Top 10 Things To Do In Edinburgh On A Budget

by Fay

Are you looking for awesome things to do in Edinburgh Scotland on a budget? You have come to the right place. We have a list of 10 budget activities you shouldn’t miss when you visit the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is the lively capital city of Scotland where you see tradition and modernity mixed and diversity and culture fused. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Europe due to its distinct way of life, strong heritage and range of great things to do. 

Visiting a busy city like Edinburgh can get expensive but this article will help you discover budget-friendly Edinburgh including many free things to do in this city as well as inexpensive activities. 

10 Awesome Things to Do in Edinburgh on a Budget

Eat Haggis

Of course, one of the best things to do in Scotland is taste the famous dish of Haggis. Haggis is minced meat (intestines of a Sheep to be exact) mixed with spices and oats. Don’t worry, Haggis is much tastier than it sounds.

Edinburgh scotland on a budget Edinburgh scotland on a budget haggis

One of the main reasons to join a food tour in Edinburgh is to try multiple versions of Haggis such as with Neeps and Tatties (gravy and potatoes), fused with Asian food or on a full Scottish breakfast. 

Visit Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street Gardens

A landmark of the city is the Edinburgh Castle. You can’t miss it as it towers over the old town from high on its hill. While it’s an impressive sight to see from the outside, for an inexpensive cost, enter the castle to see the Great Hall and learn about the history of this famous Scottish castle. 

Edinburgh scotland on a budget edinburgh castle
Edinburgh Castle

The castle entry price is £18 for adults and open between 9.30am and 5pm.

Below Edinburgh Castle is Princes Street Gardens which was once a lake but now serves as a green escape from the city for locals on their lunch, tourists on a stroll and families on picnics. 

Edinburgh scotland on a budget Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens

Explore The Writer’s Museum

The great thing about most museums in Scotland is that they’re completely free. So you can explore many of Edinburgh’s museums at no cost. One of the most interesting museums to visit is The Writer’s Museum. 

Edinburgh scotland on a budget writers museum
The Writer’s Museum

The Writer’s Museum is a place dedicated to three famous Scottish authors: Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson. Here you can learn about their lives, literature and impact on both Scottish culture and history. 

The museum is free and open between 10am and 5pm.

Find Harry Potter Connections in Edinburgh

JK Rowling lived in Edinburgh while writing the Harry Potter books so there are lots of places associated with Harry Potter such as the Elephant Cafe where JK spent hours writing some of the books’ best plotlines.

Follow this guide for all Edinburgh places linked to Harry Potter with directions and back stories including alleged inspirations for places and character names and the official Harry Potter museum and gift shop. 

Hike to Arthur’s Seat

Did you know that there is an extinct volcano right in the city of Edinburgh?! The largest parts remain today which you can climb including Cartlon Hill and Castle Rock. The best place to go for a hike on the volcano, however, is Arthur’s Seat. 

Edinburgh Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat

Taking just around 30 minutes or so to climb, the top of Arthur’s Seat provides one of the most stunning views over Edinburgh. This is an unmissable thing to do in Edinburgh while on a budget because it’s totally free to hike. 

Wander Edinburgh Old Town and New Town 

Princes Street is a central street, next to Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle, and can be used as a divider between Edinburgh Old and New Town.

Edinburgh scotland on a budget Princes Street
Edinburgh Princes Street

While the New Town can be explored for restaurants, cool cafes and retail, the Old Town is definitely the place where you’ll find the Edinburgh of postcards with the cobbled streets, famous landmarks like Scott Monument and gothic buildings and bridges.

Take a wander through the streets and feel like you’ve stepped back in time in places like Grassmarket and Royal Mile which hold centuries of history, that you can definitely feel. 

Visit Museum of Scotland

You can explore several areas of the museum like the natural world, world cultures, collections such as Alexander Fleming’s medal collection, art, design and fashion on multiple levels. The best part, if you’re interested in Scottish history, is the ‘Kingdom of Scots’ section which displays centuries of Scotland history, culture, customs and traditions. 

Edinburgh scotland on a budget museum of scotland
Museum of Scotland

The museum also has a kid’s play area and interactive activities so there is something for everyone which can keep you here for hours.

The museum is free and open between 10am and 4pm.

Take a Ghost Tour

Edinburgh is haunted. There is no getting away from that fact. There is a ghost story on every corner of this city. Taking one of the popular ghost tours means you get to explore the spooky places, hear the legends of witchcraft, the true and spine-tingling stories of people hanged in the city and superstitions to give you chills.  

Edinburgh scotland on a budget Greyfriars Kirkyard
Greyfriars Kirkyard

For a self-guided option and free ghost tour just go to Greyfriars Kirkyard (a graveyard) which is said to be the most haunted place in Edinburgh. 

Stroll to Dean Village

Dean Village is a pretty part of Edinburgh which takes just 5 minutes to walk to from Princes Street in the new town. This little area is a picturesque part of the capital perching on the banks of the River Leith. 

Edinburgh scotland on a budget Dean Village
Dean Village

When you arrive in Dean Village you’re greeted with coloured houses, grand buildings, cobbled walls and the trickling stream on the river. Cross over a metal bridge for the views on the other side and to begin a walk down the river. 

It’s so peaceful here you’ll think you’ve gone to the Scottish countryside and forget you’re in the bustling city!

Hit Portobello Beach

The closest beach to Edinburgh is Portobello Beach just a 20 minute drive (or 45 minutes on the bus) from the city centre. This sandy beach sits on the North Sea and is surrounded by Victorian buildings and features a pier and outdoor pool.

Edinburgh scotland on a budget Portobello Beach
Portobello Beach at sunrise

There’s arcades, cafes and facilities at this seaside hub so you can spend a long time swimming, sunbathing, eating, or just getting away from the chaos of the capital to watch a beautiful sunset or sunrise. 

Check in advance if there are events at the beach like markets, festivals and sport competitions. 

Written by Shireen from The Happy Days Travels

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things to do in edinburgh on a budget

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