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The Fringe's Own Guide Book

05/08/2013 17:50 BST | Updated 05/10/2013 10:12 BST

This month I may well buy myself a lilo, preferably one from a pound shop. Why, you ask? It's considered by one person at least to be one of the top things to do in Edinburgh. Comedian Andrew Maxwell informed me that the practice of floating down the city's river, which is a babbling brook running through the city down to Leith, is an annual rite of passage for him each August.

This, and hundreds of other little recommendations have been sent to me and my co-editor over the past few months, each one giving a little insight into the city from a personal perspective of an act who has performed at the Fringe. The aim, to compile a travel guide to the city.

We have run a comedy website since 2007 and during that time one thing which consistently surprises me is comedians' ability to continually rethink or re-imagine the world around them. It's this inquiring mind which has led them to seek out every inch of Edinburgh and, as seasonal visitors to the city, they have an affinity with Edinburgh which is rarely matched.

The wealth of places to seek out in Scotland's capital quickly became obvious. We gave acts an open remit to write what they wanted and for the most part (not including the ever-popular Warrender Swim Centre) they all found unique places to go. From Tony Law's fondness for the giant rhubarb plants in the Royal Botanical Gardens to the aforementioned Maxwell's river cruises.

However what we feel made compiling Secret Edinburgh worthwhile was the unique take that the comedians who wrote for it had on the city. Modern day travel writing can sometimes feel like a print version of The Truman Show or even possibly the Matrix where everywhere on earth is just 'nice' and sunny, or pleasant, and the locals happen - against all probability - to be much friendlier than anyone you happen to know.

We all know this to be more than a tad of a lie. In reality most holiday experiences are whole bundle of emotions which see couples or friends laugh, cry, bicker and otherwise live out their normal lives with a different backdrop while destinations themselves are packed full of both good and bad places to visit.

With this guide we have tried to reflect that, and approach a visit to Edinburgh with a more honest view of what it's like to visit the city as a festival-goer, or a comedian. It's true that the Royal Mile is a cacophony of fun, and also as Jeff Leach puts it, a 'Gauntlet of Broken Dreams' which has to be navigated by many acts on a daily basis.

Sometimes you really will need to find a place to placate a loved one as who you happen to, possibly have forgotten their birthday and, As Nadia Kamil says, The Tower restaurant at the National Gallery is a good place to start. Other times you may just want to escape the festival entirely, and as Mark Thomas does, rent a bike and head over the patchy paths to Leith where you can take in the fresh air of the Firth of Forth.

Of course in a guide written by comedians it would be rude not to include places which held resonance with the Fringe itself and there are times when the venues as much as the shows are an experience in themselves.

Out of everywhere in the city to choose from Milton Jones picked his own secret places as a corridor full of old, worn-down, posters of forgotten faces pasted up next to comedy greats. Others have chosen the one-woman shows as a place to find solace on a daily basis.

For anyone looking to experience the Fringe from a comedians point of view, the books (currently in a truck somewhere in England) arrive this week, and if you want to find us, you can catch us both on the Gauntlet of Broken Dreams flyering people about it.

Secret Edinburgh travel guide to Edinburgh is available to buy on Amazon and Paypal, or from August 7th at venues across the city.