Edinburgh Travel Blog
Edinburgh Travel Blog

FREE THINGS TO DO IN EDINBURGH: 15 ACTIVITIES TO ENJOY

There are several things that will keep you occupied while you are in the Scottish city of Edinburgh. And a host of free things to do in Edinburgh are there to help you stay within your travel budget. Here are some of them:

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Free Things to Do in Edinburgh – Breathe in some Sea Air at Portobello Beach

While the weather in Edinburgh might not really be cooperative when it come to sunbathing, there are several other free activities you can do at Portobello Beach. You can take a walk along its shore, breathe in the sea air or simply pass the time gazing at the water.

Free Things to Do in Edinburgh – Conquer Calton Hill

Go for a climb in Calton Hill and take in magnificent vistas of the city. There are also a number of structures to see while on top of Calton Hill, including the National Monument and Dugald Stewart Monument.

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Free Things to Do in Edinburgh – Cross to Cramond Island on Foot

During high tide, the sea separates Cramond Island from the mainland of Edinburgh. Once the tides recede, you can cross the distance between the mainland and Cramond Island on foot. Keep track of the time while you are in this tidal island. Once the tide flows back in, you will not be able to use the causeway to return to the mainland.

Feel Like a Kid Again at the Museum of Childhood

Step inside the Museum of Childhood and find yourself in the middle of an assortment of children’s playthings. The children’s toys found here range from the 18th to the 21st century.

Join a Free Guided Tour of the Scottish Parliament Building

The Scottish Parliament Building welcomes visitors from Monday to Saturday, without need for prior booking. If you want to learn more about this modern structure a bit more, you can join one of its 1-hour guided tours – free of charge!

Journey to Arthur’s Seat

This extinct volcano forms the core summit of a hill group in Edinburgh. Once on top, you can get a bird’s eye view of the city.

Retreat into the Cool Shade of Dunbars Close

Tucked in a modest space behind the imposing buildings of the Royal Mile is a 17th century garden called Dunbars Close. Accessed through a narrow, cobbled alley, this tranquil space with a canopy of green is a great spot to retreat into if you are bogged down by the flurry of the city.

Roam around Dean Village

Have a slice of the pastoral life while in the middle of Edinburgh through visiting Dean Village. Brimming with 19th century structures and lush gardens, a trip to this rustic village is like a journey to the centuries past.

See the Wonders within the National Museum of Scotland

Housed in a modern building, the National Museum of Scotland has more than 10,000 objects on display. There are jewels, works of art, weapons and several other items that relate to the culture and history of Scotland. Entry to the museum is free, but donations are welcome.

Stroll around Greyfriars Kirkyard

If spooky is what you desire, Greyfriars Kirkyard would be the place to visit. This 16th century graveyard has several enclosed burial lairs and fine mural monuments, some dating back to the 17th century. You also would not want to miss Bloody MacKenzie’s Tomb, rumoured to be haunted.

Talk a Walk on the Royal Mile

Aptly called the Royal Mile, this main thoroughfare in the Old Town area of Edinburgh runs between the Edinburgh Castle and the Holyrood Palace. The succession of streets is lined with several shops, pubs and restaurants, many of which are in period buildings.

Unwind in the Lauriston Castle Grounds

Calm and tranquil would be the best ways to describe the Lauriston Castle grounds. Walking along its woodland paths and wandering through its Japanese garden can easily take your mind away from the hubbub of the city.

View Old Masterpieces at the Scottish National Gallery

Visitors can spend their time marvelling at the masterpieces and other artworks in this gallery daily. While some exhibitions might require a fee to enter, admission to the gallery is generally free.

Visit the Museum on the Mound

Its name might be unassuming but there are treasures to find at the Museum on the Mound – literally. This museum is dedicated to economics, coinage and everything to do about money. And they are all found within a Baroque Revival building that simply screams “affluence”.

Wander the Gardens of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

While there is a fee to enter the glasshouses at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, it is definitely free to roam around its gardens. There are thousands upon thousands of plants to see here. It’s a must-visit for anyone who happens to be in this part of Scotland.