Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura, Military Tattoo… These popular tourist attractions are well-loved for good reason but they’ll cost you a pretty penny to visit, so what else is out there for the frugally inclined? Is it possible for the most visited city in Scotland to have “cheap thrills” for us to enjoy?
The answer is yes, you just need to know where to get started. Edinburgh has a fascinating history and its stunning views have seen the historic capital feature in many famous films. With many attractions, parks, galleries and museums to choose from, all you need is someone to point you in the right direction.
Here’s what you can do in Edinburgh without paying in this list of thirteen free attractions that will delight you.
1. Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat is the remains of a now-extinct volcano sitting within the Holyrood Park. Lava samples from the site have been dated 335 to 341 million years old. Arthur's Seat is popular all year round for its cultural heritage, wildlife and incredible views of Edinburgh which can be enjoyed from its vantage points. Photo: via Wallpaper Flare
2. Portobello Beach
Portobello Beach is a beautiful seaside suburb with two miles worth of sandy beaches to explore. Located only a few miles from the city centre of Edinburgh, the location is affectionately referred to as ‘Porty’ by locals and it offers some incredible views overlooking the Forth. With the right weather it is perfect for a swimming or sunbathing session. Photo: Submitted
3. Free walking tours
Speaking of the Royal Mile and Grassmarket, when walking through these areas you’ll notice a flurry of tourists eagerly following an umbrella-wielding individual who seems knowledgeable of Edinburgh. These free walking tours take place from the Royal Mile and give you a chance to learn more about Edinburgh’s heritage (but you may be asked to donate!) Photo: byronv2 (Flickr)
4. Dean Village
Dean Village is a former village located just five minutes away from Princes Street, Edinburgh. It was founded in the twelfth century and offers a picturesque stroll for visitors who can enjoy its vintage architecture and indulge in the solace of a location called ‘an oasis of calm in the city’. Photo: Cooper Kinley (Canva Pro)