Edinburgh on a Shoestring: An Authentic Cultural Perspective on Scotland's Capital

Edinburgh is a popular travel destination not only because it is Scotland’s picturesque capital but also because it is a city of museums, culture and history. The so-called Athens of the North is a hotspot for activities but also for extraordinary hotels. If you decide to do and see all the main touristy things, you will soon come to realize that spending money is easy. Nevertheless, exploring Edinburgh on a shoestring, or even for free, mostly comes with a different perspective on this beautiful city


Start Your Day with a Traditional Scottish Breakfast

A full Scottish breakfast consists of fruit and yoghurt, porridge with a pat of butter and brown sugar, buttered toast and a plate filled with egg, tomato broiled with cheese, bacon, sausage, beans and mushrooms. I shouldn’t forget to mention the black pudding. It’s all washed down with black tea and milk. Scots know the art of fueling for the day. For an enchanting coffee or tea experience, stop by The Elephant House where J. K. Rowling created the Harry Potter characters.

Go on an Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour 

This tour has been running since the mid ‘90s and is one of a kind. Professional actors bring you the best of 300 years of Scottish literature and pub life. It’s an alternative cultural activity with a great fun factor.Tours start at 7:30 p.m. If you’re a student and buy your ticket online, it costs you £9; the regular online price is £12. For spontaneous people buying right on location, it’s £10 if you’re enrolled at a university. The regular price is £14. 

Stroll along the River and Hike up Arthur’s Seat to Soak in the Spirit of Edinburgh

Edinburgh has many hidden little gardens such as Dunbar’s Close Garden. For a stunning view over the city, climb up Arthur’s seat, which is a part of the Holyrood Park that used to be a hunting estate. You’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view. There also is an extinct volcano in the park. If you simply want to take it all in, go for a riverside walk along the Water of Leith. Experience Edinburgh’s nature side on this walk.

Save Money and Do Free Things

For another great, alternative view on Edinburgh and a less intense hike go to Blackford Hill. Also, visit Incholm Abbey, for this is the best-preserved Scottish abbey. You can also go down to the Union Canal for some boat watching. Apart from that, there are certainly more cultural things to do.

Art and Culture on a Rainy Day

Scottish weather can be miserable, but the cultural activities remain. Visit the National Museum of Scotland, bringing you wild animals and loads of history, or spend a few hours at the National Gallery of Modern Art. Also, consider going to the Fruitmarket Gallery with its ever-changing exhibitions.

Edinburgh is a cultural hub. However, you don’t have to empty your bank account to get the best of it, for many times, the cheaper things offer you the best and most authentic perspective on a city. This is the case with Edinburgh, as well. 

There’s way more about Scotland than just it’s enchanting capital. For more information on what to do and see on a trip to redhead nation, check out this article. Don’t you feel like going just now? 

This piece is written in collaboration with Hipmunk in the course of the Hipmunk City Love Project.