Known for its culture, festivals, haunted stories and castles,Edinburgh is among the most vibrant cities in all of Europe. Also, rated as the most culturamlly rich city in Europe, Edinburgh has a lot to offer to its visitors right from old age castles and bridges to abundant number of cultural festivals and nightlife. Being the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh offers you the perfect British Royalty along with the perfect old age charm to its buildings and architecture around. While it can be pricey to see all of the places here, there are quite a few free things to do in Edinburgh. Let us now take a look at the top (almost) free things to do in Edinburgh.
Best time to visit Edinburgh
Although Edinburgh is a perfect year around destination , it is during the months from June to September when the city comes to life. With a number of festivals lined up in August, this is the best time to visit Edinburgh to experience the plethora of culture and arts. But also, owing to the tourist season, you will find a lot of people during these months. If you want to escape the crowd, then it is advisable to visit Edinburgh in the months from November to March when you also get low deals on hotels and airlines. The best part about Edinburgh though , is the number of free things to do despite of any season you visit.
How to get around ?
While you can always book a car to explore the city at its best, it is better to head out on foot. Exploring the city of Edinburgh on foot has different magic to it. You get to see the true culture and meet the local people of city more when you are on foot. Also, to cover the long distance, Edinburgh has you covered with its reliable local transport. While there are regular buses and trains to different parts of the city, you can also sit in a tram and travel the city like never before.
If you are still wondering about the free things to do in Edinburgh, here is a list.
The best free things to do in Edinburgh
Climb Arthur’s Seat Point
Located to the east of the Old Town, Arthur’s Seat is the highest among all the peaks here. Formed years ago with an extinct volcano, Arthur’s Seat is a perfect spot to be at to witness the magnificent views of Edinburgh from above. Also, getting there is pretty easy from Royal Mile – where you take a right from the bottom and start climbing the hill up to the top. Depending upon your fitness levels, it generally takes an hour to reach the top. And trust me, the view that you get after reaching the top is all worth it. Thus, hiking up the Arthur’s Point is easily among the best free things to do in Scotland.
Free Walking Tours
Yes, you read it right. Edinburgh is one of the cities where you can go on numerous walking tours that are absolutely free of cost. The most popular Sandemans Free Walking tour is exactly what you think it is.The tour departs everyday from Starbucks on Royal Mile street at 11 am in the morning. It lasts for 3 hours everyday where you pass through some of the most beautiful buildings and landmarks of the city. The tour includes sights such as Edinburgh Castle, St. Giles Cathedral, the Grassmarket, the ‘original’ Hogwarts and much more. You may the guide a tip that you feel he deserves after the tour is over. Thus , Sandemans Walking tour is among the free things to do in Edinburgh.
Museum Hopping off the Royal Mile
Royal Mile is among the best streets to explore in Edinburgh on foot. Also, it is home to some of the best museums in the city. And the best part is, few of them are absolutely free to visit. Visit the famous Edinburgh’s Writer Museum which celebrates the life of Scotland’s three famous writers – Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Sir Robert Luis Stevenson. The others among the list are Museum of Childhood, the Museum of Edinburgh and the People’s Story.
Also, the Museum of Childhood was the first one in the world to display the history of childhood. The Museum of Edinburgh is a maze of historic rooms full of iconic objects. And, the People’s story is all about history of Scotland’s capital and its people. Also, the largest of all Museum of Scotland Edinburgh is also open to people at no cost for visiting. Visit this museum to witness the large collections of Scottish antiquettes, culture and history. Also experience the science and technology, natural history and world cultures at Royal Museum adjacent to it. Thus, Museum Hopping at the Royal Mile is among the best free things to do in Edinburgh.
Whiskey Bars Galore
Yes, as well know Scotland is popular for the world’s finest whiskey. And while you are in Edinburgh, the glaring capital of Scotland, do not forget to taste different flavours of whiskeys here. There a number of whiskey bars in Edinburgh which offers you different varieties of whiskeys ranging from the local malts to the most old aged palettes. Also, if you happen to be the Scotch Whiskey Shop at Edinburgh during a perfect time when the samplings are done, you might get to taste it for free. There are a number of free whiskey samplings going on at night at different places. Make sure to visit one of the these places to indulge yourself into an experience like never before. Thus, whiskey bars hopping is among the best free things to do in Edinburgh at night.
Walk on the Forth Road Bridge at Night
This bridge is located to the west of Edinburgh in the town of Queensferry. It remains as the main crossing point till date from fife to the capital. In the earlier times, a ferry used to cross the river for farmers to trade. Today, there is a well marked pedestrian path and a cycling track on the bridge.
While most of the people do the walk on the bridge during the daylight, walking on the bridge at night is a different feeling. You cross the bridge while overlooking the twinkling city lights of Queensferry. The bridge works as a viewing platform for photographers too. Thus, walking down the forth road bridge is among the free things to do in Edinburgh at night.
This island was initially both a Roman settlement and WWII look out post during earlier times. Now it sits in the eastern coast of Scotland which can be visited during low tides. When the tides are less, you can easily walk your way to the island through the causeway. The island offers spectacular amounts of wildlife, abandoned buildings and an amazing place to camp at night if you wish. Also, if you do not fancy walking down the island all the way, the Cramond beach is a beauty in itself. Spend some quality time at the beach overlooking beautiful sunsets or visit the Cramond Village. It offers perfect escape from the city’s crowd at no cost. Thus, visiting the Cramond Island is among the best free things to do in Scotland.
Visit the Greyfriars Bobby
One of the Edinburgh’s most famous tales surrounds the popular ‘Greyfriars Bobby’ who was a small Skye Terrier, who became famous in Edinburgh for guarding the grave of his owner for 14 years. Today there stands a statue of Greyfriars Bobby at the corner of Candlemaker’s Row and St George’s Bridge. Visit this place to see the statue and get a photo you along with it. Also, just across the road there is Greyfriars Kirkyard, which is a graveyard where you will find large tombs of notable Scots including Allan ramsay (poet) and Henry Mackenzie (author). Though it is one of the most beautiful thing to visit the statue of a dog who waited for 14 years, it is certainly among the unusual things to do in Edinburgh.
Catch free music at Whistle Binkies and free entertainment all over the city in August
Yes, you read it right. Edinburgh as I said earlier is a city full of cultural events and art festivals. Though the above tip is time sensitive, if you happen to visit Edinburgh during the month of August, do not forget to head out for cultural festivals. A total of 6 festivals happen during this month in Edinburgh making it the festival capital of the world. Some of them are Military Tattoo festival, the Edinburgh book festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which is the largest art festival in the world. And the best part is , there are number of free events happening all around these festivals that you can enjoy. Thus, being here in August to attend these festivals is undoubtedly among the best free things to do in Scotland, Edinburgh.
Also, the best place to catch live music in Edinburgh is at the Whistle Binkies on the High Street junction. The best part of the place being it is free for entry on all days. You get to experience the live bands of Edinburgh here at no cost. Thus, visiting Whistle Binkies is among the best free things to do in Edinburgh at night.
Visit the Princes Street Gardens and the Scottish Parliament.
Among all the other free things to do in Edinburgh, the best are Princes Street Gardens and the Scottish Parliament. While there are many parks in the world with the most amazing views, the Princess Street Gardens are an exception to this. You can spend an entire day by chilling at the green gardens. Also, you will be overlooking the Edinburgh castle on one side while the skyline of Old City’s town on the other.
Also, don’t forget to take a tour of the Scottish Parliament building which is the main center of Scottish politics. It is also a perfect place where you can learn about Scottish history and marvel at the architecture of the buildings.Also, there are live debates going on here which you can experience. Thus, visiting Scottish Parliament is among the most unusual things to do in Edinburgh but absolutely worth it.
Climb Calton Hill
If you do not wish to climb for an hour to Arthur’s Seat, do not worry. There is another viewpoint in Edinburgh that gives you marvelous views of the city. Calton Hill is located at about 5-10 minutes walk from Princes Street Garden. Walk up the hill to witness some of the splendid panoramic views of the Edinburgh city. Thus, visiting Calton Hill is easily among the best free things to do in Edinburgh.
Thus, Edinburgh is a grand plethora of culture and arts, marvelous architecture along with natural beauty, delicious food and drinks. If you are running low on budget and still want to experience the beauty of what Edinburgh is , do not worry. You can look out for things listed above and plan your trip accordingly . Do not wait any further, pack your bags, book your tickets and head out to Edinburgh to indulge yourself in an experience like never before.
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