Things to do for Free in Edinburgh

Edinburgh at its best without spending a penny.

Its easy to get caught up spending a fortune when you go to Edinburgh, there are so many interesting places to visit that its difficult not to get carried away. But if you are travelling on a budget there are lots of things you can do for free in the city. These range from walking in Princes Street Gardens to visiting the museums, churches, art galleries and even watching free music concerts! Here are a few ideas to help you find things to do for free in Edinburgh.

Find a Free Walking Tour

There are many free walking tours in Edinburgh which take you around the major places of interest, as well as hidden areas which will surprise you. The tours last around 2.5 hours and include a short traditional Scottish pub stop where you can sample some real ale or a “wee dram” of whisky. On these tours you will see Edinburgh Castle, St. Giles Cathedral, the Grassmarket and much more.

Sandeman Tours departs from Starbucks on the Royal Mile daily at 11am and 1pm.

Visit the Museums

The Museum of Edinburgh, showcases a labyrinth of historic rooms and artefacts which detail the history of the city. The National Galleries of Scotland hosts all of the artwork from famous Scottish painters and artists from around the world such as Dali and Monet. The Natural Museum of Scotland and the Royal Museum are perfect if you are looking for culture, a deeper insight into Scottish history, science and technology. Although the museum itself is free – if you wish to see various specialist exhibits there may be a fee.

Walk the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile looks like one incredibly long street set on a hill with Edinburgh Castle at one the summit and Holyrood Palace at the base. The Royal Mile is actually four streets which connect which equate to one mile. The tourist shops filled with tartan and shortbread are a must see, and St Giles Cathedral in the heart of the mile is worth stopping by to view the glorious architecture. As you make your way down the Royal Mile there are several free museums all ripe for exploration.

If you are lucky enough to visit the city during the Edinburgh Fringe in August, there are non-stop free events for the duration of the festival. Live bands, the Edinburgh book festival, readings, dancing and many comedy shows offer free entry throughout the city.