Budget Edinburgh: A Free Day Out in Scotland’s Capital

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, ScotlandRoyal Mile

The beautiful city of Edinburgh is home to year-round arts and entertainment, beautiful buildings, iconic views and of course, some fantastic Scottish delicacies. But if you’re working on a tight budget, is there still enough to keep you occupied in the Scottish capital?

9am: Climb the Craigs

Walking trail to Arthur's Seat, above EdinburghThrough the gorse towards Arthur’s Seat

Grab a free cup of tea or coffee in your Travelodge room and start your day with a brisk walk over the Edinburgh Craigs. Sitting majestically next to Arthur’s Seat, these iconic cliffs offer a slightly easier climb than the hill itself, but still provide fantastic views across the city along with some very Scottish scenery. You’ll need a good pair of walking shoes for this activity and it will take you around 2 hours in total.

11.00am: National Museum of Scotland

Head down from the Craigs and to Chamber’s Street where the National Museum of Scotland will have opened its doors. This popular museum offers free admissions, although donations are welcome. There are plenty of exhibits here to keep you entertained. Get into the wonders of the natural world, including a giant T. rex, plus Scottish history and archaeology from the Paleolithic era to the present day.

12.30pm: Greyfriar’s Bobby and Church

Greyfriars Bobby statue in EdinburghMan’s best friend

There’s no bond as strong as that between a man and his dog. The legend of Greyfriar’s Bobby, the faithful dog who stayed by his owner’s grave for 14 years, has spread around the world. Visit the beautiful church and graveyard where he spent his days, and see the statue created in his honour just a few steps from the National Museum.

1.00pm: Picnic on the meadows

Once you leave Greyfriar’s you’ll find yourself in the territory of Edinburgh’s student population. Visit one of the many reasonably priced sandwich shops and takeaways catering for the lunchtime rush. Then head across George Square, taking in the university buildings as you go, towards the meadows. The lush meadows are a large public park with plenty of open grass. During warmer months there is plenty going on here, from football matches to outdoor performances.

2.00pm: Walk the Royal Mile

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is one of the central tourist attractions, a stretch of cobbled road (roughly one Scot’s mile long) that connects the castle at one end and Holyrood Palace (the British monarch’s official residence in Scotland) at the other. An easy walk from the meadows will take you to the top end near the castle. Enjoy the views from outside the castle and wander down hill towards Holyrood. Stop in at a few of the many whisky and souvenir shops to soak up the atmosphere. The legendary Fudge Kitchen is about halfway down the road. Here you can try a few free samples and even watch a cooking demonstration. Finish your walk at Holyrood Palace to be just a short walk from a comfortable bed for the night at our central Edinburgh Travelodge.

5pm: Visit Prince’s Street

Prince’s Street is largely a shopping street, but it’s also the best place in the city to get views of the castle. The shops only line one side of the road, so the other is open. This side is home to many stunning attractions, including the Scots Monument and the Scottish National Gallery, which is free to enter and even offers several free lectures and talks throughout the year.

10pm: Head to Bed

Book a room at our Edinburgh Central Princes Street Travelodge and you’ll be ready to head to bed (with plenty of spare change in your pocket).

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