If you're on a budget and want to visit Edinburgh and think it might be an expensive UK city to visit, don't fret, as it is actually an extremely tourist-friendly place with lots and lots of free and cheap things to see and do, which means you can get the full experience of this beautiful city without shelling out too much! If you have never been before and want some tips on what is free to see in the city then the following will be useful to you.
Get your culture fix by visiting one of the many free art galleries throughout Edinburgh. If you enjoy early Renaissance to early 19th century art, then you should visit the Scottish National Gallery.
If you prefer modern art, then head on over to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Across the road from the Modern Art Gallery you will find the Dean gallery which has a free section to visit too.
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has now reopended too and is free to visit and finally the Fruitmarket Gallery beside the train station is free to enter and has a rotating selection of contemporary installations and well worth a visit.
Edinburgh is home to many many historic churches and cathedrals and architectural wonders that you can explore for free. Many are centuries old where you can step back in time as you view the splendor of ancient murals and stained glass windows. Head to St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile it is the Mother Church of Presbyterianism and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle. It is free to enter, but a donation is asked if you want to take pictures inside the cathedral.
If you are a bookworm then the National Library of Scotland just around the corner is a fascinating place to spend a few hours and with free exhibitions too it is well worth a visit.
If writing is your thing, then the Writers Museum on the Royal Mile offers an insight into some of Scotland's best knows authors including Robbie Burns and Robert Louis Stephenson.
And finally, one of my favourite buildings and not mentioned in the guide books are the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland on Charlotte square - possibly one of the most amazing banking halls in the country - just look up to the dome in the ceiling and you will see what I mean!
For the Kids
If you're bringing the kids, the the following is well worth visiting. Want to see a million pounds... Yes? Well the Museum on the Mound is all about the history of money and banking in Scotland and they do have a million pounds that you can see and all this for free!
If you want an afternoon of history and also lots of cool stuff for the kids to see then head to the Museum of Scotland. Having undergone a recent renovation not only will you be blown away by the inside of the building but the exhibitions are fantastic, too!
Back on the mound, no trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a trip to the Museum of Childhood. Take a trip through the ages and see the evolution of toys and games and is fascinating for adults and kids too!
And finally, if you have had enough of being indoors head to Edinburgh’s Botanical Gardens this is a fantastic place for a walk and they have exhibitions for children about plants at the John Hope garden entrance.
And there we have it, a big selection of free things to visit when you are in Edinburgh!
So, for those of you who like to hang on to your money, there are plenty of things to do in Edinburgh on the cheap. You'll have a rich experience without going broke in the process.
This article was written by Ross who runs edinburghguide.org.uk and lives in Edinburgh.