Things to do | Posted 28 Jun 2019

Scotland’s elegant capital city is a dream destination for history buffs, art fans and those who just love a good British city break. It’s fit to burst with wonderful sights and monuments – including the majestic Edinburgh Castle.

Thankfully, those travelling on a budget will find plenty of things to do in Edinburgh that don’t cost a penny, whether you’re visiting as a couple, with your best mates or with the whole family in tow.

Five free things to do in Edinburgh:

1. Enjoy spectacular views from Arthur’s Seat

If you don’t mind working up a bit of a sweat, climbing to the top of Arthur’s Seat will definitely reap great rewards. It’s actually an extinct volcano just south east of the city centre that’s a popular place for a walk. Scale it on a clear day to admire panoramic views of Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside.

2. Explore the Royal Mile and Old Town

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is found in the city’s Old Town and it’s made up of many streets and lanes that stretch from the castle along to Holyrood Palace. Wandering along (and photographing) its atmospheric buildings and charming alleyways is one of the best free things to do in Edinburgh.

3. Visit a Museum or Gallery

Just like England’s capital, the Scottish one also has many free museums and art galleries that are well-worth a visit (especially on a grey day). If you’re after some free things to do in Edinburgh with kids, a stop at the Museum of Childhood or Museum of Edinburgh is ideal. Bookworms will no doubt enjoy the Edinburgh Writer’s Museum, while the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is a great pick in New Town.

4. Wander around Princes Street Garden

If paying full whack to get inside Edinburgh Castle is beyond your budget, view it from the outside instead at Princes Street Garden. The leafy park is right in the heart of the city and a lovely location to lounge on a sunny day.

5. And if You're Visiting in August, Enjoy Dozens of Free Performances at the Fringe

If you’re one of the lucky few to be venturing to the city in August, you have to make the most of the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A lot of the events are ticketed, however, a decent proportion of them aren’t. Check out numerous free drama and comedy performances at venues throughout the city.

What about Cheap Places to Eat in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh has its fair share of fancy restaurants, but you’ll also find plenty of cheap bites. Head to the Old Town to enjoy fragrant curries at Ting Thai Caravan or a mouth-watering hog roast sandwich at Oink Grassmarket. For traditional Scottish grub, check out the Halfway House pub on Fleshmarket Close.


Need somewhere to stay while you’re making the most of the many free things to do in Edinburgh? You’ll find our Leonardo Edinburgh and Jurys Inn hotels right in the heart of the city

JURYS REWARDS More great reasons to stay