Edinburgh For Less Than $25 A Day

Edinburgh is one of the oldest and most scenic cities in Scotland, as well as being its capital. For anyone visiting Edinburgh, they’ll be delighted with the sheer abundance of attractions, amazing foods, and welcoming people. Above all, however, most visitors are enthralled by the rich history that seeps into the very core of this city. Unfortunately, especially for travelers paying in US dollars, visiting any city in the United Kingdom can mean a very expensive vacation which is why we’ve set out how to spend just $25 (or around £15 with current conversion rates) or less each day during your visit to this fantastic city!

Walking through Edinburgh (very nice city!)
Walking through Edinburgh (very nice city!)

Cheap Transport

One of the biggest problems most tourists run into when traveling to Edinburgh, or anywhere in the UK for that matter, is transport. Edinburgh is a massive city and you can waste hours walking from destination to destination. Additionally, you’ll end up paying an arm and a leg for a taxi especially if you end up stuck in traffic (which will happen) and that price meter on the dashboard keeps climbing. Thankfully, all is not lost for anyone looking to explore all of Edinburgh without having to pay a fortune on transport – all you need to do is look towards the city busing options available at almost every street!

Edinburgh tour
Edinburgh tour

Bus fares are around two pounds for a single ticket to a destination, however if you’re a savvy shopper like we think you are, you’ll go for the day ticket at just three and a half pounds. A day ticket allows you unlimited trips on any bus or tram throughout the city for that day! And, if you plan on going anywhere after dark, you can get a Day & Night ticket for the exact same price and have busing options available till the wee hours of the morning!

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Good Eats For Less

The worst thing to do is travel on an empty stomach; however, fortunately for you, Edinburgh is truly a fantastic city to be hungry in. Whether you’re feeling a bit carnivorous and craving some traditional Scottish food, or you’re looking for something more akin to pizza and Chinese, you have a plethora of choices on almost every street!

Waiting for my beaf
Waiting for my beef

Dig your teeth into some famous haggis stovies and lamb stew for under five pounds at the Teauchters Landing, enjoy some fishcakes and curry from the Appetite shop for around five pounds in the Stockbridge district, or even enjoy a tapas dish around four pounds only at the Mother India Café. Additionally, if you’re on a night out and looking for something to quell the alcohol induced hunger cravings, you’ll find a multitude of fish and chip shops, or pizza shops, all around you offering food for well under five pounds!

Edinburgh pub_brew_dog
Edinburgh pub Brew Dog

Get Cultured

Now that you’ve got a full belly and transport anywhere in the city for the day, let’s talk about where to go! For those of you unlucky enough to come from the United States, and we say unlucky because the value of the dollar compared to the pound is atrocious, you’re looking at current conversion rates making that $25 of yours into just £15.5. So, if we average around £2-£4 per meal and £3.5 for a full day of transport, you really have a few pounds, at most, to spend on admission prices anywhere. No worries though traveler, Edinburgh is full of affordable attractions and many more of which are delightfully free!

Edinburgh Waverley railway station
Edinburgh Waverley railway station

 Museums on the Royal Mile

In Edinburgh there are four streets that equate to around a mile long and they start at the lovely Edinburgh Castle (which is a must see for anyone), and then stretch outwards. Fortunately for you, not only do you get to enjoy the beautiful views of the Edinburgh Castle on your hike along these four fabulous streets, but you can also enjoy four different museums along your journey that are 100% free admittance! With the Edinburgh Writers Museum, Museum of Childhood, Museum of Edinburgh, and The People’s Story, you’re bound to enjoy a full day of beautiful city sights and learning while on the Royal Mile!

side street
Side street

 Enjoy free local music

Sitting at the local pub and enjoying an alcoholic refreshment is something that is widely accepted and practiced in the United Kingdom and, subsequently, in Edinburgh. If you’re feeling a bit on the thirsty side, then check with the local pubs near your accommodations. Many of the pubs have live bands and musicians on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays making it well worth going to see. With tons of local talent, and many bands traveling from distant parts of the UK to play in Edinburgh, you’re sure to enjoy the free entertainment as well as the fantastic local brew!

whisky bar at royal mile museum
Whisky bar at Royal Mile Museum

Visit Old Town Edinburgh

Old Town is, you guessed it, a really old part of Edinburgh that dates back well into medieval times. Fascinatingly enough, many of the buildings and architecture definitely reflect their age and make for a fantastic day trip for any visitor. Walking around Old Town is completely free, though you’ll be hard pressed not to spend your cash at the local shops and pubs you see on your journey around! Definitely bring a camera with you, however, because the stunning churches and shops are absolutely breathtaking!

old parts of Edinburgh
Old parts of the city

Find New Friends to Explore With

The Scots are known for being very friendly. If you are not a shy person, you can strike up conversation and make friends very quickly. If on the other hand, you prefer to use friendship and social networking sites to make friends, one of the best sites you can use for free is Travel Friendz, a UK based travel and friendship website. This could be even a great opportunity, especially before this upcoming election, to see hear both sides of the argument for Scotland becoming independent. Unfortunately, you do need to book your visit to the Scottish Parliament building in advance, but just visit their website and you can schedule a visit during a debate and learn more about the political powers involved in Scotland!

scotish parliament
Scotish Parliament

 Be Political

A great, and free, attraction in Edinburgh is the Scottish Parliament building located on the Royal Mile. If you time your visit right, you can listen in on a political debate! This could be even a great opportunity, especially before this upcoming election, to see hear both sides of the argument for Scotland becoming independent. Unfortunately, you do need to book your visit to the Scottish Parliament building in advance, but just visit their website and you can schedule a visit during a debate and learn more about the political powers involved in Scotland!

Royal Mile museum
Royal Mile museum

Have you been to Edinburgh already? If so, what was your top attraction on the cheap there? 

See also  Ways to Travel the World on a Tight Budget


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Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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33 thoughts on “Edinburgh For Less Than $25 A Day”

  1. Avatar of Katie

    I’ve heard such great things about Edinburgh!! I also love walking around the different parts of any city I visit. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and, of course, it’s free!

  2. Avatar of The Guy

    Whilst Edinburgh is indeed a big city I’ve always found getting around on foot very easy and practical to do. The city centre is in fact relatively compact so it is easy to get to the main tourist places like Queen St, the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle etc.

    I’d also recommend going to Arthur’s Seat on a good day. This is a smallish climb in a hilly area just on the outskirts of the city centre. Once you get to the top you can get some great views of the city.

    I’ve known friends and my sister to live in Edinburgh and they see it as a vibrant and exciting city. I even considered it as my University city so it was always a contender.

  3. Avatar of CL (RealGunners)

    But.. but.. I think it is rather wasteful to leave out the Edinburgh castle. If you are going to tour Scotland instead of just Edinburgh, I would recommend to get the 3 Day or 7 Day Explorer Pass, it is only about £20 depending on season, and it gives you access to all the major castles and historic attractions all over Scotland, including Stirling Castle, Urqhart Castle (Loch Ness viewing point) and many more.

  4. Avatar of Stef

    I actually found Edinburgh ok to walk, at least the main things to do and see are accessible only by walking. Food is expensive though in the whole UK and you have to look for offers.
    I definitely have to go back to Edinburgh to hike up Arthur’s seat, I unfortunately missed that :/

  5. Avatar of Miriam of Adventurous Miriam

    I haven’t been to Edinburg yet, but I’ve often considered it since the plane tickets are rather cheap from DK. The old town looks really cosy and historic – I’d love to combine that with a trip to the highlands and Lock Ness. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Avatar of Paper Boat Sailor
    Paper Boat Sailor

    This is a gem of a post. Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in the world, but I do find it expensive to stay there for long-ish periods. But the relevant parts of the city can be walked I think, and like you point out, there is a bunch of things one can do for free. Looking for activities on the cheap actually sent me on a spree of discovery, and that’s one of the most special things about travelling.

  7. Avatar of Jessica (Barcelona Blonde)

    Edinburgh is definitely not cheap, but there are so many free things to do there! Just wandering around is a lot of fun, and the botanical gardens are incredible (another one for the list). There are also lots of nice walks, like up to Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill.

    Even though the bus pass is only 3 quid, I managed to get around Edinburgh by walking. It’s really not that big, especially as ll the main attractions are quite near each other.

  8. Avatar of Heather

    Edinburgh has been popping up a lot on my radar lately so I think it’s time to start planning a trip! I was concerned it would be too expensive since it’s part of the UK, but it looks like it will be affordable after all. Thanks for the tips!

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