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We know exploring a new city can be expensive but there are loads of cost-effective and even free things to do in Edinburgh, the city is crammed full of fun places to explore and of course, learn. Whether you are into sports, art, science, or walking. Designed to suit all tastes and budgets, there is something for everyone whether you are visiting for a short weekend or a week.

From family days out to cultural pursuits, Edinburgh’s top attractions satisfy all tastes, including some of Scotland’s most visited free attractions. The city’s backdrop of Arthur’s Seat, the Pentland Hills, and Edinburgh’s Waterfront make the city a remarkable place to visit.

Here are our top five free things to do in Edinburgh.


The National Museum of Scotland

This is a no brainer, perfect for all ages. It was formed in 2006 with the merger of the new Museum of Scotland, with collections relating to Scottish antiquities, culture, and history, and the adjacent Royal Museum (so renamed in 1995), with collections covering science and technology, natural history, and world cultures.

Things to do for Free in Edinburgh

Walk up Calton Hill

The panoramic views from Calton Hill have astonished and inspired visitors for centuries. Major landmarks can be seen from a bird’s eye view: Arthur’s Seat with the Crags behind Holyrood Palace and the Parliament, Leith and the Firth of Forth, Princes Street in its New Town grid, and the Royal Mile climbing up towards the Castle.

Things to do for Free in Edinburgh

Free Walking Tours

Tours are available on a daily basis, and including a variety of topics from history to Harry Potter. It’s a great way to get an introduction to the city from a local, and learn about plenty of interesting stuff in the process!

St Giles Cathedral

The Cathedral is positioned in the heart of the Royal Mile and is regarded as the Mother Church of World Presbyterianism. Today the church plays an important role in the cultural life of the city and nation, playing host to a wide variety of concerts, lectures, exhibitions, and civic ceremonies.

Visit One of Edinburgh’s Many Art Galleries

​If you are a fan of art then you are in the right place, whether you are more into a modern minimalistic style, photography, or traditional 15th-century masterpieces, there is a gallery for everyone.

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