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Student Stories

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Five low-cost activities to do in Edinburgh…

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…by Lena / from Germany / studying Intellectual History (MSc)

Edinburgh, with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, is a city that captivates the hearts of many. Being a student here is truly amazing, and you will certainly never run out of things to do. However, with it being such a wonderful (and hence touristy) place, the prices of many activities, as well as of food and drink, have been going up more and more. But just because you live on a smaller student budget, it does not mean that you don’t get to enjoy Edinburgh as much as anybody else. I’ve compiled five low-cost activities that you can do in Edinburgh that are just as fun as the more expensive treats.

1.    Join a free walking tour

Almost every big city nowadays offers free walking tours, and Edinburgh is certainly no exception. Several local companies provide free guided walking tours through the city where knowledgeable locals share fascinating stories about the city’s history, taking you through iconic landmarks such as the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, and Holyrood Palace. This is an excellent idea if you’ve just arrived in Edinburgh and want to get a general feel for the city.

2.    Visit the National Museum of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland

Both the National Museum of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland are free to enter, and they have such extensive collections and temporary exhibitions (that you sometimes have to pay for) that you could easily spend days in them. This activity is ideal for when Edinburgh has one of its long, rainy autumn/winter days, and you just want to take shelter from the wind and the rain for at least a little bit.

3.    Stroll around the Royal Botanic Gardens

With Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens, you have one of the largest plant collections in the United Kingdom and worldwide at your doorstep. They are a lovely idea for a good day out, particularly when the weather is a bit nicer. Consider taking a book, or take a friend and just wander around the gardens for as long as you please. They also make for stunning pictures, so don’t forget your camera!

4.    Browse the charity shops

Edinburgh has an incredible variety of so many charity shops. You can hardly walk down a street without passing one. So why not make a whole day out of it? If you are on a tighter budget, stick to window shopping, but if you’re in the mood to spend a bit, you’ll be able to find plenty of bargains and unique home wear and clothing pieces.

5.    Take a walk along Portobello Beach

A bit further out of the city centre but easily reachable by bus, pack your swimming costume (if you are brave enough), snacks and a thermos filled with your favourite hot drink and get yourself down to Edinburgh’s beautiful beach. While it might be nicer (and less windy) in the summer months, even a lovely winter walk along the water can calm you down and give you a much-needed break from academic work that we all need sometimes.

Edinburgh’s allure extends beyond its well-known attractions, and you don’t need to drain your wallet to experience the city’s magic. By trying out some of these low-cost activities, you can immerse yourself in the culture, history, and natural beauty that Edinburgh has to offer, creating memories that will last a lifetime without putting a dent in your budget. So, lace up your walking shoes and get ready to explore this captivating city without breaking the bank.

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