Edinburgh Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe named Britain’s top experience

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been named as the UK’s top experience by Lonely Planet.

Lonely Planet has ranked the top 500 unmissable experiences and hidden gems across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands for the first time, in the ultimate UK travel hitlist

The Fringe has today (Tuesday) been named the UK’s top experience by leading travel media company, Lonely Planet, in a new ranked list of the 500 most memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling experiences to be had across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

The UK’s four constituent countries and countless small islands comprise a powerhouse of history, culture and intrigue. Now for the first time, Lonely Planet’s community of travel experts have chosen the best sights and experiences and ranked them in order of their brilliance in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist.

Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe staked its claim to the top spot because ‘the Fringe floods the city with art and nowhere beats it for spectacle or scale…

‘There is theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, opera, music and spoken word, and whatever the time of day, an acrobat, trapeze artist, contortionist or tried-and-tested bagpiping busker will be pleased to entertain you… Simply step through the looking glass and prepare to be dazzled by the greatest show of arts and culture on Earth.’

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: ‘We are enormously proud to be named the UK’s top experience in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist, a true testament to the creativity, energy and imagination that Fringe artists and audiences bring to Edinburgh each year.

‘What makes the Fringe so special is that everyone with a story to tell is welcome, and with a record 63 countries represented on stage this year and nearly 1,000 shows from Scotland, this year’s festival is playing host to a truly unique combination of homegrown and international talent. The Fringe is a real celebration of Edinburgh and the people that make it.’

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is followed by London’s British Museum – ‘the envy of the world’ – at number two and ‘timeless…and unrepeatable’ Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland at number three.

It is joined by two other Scottish entries in the top 20: Glencoe in 17th place and Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh in 19th. In total, 67 Scottish entries made the list, including Skara Brae at 22, Edinburgh’s Royal Mile at 24, the North Coast 500 at 37, the Fairy Pools at 41 and spending a night on ice in Cairngorms National Park at 43.

Lonely Planet’s VP of Experience, Tom Hall, said: ‘Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist brings together the UK’s most compelling sights and experiences, ranging from world-class museums and giant cathedrals to rollicking festivals, inky lochs and tiny pubs. We’re thrilled to name the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the UK’s top experience – it’s one of the most exciting and diverse destinations on the planet.’


Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said of Scotland’s entries: ‘Scotland is home to many amazing experiences so it’s no surprise they feature prominently in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist. They are year-round activities that traverse the length and breadth of the country and we hope the guide will prove a catalyst for visitors to get out and explore the regions and create unique and thrilling experiences of their own.

‘Tourism is vital to the Scottish economy, reaching every corner of the country, creating jobs and bringing economic and social change. Accolades like this highlight Scotland as a world-class destination however it is imperative that we don’t become complacent. We need to continue to create must-see experiences, events and attractions that continue to inspire travellers and keep up with the ever-changing demands of visitors.’

To create Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist, the Lonely Planet team compiled every highlight from the Lonely Planet guidebooks to Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Every sight, attraction and experience that had caught their writers’ attention over the years were included. Everyone in Lonely Planet’s London office, plus 20 leading figures in the country’s travel sector, were then asked to reveal their favourite spots and experiences before the voting began. Everybody in Lonely Planet’s UK community was asked to vote for their top 20 experiences. With hundreds of votes cast, Lonely Planet ended up with a score for each of the 500 experiences in the book.