Edinburgh stole my heart the moment I heard the bagpipes play…which was right away thanks to the street performers. I found Edinburgh to be quite inexpensive for travelers looking to experience Scotland’s capital city. Here is a list of inexpensive/ free things I did while in Edinburgh.
You will definitely need to break out your walking shoes for this adventure. This hike was reasonably achievable to finish coming from someone who doesn’t partake in a ton of hiking trails (note to self: do more hiking trails). Going up the mountain is something I will recommend to anyone willing and able. Being just a short distance from The Royal Mile, Arthur’s Seat is very manageable to get to and completely free to climb up. The views of the city from the top are fantastic, but I have to say… Arthur, you could have made the seat a little more comfortable.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
Okay… So this activity is not free, however, if you pair up the above hike with a tour of Holyroodhouse, it makes for a full day and costs only £15. I thought the Palace was beautiful and grand. Truthfully, it was a perfectly planned out day: Hollyroodhouse, Arthur’s Seat, lunch break, Scottish Pub Crawl. To go from the venue of the Queen’s Garden Party to the bars of Edinburgh is quite the stretch, but one I would do again in no time. Speaking of pubs, if you’re staying at a hostel (Castle Rock was stellar), check to see if they arrange pub crawls so you can go with a group. We met so many fun people that night and had such a good time.
Another perk to staying at a hostel so central in the city is that you are in walking distance to major highlights like Edinburgh Castle! For around £13, you can discover a lot at this landmark. It was one “attraction” I walked away feeling I had got my money’s worth. I found the layout of this castle was very well done. This castle was one of my favorites – the information, the views, how centralized the location was – it was all great. Did I mention this castle was the view from out hostel room? It was quite literally steps away from us. When you find good cheap, clean accommodations be sure to book right away. You never know, there could be a rugby tournament and you’ll be scrambling to find somewhere to stay… oh wait… The story has a happy ending, we managed to get a room, but not quite as cheap is an understatement! #CastleRock4ever
University of Edinburgh
This section of the University, referred to as “Old College”, was absolutely mesmerizing. If I could go back in time and apply to uni here, I would strongly consider it. If it’s wrong to pick a school based on it’s building, then I don’t want to be right. I mean just look at that stone work! We discovered this tucked away gem just by walking through the city. Again, completely free, but I believe there is an option for a guided tour which may or may not be conducted for a fee.
Speaking of architecture… The Scott Monument takes the cake for eye-catching buildings in Edinburgh. The Gothic feel given to this building draws people in and the view from the top gets them to stay. This attraction cost about £8 and worth every penny in order to maintain the upkeep of this Victorian Era building. Upon entry, you climb up 287 steps on on a spiral staircase. As you could guess by the peak, each step closer to the top means a smaller area to walk through. Once you’re up and think to yourself, thank God I made it up 287 steps, the views speak for itself. Above is my favourite picture from the top – I spy with my little eye, Edinburgh Castle. The contract of old and new in Edinburgh was one of my favourtie takeaways. I can confidently say I will 1000% be coming back here.
I did not want to leave this city, mainly because of the amazing experiences, but also because my bank account took a little hit back in London. I got a little travel happy. Edinburgh, as mentioned, was full of amazing experiences that cost little to no money at all. I walked away from Edinburgh wanting to come back ASAP. ASAP hasn’t come soon enough!