Here in the UK, we are truly blessed with some of the most amazing countryside, not just in the country, but the entire world. As wonderful as the countryside can be, you also cannot overlook the fact that a city break can also be a fantastic way to spend your free time, providing you know where to go.
Scotland is one of the most stunning countries in the world, and it also happens to be home to some very special cities, including its capital. Just to be clear, we are of course talking about Edinburgh. Edinburgh is the second most-visited city in the UK, second only to London, and if you decide to go you’ll be spoilt for choice of what to do.
One reason why some people are put off from city breaks, is because of the fact that many attractions and activities are tourist traps that cost a small fortune. As the saying goes, though ‘the best things in life are free’ and if you decide that Edinburgh might be for you, there are plenty of fantastic ways to spend your free time, for, erm, free.
Here are se7en examples of the best free activities to do in Edinburgh.
Take a Hike up Arthur’s Seat
One of the best things about Edinburgh is the fact that, as stunning as the city is, it is also surrounded by some equally as stunning countryside. Just outside of the city for example, you will find a hiking trail known as Arthur’s Seat.
Arthur’s Seat is a wonderful hiking trail to follow, especially in the summer when it only rains once a day instead of several times. No, we kid, we kid, as in actual fact our summers aren’t always as bad as people make out. If you’re looking for a way of burning calories and getting some fresh air before heading into the city, Arthur’s Seat is the perfect route to follow.
The trail is basically the result of volcanic activity in the region millions of years ago, which has resulted in hills and rock formations which you can hike up to get a stunning view of the city below.
Arthur’s Seat provides amazing views of the city, as well as landmarks including Edinburgh castle, so be sure to have your camera handy.
Make use of a free walking tour
If you want to see more of the city itself, one of the best ways of doing so in a cost effective manner, is to make use of one of the many walking tours provided throughout the city, which also happen to be free.
Each day you’ll find free walking tours provided throughout the city, so you can learn about the different areas, see the sights, and learn some new and interesting facts. With many tours originating from the Royal Mile, keep an eye out for tour guides when out and about.
Embark on your own Harry Potter tour
If you’re a Potterhead, Edinburgh will hold a special place in your heart already, just as it does with author J.K Rowling. Why? Because Rowling was from the area, and still is in fact, and it was here where she penned most of, arguably, the most famous series of books in history.
Now, if you want to keep the magic alive, why not embark on your very own Harry Potter tour around the city?
There’s the Elephant House, which is a café that Rowling would frequent in the very early stages of writing the first Harry Potter book. Then of course, there’s Greyfriars Kirkyard, which she took inspiration from, as well as George Herriot’s School, which inspired Hogwarts!
Marvel at the beauty of Dean Village
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city living, why not embark on the outskirts of Edinburgh, and explore what the surrounding areas have to offer?
One location you’ll discover nestled on the banks of the Water of Leith is Dean Village. Untouched by the hands of time, this quaint and beautiful village is an oasis of peace, tranquillity, and natural beauty.
Once home to a series of water mills, there is an industrial feel to the area, despite its beauty.
This is one of the most photographed parts of Scotland.
Go window shopping in Leith
Not too far away from Dean Village you’ll find the trendy, upmarket, and beautiful area that is Leith. Home to cobbled waterfront streets, cafes, quirky shops, upmarket shops, pubs, restaurants, and bars, Leith is a great place to go shopping, even if it is just window shopping.
Snugly nestled on the coast, here you’ll find unique shops, live street music, exhibitions, free events, pop up events, live entertainment, and a whole lot more besides.
Try to avoid hyperthermia and enjoy fish and chips at Portobello Beach
Again, we’re only kidding, as during the summer, Portobello Beach is a very popular tourist attraction that is completely free to visit, and the weather is actually pleasant.
People often forget that Edinburgh is in fact located on the very fringes of the North Sea, making it very popular in the summer.
The beach itself is well maintained, and the ice cream and fish and chips here are out of this world. If you do decide to take a dip in the water, though, be sure to have a warm change of clothes handy.
Take a look around the Scottish National Gallery
If you’re an art-lover, you’ll know that Edinburgh is one of the many art capitals of the world, and, is a creative’s dream come true.
The Scottish National Gallery isn’t very large, so it won’t take you long to visit, but what a treat you’re in for.
Home to some of the most amazing pieces of art on the planet, you’ll enjoy pieces of art by artists such as J M W Turner, and the Scottish legend that is William McTaggart (now there’s a truly Scottish name if ever there was one).
As you see, there are plenty of free things to try out if you ever find yourself in Edinburgh. Until you get to visit this amazing city, stay curious and don’t stop wandering!