I have the great opportunity t o live in this city for 5 years and although it is relatively small in size, there are always plenty of activities to try and places to go. The weather also taught me many secrets about free things to do in Edinburgh. Today I am going to tell you so they can help you plan your next trip.
Edinburgh is the capital of the wonderful Scotland, it is a fascinating city, small but full of history and magic, with many things to see and do. This beautiful city attracts its visitors for its special beauty and for everything that it offers, but the best thing about it is that you can enjoy most of them totally free, without having to pay a dime.
Before entering the list, let me tell you that if you are going to take a short break, you should focus on Edinburgh, but if you are going to visit for more days, it is best to visit some places on the outskirts of the city as well.
1. Visit The Museums of Edinburgh
Most of the museums in Scotland offer free entrance to visitors and allow you to enjoy the permanent collections exhibited there. Here are some of the museums in Edinburgh, where you can enter completely free of charge, and enjoy their wonderful cultural and historic exhibitions:
National Museum of Scotland
This is undoubtedly one of the must-sees in Edinburgh, it is a dynamic museum and full of information, it will take you through time. You can climb to its panoramic terrace to enjoy the silhouette of the Old Town.
City Art Center
In this gallery you can see an extensive collection of Scottish art, from historical pieces, to modern photography.
National Gallery of Scotland
In the National Gallery of Scotland you will find works by painters such as Rembrandt, Gauguin, Monet and Goya.
2. Take a Free Tour
One of the things you should not miss in Edinburgh is to take part in the free tours offered by this beautiful city. These tours leave daily from the Royal Mile, last three hours approximately, and in them you will find wonderful stories that hide some of the most emblematic places of the city. Despite the name, of course, the guides of the Free Tour of Edinburgh work in exchange for tips. At the end of the tour, you can decide how much you want to pay for their services.
3. Visit St. Gilles Church and St. Mary’s Cathedral
It was at St. Gilles, on the Royal Mile, where preacher John Knox established the Scottish Presbyterian Church. In this beautiful church you can contemplate its fascinating stained glass windows, its majestic organ and the Thistle Chapel with its Angels playing the bagpipes. Before leaving you can climb the roof of St. Gilles and see the Royal Mile from above.
Then you can visit the impressive Episcopal Cathedral of St. Mary, in the West End, which presents a Gothic style, and where you will admire its fabulous stained glass window designed by Eduardo Paolozzi; or the Relic of St. Andrew, the Patron of Scotland.
4. Go up to Arthur’s Seat
Few cities in the world have an extinct volcano in the center, Edinburgh is one of these cities, and on a clear day you can climb to the top of this wonderful volcano. You will not be able to know anything more impressive than the top of Arthur’s Seat.
5. Enjoy the views from Calton Hill
This is much more accessible than Arthur’s Seat. From the top of Calton Hill you will have some of the best views of Edinburgh. You can enjoy the wonderful monuments that are in the corner of the city, and you can also see the New City, the Old City and see the infinite green of the Fife, beyond the Firth of Forth.
6. Visit and get lost in the spectacular Edinburgh Botanical Garden
It is a place that you should not miss. The beautiful and huge Edinburgh Botanical Garden, open all year round, recreates landscapes from around the world. It has greenhouses, ponds, coffee shops, a shop for gardening enthusiasts, and countless hungry squirrels, which you can feed without problems. It is an oasis of tranquility where you can enjoy nature without leaving the city.
7. Go walking to Cramond Island
At low tide, you can access Cramond Island, one of the islands of the Firth of Forth, by a footbridge. In addition, this beautiful area offers quiet excursions on the banks of the fjord or through the forest.
8. Discover the places that inspired Harry Potter
Edinburgh is full of corners where the young writer J. K. Rowling began to sketch the world of the most famous magician in the world. You can visit the cafeteria where the first books were written, the school that inspired Hogwarts, or the cemetery that hides some names that are sure to be familiar. Among some of the cafes frequented by the writer are: Spoon (old Nicholson’s Café), The Elephant House, among others.
9. Enjoy a Quiet Evening Playing Games
It is no surprise that some of the best online games, casinos and slot games are from the United Kingdom. While this is not completely free, how much you’ll play for is all up to you. What’s great is that anyone can access them and play UK online slots for fun. This would be the perfect activity for a quiet evening while getting ready for a night activity.
10. Enjoy a Local Market
These are places that you can enjoy and see in Edinburgh, you run the risk of ending up buying, but it is worth visiting them. They are beautiful, colorful and totally charming. Some of them are: The Royal Mille Market, the only permanent in the city, opens every day and has a nice cafeteria. The Edinburgh Farmers Market, like most, opens only on Saturday mornings. The Grassmarket Market; The Tram Stop Market. The Portobello Organic Market. The Flea Market in Out Of The Blue; among many others, there are also a large number of markets that only open on Sunday mornings.
As you can see, you have a lot of things to do and see in this spectacular city of Edinburgh, totally free. So there are no excuses, do not think twice, come and enjoy this wonderful place, I assure you that you will fall in love with it.