Birdy had heard something on the grapevine about a supercool venue opening up just for adults – with all the fun of the fair! After the offer of a free visit came through, and it qualified the Edinburgh Reviews ethics check, she dragged Girdy along for funsies.
Birdy: This was another thing that came up on my radar first. I’d heard the venue was opening soon from networking, and that it was run by the same people behind Fore Play – a crazy golf venue just for adults. It’s actually replaced Fore Play (snigger) at 14 Picardy Place in the ‘Burgh and opened just a couple of weeks ago.
I was really excited to try Fayre Play, because who doesn’t love having fun at the fairground?! Remove all kids from the situation, and it sounds even better! Fayre Play were kind enough to book us a slot with two game tickets so we could have a good time.
Girdy: Gosh, Birdy is well connected and a trip to an ‘adult-anything’ might not be something I’d gravitate to normally so I was cautious when I was first told about Fayre Play. However, I did say that Edinburgh Reviews would consider accepting free offers when it’s something that might help readers and we wouldn’t normally do and so I found it a bit hard to refuse.
Spoiler: I’m glad. I had fun! I still keep calling the venue ‘Funfayre’ or ‘Forefayre’ but ‘Fayre Play’ is right and a good fit.
Tickets/getting set up
Birdy: When we first arrived, there were some legal disclaimers to sign and rules to read, which was all straightforward enough. Once that was done with, the friendly staff at Fayre Play explained how the rules worked, and gave us 1 x meal voucher, and 2 x drinks vouchers, and a scorecard – along with two coins to spend on the whack-a-frog machines!
As I mentioned above, we were on the Edinburgh game tickets – which are usually £14.50 per person. For that, you’re given roughly an hour-and-a-half to play the games and have your meal and drinks – but in our experience, it was quite relaxed as it wasn’t too busy (it being a Sunday evening).
Girdy: My mind turned to office Christmas parties almost immediately. The venue is really well located in Edinburgh for them. You have to sign a form in which you promise not to get drunk and climb stuff and, if you do, it’s your fault. I understand why this is a thing, but for any party I’d hope you could pre-sign. Equally, the food and drink tokens are a fantastic idea for businesses trying to manage expenses fairly.
I think it’s worth pointing out that Picardy Place doesn’t do Fayre Play any favours. It’s a bit grim outside at times and I think some people might just be pleased to get into the Fayre Play building!
Birdy: As soon as you walk into Fayre Play, you notice there’s a lot going on and it’s a very fun vibe, with lots to look at – including a highly Instagrammable carousel horse! Pretty lights, colours and artwork – this is my vibe!
As I mentioned above, we were booked in for an early Sunday evening thing, so it wasn’t exactly packed (which meant we could take our time a bit more) but on busier nights, I can see the place is set up well to handle lots of groups. All the staff were really friendly and welcoming, too!
Girdy: I’ve been in this building so many times but I’ve never seen it like this. I quite liked it but it did also feel like a large converted Edinburgh building with rescued fairground or carnival sideshows in it – which it is. I think the expression is ‘Hanging a Lantern on it’. It leans into the truth.
It’s all good, though. It’s not slick neon. It’s retro. Most importantly, the staff were friendly, bountiful and attentive. I felt welcomed and was very quickly at ease.
Food and drinks
Birdy: For my two drinks (one ordered before the games and one after), I went with the ‘Roll Up, Roll Up’ which is the only mocktail on the menu. It’s made with fresh cranberry, lemonade, orange syrup and comes with orange sherbet sticks. It was very tasty!
As for my food, I ordered the Reynolds burger, which is buttermilk fried panko chicken with maple-glazed bacon, peppers, spicy mayo and rocket – yum! I got a choice of house fries or garlic fries with that, so I opted for garlic. Was glad I did, because they were SO GOOD!
Girdy: I enjoyed my nosh. I regret, I think, not going for a hotdog simply because a hotdog would be more in keeping with the atmosphere of a carnival but I have a big appetite and went for the largest burger I could find. I’d suggest that’s the pulled BBQ pulled pork burger. The food was good, quick and hot, but not so quick that it makes me think a microwave was used. The taste certainly confirms that!
Once again I wondered; “Is Fayre Play good for Christmas parties?” and I don’t think Birdy and I stress-tested the kitchen to answer that fully. However, I’m sure a group of four or six people could turn up, settle down at the tables by one of the two bars and expect a good meal.
Birdy: How it works is that we could go through the games in any order we liked, and each station is manned by staff, who were very helpful and always explained to us exactly what we were doing.
This was a very mixed bag for me, in that some of the games I was decent at, some I was TERRIBLE at – and, surprisingly enough, I managed to do well enough at darts to get a prize stamp!
I was a bit disappointed when the balls I was throwing kept going into the cans I was trying to knock over – you’d think achieving that even once would warrant some sort of prize!
I had a lot of fun playing, and some of the games took a surprising amount of physical energy! Was all good, though.
Girdy: It helps to know how bad you’re going to be, and I knew I was going to be pretty bad. There’s a BB rifle shooting game, a basketball speed run and another similar ball game that makes you bowl rather than toss and a whack-a-mole with froggies, not moles.
I thought I did pretty well at the duck fishing game. What does that say about me? That small and relatively harmless creatures are about my size when it comes to opponents? Don’t start me on the coconut shy games, though, as I feel they live up to their carnival reputations!
Birdy: It’s also worth mentioning that just as we were about to leave, we were told by the staff that as it was quiet, we were allowed to go through the games again if we fancied! However, Captain Girdseye was getting fidgety by that point, and I think I’d given up on any hope of winning a stuffed duck, so we decided to move on.
Fayre Play as a fun thing to do in the city centre
There’s so much to see and do around Fun Fayre’s central location on Picardy Place. There’s the Playhouse theatre, if you fancied seeing a show. St James Quarter is also nearby, which is ideal for doing a spot of shopping – there’s also the Omni Centre, where you can catch a film at Vue!
Fayre Play is situated right next to the top of Leith Walk, where there’s plenty of places to go for food and drink – including the new Dog House (where misfits fit in!), Down the Hatch, about a dozen bakers and now, finally, easy access to Edinburgh’s infamous trams.
Due to its central location, you also have your pick of hotels, with names such as Hotel Indigo, the Premier Inn, the Glass House Hotel, York House Hotel, and many, many more! Your nearest train station is Waverley Station, just a five-minute walk away.
Birdy: I had a lot of fun at Fayre Play, and I would definitely recommend this to my friend group for a night out. The games were varied, with different levels of challenges! The food was ace. One thing I did miss was candy floss, as it’s always something I’ve associated with fairgrounds – but that’s a tiny quibble!
Girdy: I hadn’t even thought about candy floss until just now. Darn it! Now I have retro-regret while also feeling thankful my willpower wasn’t tested. I also had fun at Fayre Play, much more than I thought, and I tried my geeky arms out a lot more! I think Fayre Play may not make solid first impressions, but you’ll have fun if you allow yourself to.
A Review of Fayre Play
Disclosure: Girdy and Birdy landed this trip to Fayre Play as a freebie.