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Edinburgh Life Hacks Every Visitor Should Know

How to explore the Scottish capital on a budget

16 . 08 . 2017

Visitors to Edinburgh are spoiled for choice with an array of free things to see and do around the city.

Edinburgh is the perfect destination for a relaxing city break, with so much to offer at any time of year. When you consider the costs for accommodation, dining out and visiting attractions it can seem pretty expensive, however we believe it is still possible to experience the best of the city while on a budget.

So whether you are a local resident or visiting for the first time, here is our list of Edinburgh life hacks to help you save money and get the most out of your trip.

Edinburgh Life Hacks

© Scottish National Gallery

Visit a free attraction

Edinburgh has plenty to offer in terms of free attractions, with a fantastic choice of museums and art galleries all of which are dotted throughout the city centre.

Named as one of the UK’s Top 10 Visitor Attractions, the National Museum of Scotland houses more than 20,000 fascinating artefacts including the famous Dolly the Sheep. Make a stop at the Writers’ Museum to learn more about Scotland’s literary heritage or take a trip down memory lane at the Museum of Childhood.

To witness one of the best collections of fine art in the world, we recommend a visit to the Scottish National Gallery or why not admire the neo-gothic architecture of the National Portrait Gallery.

Go street art spotting

The art scene in Edinburgh is thriving and you don’t have to pay an admission fee to experience it. We recommend heading towards Leith to discover remarkable street art around every corner. The Mural Project is a public art initiative showcasing the city’s heritage and community spirit through visual narratives.

Read: Experience Art in Edinburgh 

Edinburgh Life Hacks

Dunbar’s Close

Discover hidden gardens

Edinburgh is blessed with an abundance of parks and green spaces meaning you are never too far away from a quiet spot in which to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Hidden in plain sight down a cobbled side-street, Dunbar’s Close is one of Edinburgh’s best kept secrets. Just minutes away from the Royal Mile, this quiet courtyard provides an oasis of calm to those who know of its existence.

Founded in 1963 by doctors Nancy and Andrew Neil, Dr Neil’s Garden is a true hidden gem. A hub of tranquillity overlooking the picturesque Duddingston Loch, the garden is open to all (who can find it) and entry is free of charge.

Enjoy a free comedy show

They say laughter is free and it is at The Stand Comedy Club. Open seven days a week, The Stand hosts a varied programme of contemporary comedy from some of the best comics in Scotland and beyond.

We recommend visiting on a Sunday afternoon to catch “Whose Lunch Is It Anyway?” the long-running improvised show by resident comedic duo Stu and Garry. The show is free to enter and the perfect way to nurse your hangover.

Edinburgh Life Hacks

The Stand Comedy Club

Admire the panoramic views

Edinburgh is a photographer’s dream, with one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. Luckily, if you wish to take in our magnificent cityscape from a new angle, there are plenty of unique viewpoints that won’t cost you a penny.

The National Museum of Scotland’s rooftop garden offers some of the most stunning views across the city and is an ideal location to capture that perfect shot of Edinburgh Castle.

For breath-taking views of the city’s diverse landscape, we recommend Salisbury Crags. With a route less demanding than Arthurs Seat and fewer tourists at the top, the Crags offer a detailed view of Edinburgh’s Old Town and beyond.

Catch a free film

Did you know Edinburgh has its very own free cinema? The Banshee Labyrinth is an underground rock bar housed within what’s rumoured to be one of the city’s most haunted buildings, but don’t let that scare you – within it you will find a charming, old-style cinema showing a mixture of classic films and cult favourites.

Hosting regular events featuring guest speakers and in-depth discussions which anyone can attend – the Banshee Labyrinth is the perfect date night for any screen junkie.

Edinburgh Life Hacks

© Fountain Court Apartments 

Download a free app

There are a whole host of apps available to make your visit to Edinburgh that little bit less stressful. If you are intending to use public transport during your stay, we recommend downloading the Transport for Edinburgh app. The app lets you plan your route, purchase tickets on your phone and find out when the next bus or tram is due.

For guests staying at Fountain Court Apartments, we recommend downloading our free concierge app. Use the app to request additional services and manage your stay from the palm of your hand. Available for free download here.

Read: It’s Here – The Fountain Court App

Go on a free walking tour

One of the great things about Edinburgh is how easy it is to get around on foot and because of this there are many fantastic free walking tours available. While an open-top bus may look like fun, we recommend taking a guided walking tour for a more immersive experience and a closer look at the hidden details of the Old and New Town.

Sandemans offer a variety of free walking tours lasting 2.5 hours. Each tour explores popular landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, Greyfriars Kirkyard and St Giles’ Cathedral.

Edinburgh Life Hacks

© Fountain Court Apartments

Benefit from local discounts

Dining out in Edinburgh can be a drain on your wallet, so it’s always helpful to know of any bar and restaurant deals. We recommend using 5pm.co.uk as a handy tool that lets you search for discounts within your local area.

Fountain Court collaborates with local businesses so that our guests can benefit from everything that Edinburgh has to offer. Simply show your key fob to receive exclusive discounts at a number of local eateries and attractions.

Edinburgh Serviced Apartments

© Fountain Court Apartments

Stay in a serviced apartment

Why not live like a local on your visit to Edinburgh? If you are planning a relaxing break in the Scottish capital, we recommend staying in a serviced apartment. At double the size of a regular hotel room, a serviced apartment is the best of both worlds, combining home comfort with hotel style.

Daily cleaning and linen services mean you can relax in the knowledge that after a busy day exploring the city your apartment will be clean and tidy. Save money and prepare home-cooked meals in your own fully-equipped kitchen. With a serviced apartment there is no need to miss out on the comforts from home. See our range of apartments.

Read: Five Benefits of Serviced Apartments


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