 Cowgate, EH1 1JS
August 4-28, 11am for 1hr

Suitable for children age 6+


Van Gogh Find Yourself
One of the few free theatrical performances on offer, Walter de Forest’s one-man show is based on the letters of Vincent and Theo and the memoirs of Vincent’s stay in Auvers-sur-Oise. Get closer to the real struggles of Vincent Van Gogh through this interactive performance, which promises every visitor a portrait! You’ll be grinning from ear to…er…

Venue 415, 
Natural Food Kafe 55 Clerk Street, EH8 9JQ
August 6-9, 11-16, 18-23, 25-27, 2.25pm for 55 mins
Suitable for all ages


Andrew Roper: Superheroes for Kids
Proving just about anything can be adapted for a children’s audience, this show started life as a geek-tastic sci-fi stand-up for grown ups that were keen to fill in any knowledge gaps around their favourite comic book heroes. Now it’s the kids’ turn for some superhero fun. Dads: wear your pants on the outside of your trousers, kids: bring your capes and get involved.

Venue 272, Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, 139 Cowgate, EH1 1JS
August 3-28, 1.30pm for 45 mins

Suitable for children age 5-10

David Green: Celebrity Love Letters
You might have to spend the majority of the show explaining who most of the subjects are (unless perhaps Taylor Swift creeps in there) but they are sure to enjoy the tempo of the love songs, poems and letters. David Green’s first solo outing at the Edinburgh Fringe deconstructs the cult of celebrity – from 90s kids TV presenters to Edwina Currie. It should prove the perfect family giggle.

Venue 239, The Street, 2b Picardy Place, EH1 3JT
August 7-14, 17-27, 2.45pm for 50 mins

Suitable for all ages

Improv & Spoken Word

Back in January, I highlighted the woeful lack of family content as part of the London International Mime Festival and Edinburgh is no exception. One consolation is that at least what’s on offer is under the banner of ‘Pay What You Feel’. Written and performed by Claire Cogan with original music by Jonathan Todd, Bump should inspire little ones into thinking about befriending those noises in the night that give you a fright. More sleep all round zzzzz.

Venue 40, Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, EH1 2JL
August 9-13, 1.15pm for 25 mins

Suitable for children age 3-8

The Harry and Chris Show
Having been performing together since their school days, Harry’s Baker’s award-winning words combine with Chris Read’s jazz/pop/funk musical stylings to deliver a show rich in wordplay and songs from their debut EP ‘Whaddyawannado’.

Venue 100, Pilgrim, 3 Robertsons Close, EH1 1LY
August 6-16, 18-27, 1.45pm for 1 hr
Suitable for all ages


The Listen Inn
Award-winning writer and performer Vickie Holden presents three of her favourite stories in 45 minutes storytelling sessions that are packed with fun, music, poetry, lots of laughs and a whole host of characters. A great chance for big and little ones to relax and grab some collective downtime.

Venue 415, Natural Food Kafe 55 Clerk Street, EH8 9JQ
August 6-27, 11.45am for 45 mins
Suitable for children age 0-11

Exhibitions galore!

Far too many to list here and outside of what is going on in the side shows, Edinburgh will be packed to the rafters with free exhibitions across a plethora of venues including mesmerising suspensions by major artists such as Damián Ortega, as well as interesting murals and craft shows.

Are you visiting Edinburgh Fringe with your family?
Tweet me your best picks @pippye and maybe we could tweet up!