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Little known to international visitors is that Scotland has its own parliament. And it’s based in Edinburgh. Although closed during the summer months when Parliament is recess, throughout the rest of the year you can go on one hour guided tours of the buildings for free. And learn more about Scottish law in the process!
The ancient churchyard of Greyfriars Kirkyard dates all the way back to the 16th Century. Located near the Old Town part of the city, a number of famous Edinburgh residents are now interred here. It’s also said that JK Rowling got much of her inspiration for names in the Harry Potter series by wandering around the graveyard and looking at the grave markers.
One of the best views over Edinburgh does not come in the form of a long hike, but more of a short stroll. Just a short way up, above Princes Street, you’ll find Calton Hill. Filled with monuments dedicated to famous Scottish residents, the area is included in UNESCO’s designated world heritage site of the city
It’s well known that JK Rowling lived in Edinburgh (and still does) while writing much of the Harry Potter Series. As a result, many of the locations in the books, and subsequently the films, featured heavily as inspiration for the magical series. Take yourself on a self-guided Harry Potter tour of the city to really get a feel for the real world behind the Boy Who Lived..

Of all the free things to do in Edinburgh, a visit to Dean Village is most probably my favourite. Situated just a short walk from the end of Princes Street, you’ll find a village which was first built for mill workers (dating back to a time when much of Edinburgh’s exports were focused on the mill trade). Today, the village is one of the cutest areas in the city and home to some of the most exclusive addresses…
Located in the very middle of the Royal Mile, St Giles Cathedral has stood for Centuries. Also known as the ‘High Kirk of Edinburgh’- Kirk is the Scottish word for Church, it’s the main Christian place of worship in the city. It’s also free to visit and well worth a visit, if only to admire the beautiful stained glass windows.
You don’t have to stay in the middle of the city to find free things to do in Edinburgh. Instead, consider a day trip from the city. Located on the very edges of the Scottish capital, Cramond Island makes the perfect day trip from the city. Once home to a Roman settlement, this tidal island is uninhabited and perfect for a nature escape.
Located in the ‘New Town’ area of the city (which nevertheless is incredibly beautiful and still centuries old), St Mary’s Cathedral was constructed in the late 19th Century. Designed in the Gothic style, the cathedral is just as beautiful on the inside, as it is on the exterior.