Thursday, November 12, 2015

5 Free Things to do in Edinburgh

We're very close to Edinburgh this year so we've been into the city a few times to explore. I noticed that Edinburgh has tons of free activities which is great because free is usually harder to find in larger cities. Here are five - a few that we've enjoyed and a few we want to try:

1. Walk the Royal Mile. This is the main street in Edinburgh which got its name back in the 16th century when the king used to travel between the castle (at the top of the street) and the Palace of Holyroodhouse (at the bottom of the street). Now, it's filled with restaurants and pubs, all sorts of shops and many of the city's main sights are just off this street. It's great for a stroll, to get a feel for the city, for listening to bagpipes and for people watching.

2. Arthur's Seat. This hill is perfect for climbing (it's a 30-45 minute hike to the top) and the views of the city (and sea) below are stunning.

3. Galleries and Museums. I was looking for Edinburgh tips in my guidebook one day when I realized that many of the major museums and galleries offer free entrance! My mom and I checked out the Writer's Museum a few weekends ago where we learned about Scotland's three most famous writers, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson whose poems I used to love as a child. Other free ones include the National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Fruitmarket Gallery and the Museum of Edinburgh.

4. Calton Hill. Providing another great view of the city (some say even better than Arthur's Seat), this is Edinburgh's acropolis with several memorials dating from the first half of the 19th century.

5. Have a picnic in the park. On a nice day, the Princes Street Gardens are a lovely place to sit. There are plenty of benches and it would be fun to bring a picnic and eat in the park while enjoying the sun. After being in Scotland for three months, I've noticed that when the sun is out, you have to take full advantage of it and soak it up - this would be a great spot to do that.