Activities Advice Days Out Ideas Summer Themed Fun Time Killers

Free Things to do in Edinburgh

Written by Claire

Are you looking for a fun day out in Edinburgh that doesn’t cost a lot?
Here’s our handy guide with some super lovely spots!
From galleries, museums and lots more to do and see,
The best part is these activities are all completely free!

Edinburgh Food Festival

21st July – 30th July 2023

This gigantic celebration of all things street food is world-famous for a reason! It’s an unmissable day out for the whole family with hundreds of stalls to explore. Discover new things, challenge yourself and immerse yourself in the smells and sights of the food festival! Find out more.

Arthur’s Seat

If you fancy a walk then why not take the family to Holyrood Park to take in some stunning views of this beautiful city. There is plenty of space for the children to run around, places to feed the ducks and lots to explore! On a sunny day, Arthur’s Seat is the perfect place to have a picnic. Find out more.

Scottish National Gallery

Scottish-National-Gallery on #Daysoutwithkids

Located in the centre of Edinburgh, this world-class gallery has 5 exhibitions and 29 displays with some must-see pieces of art. There are 3 interconnected buildings showcasing the work with both permanent and temporary exhibitions for your budding little artists to enjoy! You can see pieces of art by famous painters such as Titian, John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough and David Wilkie. Find out more.

Museum on the Mound

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The Museum on the Mound is a great place for both you and the kids to learn about the history of money. It’s told through themes of art, design, technology, crime and security. Explore the story of Scotland’s oldest bank, and discover what different shapes and forms money has come in over the past 4,000 years. Kids can try to crack a safe, do coin rubbing and even build a model of the bank! Find out more.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Just one mile from the city centre, these beautiful gardens and grounds are a tranquil oasis. There is a fee to enter the dramatic glasshouses but entrance into the gardens is free. There are 72 acres for you to explore, which includes a lovely pond where you will find lots of ducks and the waterfall in the rock garden area. Find out more.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

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These two art galleries, Modern One and Modern Two, are home to Scotland’s national collection of modern and contemporary art and situated within beautifully sculpted parkland. The space is great for exploring with the family as there are works by Henry Moore, Hamilton Finlay and many more artists. In Modern One you’ll find pieces from the beginning of the 20th century including cubist paintings, expressionist pieces and modern British art. Artists featured include Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Damien Hurst and Anthony Gormley. In Modern Two there’s a selection of the world-class works in the permanent collection. There’s even a recreation of Eduard Paoloizz’s studio! Find out more.

Calton Hill

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For some of the best views of Edinburgh climb the steps to the top of Calton Hill! The park is part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes a footpath all around the park. Here you’ll find buildings such as the National Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument and Nelson’s Monument, as well as the Old Royal High School, the Robert Burns Monument, the Political Martyrs’ Monument and the City Observatory! Find out more.

Museum of Childhood

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Bring the family here for a fun couple of hours exploring the history of toys, games, health and schooling. There’s plenty for children to do including hands-on activities, a puppet theatre and a dressing up area. The exhibitions are changed regularly exploring different subjects and objects. You can see optical and construction toys, cars from Dinky miniatures to child-size pedal cars, toy soldiers, puppets and dolls’ houses. Find out more.

National Museum of Scotland

Discover the fascinating history of Scotland at this wonderful museum. The exhibitions cover many different subjects from the natural world, to technology and even art so you’ll learn all about Scotland’s interesting history! There are many temporary exhibitions so there is always something new to see. Find out more.

The Museum of Edinburgh

Find out all about Edinburgh’s rich history by walking through a maze of rooms crammed full of iconic objects from the city’s past! You’ll get to see how the city has evolved and discover more about its residents. There’s also the new blacked-out theatre where you can watch the city grow beneath your feet! Find out more.

Water of Leith Walkway

This walk is ideal for a family stroll! Water of Leith Walkway takes you through many areas of interest including Murrayfield Stadium, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and The Union Canal. The walkway passes right through the heart of the city. You can choose to join and leave it at many different places along the river! Find out more.

Edinburgh Old Town

Edinburgh’s Old Town is a labyrinth of cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards, all amazingly well preserved and steeped in the city’s history. At its centre is the Royal Mile, a remarkable street of Reformation-era tenement buildings leading from the seat of Edinburgh Castle on Castle Rock down to the grandiose Palace of Holyroodhouse. Find out more.


Do you know any more fab and free activities? We’d really love to know! Someone else might love it, and really want to go! If you’ve got ideas, suggestions or reviews, you can shout all about it on whatever channel you choose!

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