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Sightseeing on a Budget in Edinburgh

Sightseeing on a Budget in Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital city can be just as expensive as its international counterparts, but with some advance planning it’s possible to experience the best of the city without breaking the bank. From combo tours to free-to-enter attractions, here are our top tips for optimizing your budget in Edinburgh.

Save on Transport with a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

No need to count your pennies to see if you can board the public bus—hop-on hop-off tours offer unlimited use of the service over 24 hours. Routes typically encompass main attractions, including Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood, and the Royal Mile, so you can save time and money as you effortlessly zip around the city’s steep streets.

Capitalize on a Combo Deal

Get more out of your booking by combining a city tour with a must-see attraction. Rather than splurging for multiattraction access, combo packages allow you to get your bearings with a guide then explore a top attraction independently, making them a great choice for travelers with a particular interest or an easy way to check off the iconic Edinburgh Castle. Bonus: Skip-the-line access is typically included.

Book a Super Saver

Super Savers combine two of Edinburgh’s most popular tours at a discounted price, saving you both time and money with a preplanned itinerary and easy transition between experiences. For instance, you could dedicate an afternoon to discovering Edinburgh’s rich royal history, then embark on an underground tour for a very different perspective.

Combine Dining with Discovery

Placate belly rumbles and bank account grumbles on a meal-inclusive tour, ticking off sights such as Arthur’s Seat, the Scott Monument, and Greyfriars Bobby as you tuck into lunch or dinner on a bus tour, or immerse yourself in Scottish culture with a dining experience that combines classic cuisine with cultural insights.

Make the Most of Multiattraction Passes

For travelers who want to pack in as many sights as possible, access packages, such as the Edinburgh City Pass, are a great way to save money and explore at your own pace over one or more days. Free entry to several city attractions is included, as well as round-trip transfer to the airport via tram.

Take Advantage of Free Attractions

Scotland’s national museums are universally free, making both the Scottish National Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland a great choice for budget-conscious visitors. Other free-to-visit attractions include St. Giles Cathedral, the Royal Botanic Garden, and the Scottish Parliament Visitor Centre, though for the most authentic Edinburgh experience, it’s worth hiking up to the summit of Arthur’s Seat for sweeping views of the Scottish capital and beyond.

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5 Tours and Activities

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City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

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1307
An Edinburgh bus tour is the perfect way to hear commentary on city sights and get a panoramic overview. This City Sightseeing tour of Edinburgh lets you hop on and off at several strategically placed stops as many times as you like. Board the open-top double-decker bus and travel the entire route, or stop at Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum and many more. Buses depart regularly and tickets are valid for 24 hours from first use.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$22.45
From
$22.45

Small Group Royal Mile Walking Tour with Optional Entry to Edinburgh Castle

Small Group Royal Mile Walking Tour with Optional Entry to Edinburgh Castle

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591
See the best of medieval yet modern Edinburgh on this walking tour with optional skip-the-line access to Edinburgh Castle. As you walk, listen as your guide shares the history of this formidable city with ancient Roman roots and UNESCO-listed pockets. Explore atmospheric cobbled walkways along the Royal Mile, breeze into Edinburgh Castle to witness royal opulence (if option selected), and pass iconic locations like St. Giles Cathedral, Parliament Square, and John Knox House.
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  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$27.30
From
$27.30

Edinburgh Afternoon Tea Experience
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Edinburgh Afternoon Tea Experience

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278
Knowing the best spots for a quintessential British experience in Edinburgh can be tricky. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea on a vintage Routemaster bus tour, and cruise past city landmarks including Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace as you sample fresh scones, sandwiches, and tea. Choose a departure time to suit your schedule, and capture stylish snaps on board the classic vehicle.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$51.91
From
$51.91

Small Group Edinburgh Royal History Walking Tour with Optional Palace Entry

Small Group Edinburgh Royal History Walking Tour with Optional Palace Entry

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28
Follow in the footsteps of Scottish icons like Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie as you unravel the truths and myths of Edinburgh’s royal history. Set out on a 90-minute walking tour of the UNESCO-listed Old Town, spot the royal sites along Canongate and admire the grand Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Queen’s official residence in Scotland. After a comprehensive introduction to Edinburgh’s royal roots, enjoy skip-the-line access (optional) to the Palace of Holyrood and explore the magnificent royal residence independently.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$48.55
From
$48.55

The Royal Military Tattoo Edinburgh City Tour Rosslyn Chapel and Dinner

The Royal Military Tattoo Edinburgh City Tour Rosslyn Chapel and Dinner

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5
Edinburgh is at its busiest during the Royal Military Tattoo but you can get away from the crowds on this private guided tour. Traveling in minibus in the company of just your party and a guide, explore the city streets from the medieval Old Town to the Georgian New Town before heading out of town to Rosslyn Chapel. Enjoy a 4-course dinner back in the city before taking your reserved seats for the spectacle that is the Military Tattoo, an unforgettable evening of music, ceremony, and dance.
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  • 12 hours
From
$531.76
From
$531.76