5 Amazing Free Things To Do In Edinburgh
In this post, I will share five amazing free things to do in Edinburgh. No matter what your preferences are - museums, gardens, monuments or if you are just looking for picture-perfect places, this Scottish capital has a lot to offer to its visitors. Also If you need some inspiration for free things to do especially with the kids during your stay - you’re in the right place.
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When it comes to travel I always look for budget-friendly options or things I can do for free while exploring that particular place. During our Edinburgh trip, we visited some cool places without spending a penny.
Edinburgh is the second most visited city in the UK. This city is also home to an array of amazing galleries, museums, parks and attractions - many of which offer free entry. The best part is that some attractions also offer daily guided tours free of charge, or may ask for a voluntary donation. So why not explore hidden gems and enjoy a free day out in Edinburgh.
Here is my list of 5 amazing free things to do in Edinburgh that shouldn’t be missed:
1. Visit St Giles Cathedral
If you’re looking for something cultural to do in Edinburgh, this free attraction is a great place to visit. A gem for witnessing the architecture and rich history of this place.
Located on the iconic Royal Mile, St Giles’ Cathedral was founded in the 1120s and remains a working church. You can Explore the building at your own pace, taking in the intricate wooden interior and impressive gold-leaf ceiling.
Address: High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RE
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
How to Get There:
Being at the heart of Edinburgh, St Giles’ is easily accessible by bus. Stops on George IV bridge are the closest, but North Bridge and South Bridge stops are a 3-minute walk away. Stops on Princes Street are slightly further and would require walking uphill.
The closest train station is Edinburgh Waverly on Princes Street. Similarly to the bus, it is a 5-minute walk uphill to St Giles’.
2. Explore Lieth
Another part of Edinburgh worth every bit of your appreciation and keen exploration is Leith, brimming with personality and creativity. The vibrant port district is home to top-class restaurants, some of the city’s best bars, vast green spaces, and independent shops. A trip to Edinburgh isn’t complete without visiting Leith. The area is full of lots of free things to do and has some of Edinburgh’s trendiest hangout spots.
Enjoy a walk along The Shore, a cobbled waterfront street that was once the main dock, and is now lined with characterful shops, cafes and restaurants. Spend the day finding the iconic spots captured in famous films like Sunshine on Leith or Trainspotting.
You can also enjoy the stunning Water of Leith walkway, keeping an eye out for local wildlife along the way. The route is suitable for bicycles, buggies and wheelchairs. This is also the perfect free thing to do in Edinburgh for families.
In case you are visiting on Saturday, you can even head down to ‘The Pitt Market’ to enjoy some live music, street food and local beers. Kids and dogs get free entry, and adults pay just £2.
Address: Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH6 5EA
Hours: 24 hours
How to Get There: The quickest way to get from Edinburgh to Leith is by bus which costs £1 - £5 and takes 4 min.
3. Go to The National Museum of Scotland
Located in the heart of the city, the Scottish National Gallery is one of the top free attractions in Edinburgh.
With thousands of amazing objects across multiple galleries, the Museum offers you a world of discovery all under one roof. Inside you’ll find Scotland’s national collection of fine art that dates back to the early Renaissance through to the early 19th century. This is one of the best places in Edinburgh to visit with family.
The gallery also offers a shuttle bus service for visitors between its three gallery sites for a voluntary donation of just £1.
Address: Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1 JF
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
4. Discover The Royal Botanic Gardens
Located just one mile from the city centre, Edinburgh’s 72 acres of impeccably pruned gardens are free to enter and enjoy.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is one of the finest botanic gardens in the world. Established in 1670, this is the second oldest botanic garden in Britain, followed by the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. It also offers fantastic views of the capital’s skyline, featuring Edinburgh Castle, one of the famous tourist attractions of Scotland. The best part of this garden is that it is located relatively close to the Edinburgh city centre.
Address: Arboretum Pl, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
How to Get There: Take the 8, 23, 27 buses to the Royal Botanical Garden stop
5. Explore the Royal Mile and Grassmarket
The famous Royal Mile, and neighbouring Grassmarket, are must-sees when visiting Edinburgh.
The Royal Mile runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, perched high on a base of volcanic rock, with the splendorous Palace of Holyroodhouse, resting in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat. If you simply walk straight down the Royal Mile without stopping it would probably take you around 15 to 20 minutes to reach from one end to the other end. It is a really interesting walk where you can witness Scottish culture in many forms, shops with Scottish souvenirs, Scottish bagpipers, and people showing off their unconventional pets.
Address: 109 The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1SG
Hours: 24 Hours
Free Things To Do In Edinburgh