5 Inexpensive Things To Do in Edinburgh

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.

Arthur’s Seat

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.

Edinburgh Castle

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.

Scott Monument

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!

8 Tourist Highlights of London, England

The endless amounts of tea I drink made this city an obvious choice for me. London was the perfect first-stop destination on my United Kingdom tour. And if you were wondering…the tea, chocolate and “royal” history did not disappoint.

Piccadilly Circus

Easily one of the most touristy spots we visited, but a check off the London Bucket List. It’s a little strip with fun shops (I recommend Cath Kidston) that made for a fun day. This busy spot was full of traffic (people and cars) and was accompanied by a street performer doing covers of Ed Sheeran songs. This spot is very accessible via “the tube” if you’re in the mood for a buzzing part of London.

Poppie’s Fish n’ Chips

A local shop worked had recommended “Poppie’s” fish n’ chips to us if we were looking for authentic British food. We ventured out of our way just to try it, and it was hands down the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. This is coming from someone who before this trip did not eat fish in any form. In the moment, I told myself, if I’m going to try fish, it’s going to be in England. I’m so glad I did and when I’m back, you can bet I’m going here again!

The London Eye

The London Eye was a fun experience. There were other London activities that were much more cost effective, but in hindsight I’m glad we made this one of our stops. The history behind the materials that went into building this landmark was very interesting to learn about. I do have to say that I would not wait in the mid-day “queues” to go up the wheel. We lucked out in how this experience played out: I would recommend buying your tickets ahead of time and not the day of. This way, you have your ticket ready to go without the dreaded first line before the real line. Make a morning of it! Stop for breakfast (cuppa tea and bacon roll photographed above), stroll through empty pathway while people are still waking up, and get in line a few minutes before the attraction opens. This minimizes your wait time and you still have the rest of the day for other sightseeing activities.

The Big Ben

Not far from the London Eye, The Big Ben is glorious even on gloomy days. It’s no wonder this clock is a London staple; beautiful intricate architecture and the alerting sounds that make this building come alive. I know the clock is undergoing repairs, but I would make a visit to London when this clock goes off. Another easy stop to visit, we came straight from the London Eye.

Buckingham Palace

Unfortunately, Queen E II did not open the gates for afternoon tea, but I admired her home through the slits of these gates. Buckingham Palace was at the top of my list for things to visit in England and it did not disappoint. Everything about this Palace was so grand. As you can imagine, the crowds around here are insane, so when you have a chance to snap your “long-distance selfie” with the Queen (she’s in there somewhere I swear), take it.

The Tower of London

While on the subject of the Royal Family, another stop to make is the Tower of London. A highlight for me was seeing the Crown Jewels and the history of Queen Elizabeth II. She is the definition of a boss lady. If you’ve watched The Crown on Netflix, you know what I mean. There is so much to see in the Tower of London that it really is a day-trip in itself. I wish we had a little more time, because we were unable to get around to all the sections. Something to keep in mind is that the Crown Jewels line is extremely long; be sure to plan your time wisely in order to see them along with the other exhibits. My sister had already seen them and volunteered to wait in line (bless her!).

St. Paul’s Cathedral

For reference, I’m standing in front of this famous Cathedral and I look like an ant… This is right in the city! We did not have time to go inside, but it’s something I want to see one day. We took a long walk back to our hotel after visiting Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and passed St. Paul’s Cathedral in all it’s glory.
Side note: The Globe Theater was honestly my favourite experience in London. We walked over to see the Globe and ended up standing in a separate line for last minute tickets. We scored super cheap tickets for a performance of Romeo and Juliette (standing room), and it was a beautifully done show. The performance and atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The performance and atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. My legs might have hated me (Shakespeare didn’t cut corners with the story line or dialogue…) but my soul was happy.

Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tourimg_3391img_3479img_3409

The first day we arrived in London was at 8am after a 7 hour flight. The hop-on-hop-off bus tour was a great way to see the city with the little energy we had left before checking into our hotel. These tours really give you additional information with the luxury of choosing which stops you want to spend a little more time at. Above are a few pictures I was able to capture during the drive (or when we “hopped off”). I lived all my Amanda Bynes “What a Girl Wants” dreams by seeing double decker buses and the iconic telephone booths plastered all over the city.