Free Edinburgh attractions itinerary

Spend a day exploring Edinburgh with this helpful introduction to the city’s many free attractions. Regardless of the weather, there's a wide choice of fantastic indoor and outdoor attractions in this wonderful city that won't cost a penny!

Share
The main hall in the National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

Attraction

One of Edinburgh's most visited attractions, it has had a £46 million redevelopment and now boasts 20,000 objects across 36 galleries. From dinosaur bones to designer chairs and mummies, a world of discovery awaits on every floor.

National Gallery

Scotish National Gallery

Attraction

The Scottish National Gallery is one of Scotland’s top free visitor attractions. It houses Scotland’s national collection of fine art from the early Renaissance to the end of the 19th century.

Looking across a road to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Activity

Visit one of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings and explore a fascinating overview of Scotland's past and present through a wealth of imagery which encompass painting, photography, sculpture and film.

Visitors walking along the landform installation 'Ueda' by Charles Jencks outside the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Attraction

Home to Scotland’s outstanding national collection of modern and contemporary art, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art comprises two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two.

Looking down the Royal Mile towards St Giles' Cathedral

St Giles' Cathedral

Attraction

The famed crown spire of St Giles' Cathedral, located on the historic Royal Mile, is one of the most iconic parts of the Edinburgh skyline. Founded in the 1120s, the church is often referred to as the 'cradle of Presbyterianism'.

Exterior of the Writers' Museum

The Writers' Museum

Attraction

Located on Lady Stair's Close, the Writers' Museum celebrates the lives of three of the most influential writers in Scottish history; Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Browse the collection of objects once owned by the writers.

The exterior of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Scottish Parliament

Attraction

Learn about Scotland's fascinating political history at the award-winning Scottish Parliament, one of Scotland's most distinctive buildings. Take a free tour, visit the debating chamber and see the parliament in action.

A couple enjoy the autumn sunshine in the Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Attraction

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is considered to be one of the finest in the world and boasts a wide variety of beautiful and unusual plants. Enjoy some peace and tranquillity amongst 70 acres of stunning scenery, just 1 mile from city centre.

Exterior view of the Museum of Edinburgh © Courtesy of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

Museum of Edinburgh

Attraction

The Museum of Edinburgh is home to important collections on the history of Edinburgh, from prehistoric times to the present day.

Exterior view of the Museum of Childhood © Courtesy of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

Museum of Childhood

Attraction

The Museum of Childhood is a favourite with adults and children alike. It is a treasure house, where the young can learn about the youth of the past and adults can enjoy a trip down memory lane by browsing a wide range of games and toys, past and present.