Best Budget City Breaks: Edinburgh for Less
Just because funds are tight, it doesn’t mean Auld Reekie is out of your reach. Edinburgh is a vibrant city with a magnificent castle, party atmosphere, and vibrant festivals – and you can enjoy it all without spending big. Be creative and follow our advice to enjoy a budget break in Edinburgh that feels like a whole lot more.
Don’t turn your nose up at hostels – they’ve come a long way from the days of grimy shower blocks and dodgy bunks. In addition to shared dormitory accommodation, most hostels have private single or double rooms. Have a look at Smart City Hostels. Other cheap accommodation options include staying on campus at a university (only possible from late June to September) and low-cost B&Bs.
Sights for Free (or almost free)
Edinburgh is a forgiving place for those on a limited budget, as entry into most of the attractions is pretty affordable. If you are hoping to pack a lot in during your visit, consider buying an Edinburgh Pass, which offers cash-free entry to more than 30 attractions, special offers, and a free Airlink return from the airport. If you’re touring around Scotland and are keen on castles, consider investing in Historic Scotland membership before you travel. Two adults and children can buy annual membership for £89, which covers entry into Edinburgh, Stirling, Urquhart, and St. Andrew’s castles, as well as a range of other Scottish attractions. Of course, it costs nothing to climb to Arthur’s Seat and enjoy stunning views of Edinburgh city and the harbour. Entry into Edinburgh’s many parks and gardens is also free.
A hot meal for under pennies? Impossible, you say? Not at Piemaker on South Bridge, a pasty and pie shop that sells bridies (Scottish meat pies) for under £1, as well as other cheap and flavoursome tasties. For something a bit more upmarket, try Yummytori, Lothian Road, where you can grab a bento box of three grilled skewers, rice, salad and a side with miso soup and dessert for under a tenner. Los Cardos on Leith Walk delivers tasty and filling burritos (haggis, anyone?), and our choice of Indian is Bollywood Coffee Box on Bruntsfield Place. For great Scottish produce, try the Edinburgh Larder on Blackfriars Street. Their dark chocolate and nut brownies are legendary.
Edinburgh is a compact city that is easily traversable on foot, although you may find the hilly terrain tough going after a while! For the most flexible transport option, particularly if you fancy getting out of the city to explore the stunning coastline and nearby gems such as St. Andrews, car hire in Edinburgh is really the best and most affordable choice.