5/3 West Register Street, Edinburgh | +44 131 5570036 | info@haystackhostels.co.uk
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Top 5 Free Things to Do in Edinburgh

Top 5 Free Things to Do in Edinburgh

At Haystack Hostel, we understand that when you’re travelling on a budget, the last thing you want to do is spend lots on expensive attractions. Luckily, there are plenty of free things to do in Edinburgh for the budget traveller. Here’s 5 of them:


National Museum of Scotland

Open 7 days a week (10:00 – 17:00), the National Museum of Scotland is free to enter and perfect for a typical Scottish rainy day. Explore Scotland’s history, meet Dolly, the world’s most famous sheep and see the mysterious Arthur’s Seat miniature coffins for yourself. Don’t miss the roof terrace for a panoramic view of Edinburgh. You will find the National Museum on Chambers Street, Old Town, about 15 minutes’ walk from Haystack Hostel.

Calton Hill

It’s only a 10 minute walk from Haystack Hostel to the top of Calton Hill, a favourite view point of Edinburgh amongst our staff. Atop the hill you will find various monuments as well as the city observatory. But the best thing about Calton Hill is that it provides arguably the best place to watch the sunset from.

Top Tip: halfway between Haystack Hostel and Calton Hill is the Calton cemetery, a little known spot with great views of Calton Hill and the city.


Arthur’s Seat

Formed by an extinct volcano, hundreds of millions of year ago, Arthur’s Seat is one of the highest points in the city. It takes approximately 45 minutes to reach the summit (250m) which provides a 360° view of Edinburgh and Fife.

Tip: Save this one for a clear and not too windy day if possible and start your descent before it gets dark. Dress warm, wear appropriate footwear and always take a jacket, this is Scotland, remember!

Royal Botanic Garden

Over 300 years old and moving to its current site in the 1820s, the Royal Botanic Gardens cover 70 acres of stunning scenery. The gardens are a 20-minute walk from the hostel and are also reachable by bus.

Tip: From the Botanic Gardens, the water of Leith Walkway is easily accessible. You can walk along this river and take in Dean Village, a stunning residential area, before looping round the West End of the city, along Princes Street and back to Haystack!

Sandemans Free Tour

The Sandemans Free Tour is an excellent introduction to Edinburgh. The 90 minute walking tour covers the most historical part of Edinburgh, the Old Town. The meeting point is only 5-10 minutes’ walk from Haystack Hostel.  You just cross North Bridge and meet outside the Starbucks on the right. No ticket required!

Tip: Take this tour early on in your trip. The excellent guides will likely point out places you’ll want to come back to.


If you need any more information on anything here, please get in touch and we’d be happy to help!

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