Edinburgh is one of my favourite places in the world. From its grand architecture to its meandering backstreets and fascinating history, there’s nothing quite like taking a wander around this beautiful city. I first visited in the Autumn of 2013, completely falling in love, before returning this year to experience what summer was like there.
Despite being a large city crammed full of things to do, you’ll find a surprising amount to experience without spending a penny. Here’s my top free things to do in Edinburgh – you can save your money for the city’s excellent food offerings!
1 – Watch the world go by in Princes St Gardens
Whether Autumn leaves are falling or the sun is making an appearance (I’ve been lucky enough to experience both), Princes St Gardens are a must-see. You’ll find all manner of life in this part of Edinburgh, making it an excellent place to people watch. Grab a takeaway coffee and take a stroll through the gardens.
2- Visit the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
I love a good museum or art gallery when taking a trip, and this one is free! There’s a great collection of contemporary art to take a look at, so it’s a great place to visit if the Edinburgh rain starts to take hold.
3 – Take in the view from Calton Hill
A visit to Calton Hill is not complete without a camera. The views from the top are spectacular, offering excellent panoramas of the city. You’ll also be able to get a great perspective on Arthur’s Seat, one of Edinburgh’s most iconic sights.
4 – Take a stroll around the Old Town
The oldest part of Edinburgh, this side of the city is my favourite for its gorgeous old buildings and bustling atmosphere. Take a look in the tourist shops of the Royal Mile where you’ll find an endless amount of tartan; or discover the Edinburgh castle from the outside – it always makes me think of Harry Potter!
5 – Climb Arthur’s Seat
I’m a little biased in saying this is the best part of a visit to Edinburgh. Inspired by the David Nicholls’ book One Day, where the characters climb up it, I first visited Arthur’s Seat a few years ago. An extinct volcano, it is essentially a large hill with plenty of rocky inlets to overcome. Although I’m scared of heights, I was pretty impressed I managed to get to the top and the view of the city below was completely worth it. Three years later, it was also the place that my other half proposed to me, so you could say it is pretty special!
Have you got any top tips for free things to do in Edinburgh?