Itinerary Location: Caledonian Road | Duration: 6 Hours | Approximate Cost: £25pp
The Edinburgh Fringe is a hedonistic cultural melting-pot which, if you make the pilgrimage, will nourish your soul for the rest of the year and beyond.
Counterpoint: It’s also miles away, and wildly expensive.
However – you can live the Edinburgh dream here in London, and you should. Here’s how.
➊ CARAVAN COFFEE | 3:30pm
Depending on your level of commitment to recreating the authentic Fringe experience, it’s possible you’ll have been drinking the night before. Perhaps you’re just feeling daunted by the marathon of dramatic viewing that lies ahead of you. Either way, you’ll need caffeine, and thankfully your destination today is a quiet corner of Islington which has recently radically overhauled its coffee offering.
The Caravan Roastery HQ has the décor and atmosphere of a laboratory (or an as-yet undiscovered corporate department from Season 2 of Severance) but the coffee is sensational, the sandwiches are top-notch, and the pastries are revoltingly indulgent. Take a pew overlooking the roastery in action, and grab a bag of fresh beans before you head next door. By paying for them, obviously.
➋ PLEASANCE THEATRE | 4:30pm
One of the most beloved and established venues in Edinburgh, the Pleasance also maintains a London outpost – and it’s a hidden gem.
When Covid hit, the Pleasance totally revamped their (whisper it; slightly unloved) main space, and transformed it into a beautiful venue with cabaret-style seating, and – in what appears to be a London first – table service for both food and drinks! There are also two brilliantly-programmed studio spaces, and a lively bar (serviced by deliveries from Yard Sale Pizza).
Between now and August you can catch the country’s best comedians preparing for the biggest arts festival in the world; there are shows from a plethora of brilliant stand-ups including Jack Barry, Colin Hoult, Sophie Duker – as well as a great selection of theatre, cabaret and new writing. Each gig costs a fiver, and they run a 3 shows for £12 deal. So slip into an afternoon performance, and enjoy.
➌ CHIPPY ON THE CORNER | 6:30pm
You’ve seen some great theatre or comedy (perhaps you’ve taken a punt on someone you’ve never heard of? Ten points!). Now it’s time to ingest some fried matter, before the drinking begins in earnest. Head right out of the theatre, and up to the crossroads.
The Chippy on the Corner does exactly what it says on the large green-and-white sign, and it does it extremely well. Line your stomach and gather your strength with the help of a classic cod & chips – and why not push the boat out with some grilled Padrón peppers, or channel the spirit of Edinburgh with a portion of battered halloumi (heads up: everything here is fried in groundnut oil, so allergy sufferers should steer clear).
And then? It’s back to the Pleasance for the evening show. That’s right. You’re in Edinburgh, now (sort of).
So grab a drink, nip into a show, order that Yard Sale Pizza directly to your table. It’s just like the Fringe, but you can get the tube home, and you’re 95% less likely to get rained on.
➊ Caravan Coffee | Lambworks, North Road, N7 9DP
➋ Pleasance Theatre | Pleasance, Carpenters Mews, North Road, N7 9EF | See what’s on
➌ Chippy on the Corner | 480 Caledonian Rd, N7 9RP
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