Travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think, and even some of the most expensive destinations in the world have some amazing free sites and activities to keep even the tightest of budgets happy.
Scotland’s capital city is simply drenched in history and culture, with a wide variety of amazing places to stay and things to do. With so much choice, keeping to a tight budget in this relatively expensive city is actually a lot easier than people think, especially when some of the best things to do are also free.
Go museum hopping.
The Royal Mile is the main thoroughfare in Edinburgh, starting at Edinburgh castle and ends at Holyrood, and has a number of interesting and unique little museums that are free to enter and well worth an hour or two of your time. The Edinburgh writers museum is quite popular, as it celebrates the lives of the famous authors and poets Robert Burns, Robert Luis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott, and the museum of Edinburgh, which tells the story of this fascinating city. By far the most interesting is the National Museum of Scotland, which is an absolute must see.
The statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby.
This statue of a terrier is actually one of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks and honours one of the city’s most famous – and heartwrenching – folk tales, about a small terrier who spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner after he died.
Get some culture.
As well as a number of great museums, Edinburgh also boasts some fantastic free art galleries, some of which are worth visiting just for their architecture alone! The National Gallery is particularly worth a visit if you are strapped for time and have to choose.
St Giles Cathedral.
The High Kirk – or church – of Edinburgh dates back to the early 10th Century A.C.E, although it has had many alterations and additions up until the Reformation in the 16th Century, and is one of the many iconic landmarks on the golden mile. It is worth seeing for the stunning architecture alone, but is free to enter and has some beautifully decorated stained glass windows which are worth investigating.
Climb Arthur’s seat and explore Calton Hill.
If you are feeling energetic then these two free landmarks will get you some of the best views in the city. The famous Arthur’s seat is actually an extinct volcano, and the views are well worth the mild exertion and time it takes to get to the top. Calton Hill on the other hand is a much easier climb and can be coupled with a visit to the relaxing and picturesque Princes Street Gardens, either way you will be rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas of one of the UK’s most famous cities.
The summertime is a great time to visit Edinburgh, and not just for the chance of some blue skies and nice weather. If you happen to be in the city during the summer, then you are in luck, there are a whole range of festivals that take place during the summer here, including the world famous Edinburgh fringe festival, where you can catch some of the UKs most notable comedy acts amongst other things.
I hope you are enjoying this ‘free things to do in …’ series and find it useful, if you have any specific requests then please let me know in the comments section below. If I have been there then I’ll add it to the list!