10 Free Things to Do in Edinburgh

10 Free Things to Do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the most romantic European cities. Around every corner of the city there is a mystery you can breathe and its gotic style adds to the atmosphere. The capital of Scotland reflects the breathtaking landscapes. Every area of the city deserves a photo and you really should grab your camera and go discover the wonders of Edinburgh for yourself. 

Edinburgh can also present itself as the pearl of priceless artistic value, cultural and architectural heritage. Famous for its hills and its castles, the city attracts visitors from all around the world, and is one of the main tourist destinations in the UK. Despite this, there are lots of ways to keep your expenses down as Edinburgh is not a particularly expensive city to visit compared to others.

There are also lots of places you can visit without spending any money at all, here are my top 10 things you can do free in Edinburgh. Now go enjoy them!


1. National Museum of Scotland 

Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

This museum shows you the history of Scotland. The museum is divided into sections and thematic areas - science, art, archeology, nature and history. This is a great place to visit for families as children will have lots of fun playing in the interactive areas. You can spend a whole day exploring the museum and you can also schedule a tour when it’s raining. Opening hours: 10am - 5pm.


2. Cramond Island

It’s an Island you can reach on foot when there is low tide. The Island was fortified during World War II to protect the coasts and take out enemy warships and you can still visit some of the fortified buildings. Be sure to check the weather forecast though because a lot of tourists end of having to remain on the island because of sudden tide rises.


3. Royal Botanic Garden

You’ll be amazed by the wonder of nature at the Royal Botanic Garden. You can take time to relax and discover the many varieties of flowers and plants - you’ll fall in love with rainbow of the colours in the garden. When you finish your tour don't leave straight away, stay to admire the view over the city. From the Royal Botanic Garden, you can see the whole of the Edinburgh skyline. Opening hours are: November to January: 10am - 4pm; February and October: 10am - 5pm; March to September: 10am - 6pm.


4. Arthur’s Seat

Salisbury Crags, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

If you enjoy walking and you love landscapes you should go to see Arthur’seat. It’s a hard walk with a challenging climb and occassionaly strong wind but you’ll be thankful you did it when you reach the summit. The walk takes around one hour and be sure to pack an anorak or umbrella depending on the weather. Arthur's Seat is located in a volcano inside Holyrood Park.


5. Calton Hill

If you are not ready for the summit of Arthur’seat you could see Calton hill. It’s a perfect place to take photos of Edinburgh. On top of the hill you can also visit Nelson's monument and the National monument. The National monument is seen from the people who live in Edinburgh as a failure as it wasn’t finished. Another top place to see nearby is the observatory on Calton hill. Throughout the year there are also various festivals taking place on the hill so be sure to check the dates before departing.


6. Royal Mile and St Giles Cathedral

St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

Royal mile is the most famous street in Edinburgh which leads you from Edinburgh castle to the Scottish Parlament. The street is in the old part of the city and you can walk through to see the mysterious closes. You can see St Giles cathedral, a beautiful gothic styled Scottish Church.


7. Free Tour of the Old City

You can see the highlights of Edinburgh on a free walking tour with a guide and other tourists. The tours depart everyday and places you will get to see include the old part of the city. Tour depart at 11am and 2 pm in front of Starbucks Coffee on the main high street. The free tour lasts around two hours.


8. National Gallery of Scotland

The National Gallery of Scotland is the perfect place to visit for art lovers. Here you can see artwork from famous artists like Botticelli, Monet and  Gaugin. The building of National Gallery is a beautiful example of neo-classical style and the garden around the gallery will be a joy for your soul. Take a look to the architectonical shapes of the gallery: here you will see waves and clouds. I'm sure you will love this gallery because you’ll get to see works ranging from the Renaissance to Impressionism. Opening hours are daily, 10am-5pm. Thursday, 10am-7pm.


9. Princes Street Gardens

If weather is good you should take a moment to relax in the green corner of Princes Street Gardens. These beautiful gardens are perfect to take a pic nic or read a book. The people of Edinburgh often visit here to meet friends and take time out.


10. The Museum of Childhood

If you have children, or even if you don't you will love the Museum of Childhood. This museum is a magic place where you’ll leave with lots of fond memories. The museum collects different objects from all around the world. You will see toys, games, dolls, stuffed animals and other things you would connect to younger memories. There are activities to enjoy inside the museum like puppet theatre and also a dressing up area. Opening hours: Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10am - 5pm; Sunday: 12pm - 5pm.(The shop closes at 4.45pm on each of these days.)

Discover every corner of this wonderful city and enjoy your visit in Edinburgh on a budget.


By Elisabetta Valeri


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