Megabus challenged me to see how I would spend a day in Edinburgh for under £60. I couldn’t pick just one way, so I have given you four options!
The one where you see everything
Start off at the National Museum of Scotland, where you can spend HOURS wandering around for free. Who doesn’t love a freebie?
The National Museum is one of my favourite places to go in the city if I fancy a day out, purely because you can pop in and out as much as you like. There’s even a roof terrace where you can get an aerial view over the entire city.
Whenever I go to the museum, I ALWAYS get a veggie haggis toastie for my lunch from Bobby’s sandwich bar. They are the best toasties (in my opinion), they have options for all dietary requirements and cost only about £5 a head including a drink. A perfect wee lunch to give you an energy boost for a day of exploring in the city.
The Bus Tour
If you’re visiting Edinburgh and you want to see everything you can in one day, then I would definitely recommend a bus tour.
There are tonnes of different companies based in the city, one of which is just £10 a head. The best bit about a bus tours is that you can hop on and off at any point, get all the tourist information you could possibly ask for, and see everything in the space of a few hours.
When I go to a new city, a bus tour is my favourite thing to do mainly so I can get my bearings, but mainly because it’s a chilled out way to see an entire city in one day.
The Castle (pretty much)
If you’re visiting the city for only one day, then the most touristy place you can have dinner and drinks has got to be Cold Town House at the Grass Market, you can get a few drinks and some sharing bites for two for under £30. If you go on a Monday, you’ll be able to get pizza and a drink for only £8! Bargain.
Though Cold Town House has nailed it’s decor inside, I’m mainly recommending it because you can sit on the terrace garden overlooking Edinburgh Castle with a couple of drinks, and if I’m honest, the view is unreal.
£60 spent pretty quickly actually!
The one with the art galleries
The best cakes
I would start this day with a solid breakfast… of cake. The Naked Bakery, located on Hill Street, is my favourite place to grab a coffee and a cake when I’m up town for the day.
The cakes are to DIE for, but funnily enough, completely vegan. I’ve taken every single member of mine and my husbands family there to get one of their cakes and absolutely none of them can believe they are vegan they are SO good. Not only that, their coffee is amazing.
£10 spent (easily.. oops)
There are two galleries located right in the heart of the city centre, just off of Princes Street, and right next to each other.
The Scottish National Gallery is a personal favourite of mine. It’s where I found out that Princes Street Gardens used to be a Loch! There are some absolutely stunning paintings, and they even have some of Monet’s pieces. Just behind it is The Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture, which has it’s very own gallery of mainly modern art.
The next gallery, and probably one of the most beautiful buildings ever, is the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It’s about a ten minute walk from the other two galleries and is located on Queen Street. Be prepared to spend a while in there because it is HUGE. Me and Steve have done it across two days because we were not suitably fuelled on our first visit (no coffee and cake was a bad idea). There is a beautiful traditional old library where you sit and have a flick through some of the books too.
All of the galleries are free to enter, so another free thing to do in the city! I love those freebies.
The best dinner
Now you’ve got £50 to spend on dinner at Dishoom, which is on St. Andrews Square about five minutes from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Dishoom is pricey, but it is the best Indian restaurant I’ve ever been too, and it is well worth the money.
Everyone I know that has been says that it is LOVELY. The only thing is, the only vegan option is very, very spicy so if you don’t like spice, it’s not for you!
The one with a Sunday in Stockbridge
I spend almost every Sunday at Stockbridge market. If you like great coffee, street food and shopping from small local businesses, it is the place for you.
Whenever anyone comes to stay with us, we get up nice and early and walk over to the market. Around this time of year, you could stock up on some lovely unique gifts too.
But, when you’re at the market, there are a few things I force people to try (sorry guys). Considerit Donuts, because YUM, and Face Plant Foods. Both stalls are completely vegan, but you absolutely wouldn’t know it unless someone told you. I mean, considerit donuts have somehow figured out how to make a lemon shortcake donut with a little piece of vegan shortbread on top and it’s one of the nicest things I’ve ever eaten.
What you really want though, is one of these bad boys… A face plant foods toastie. You’ll be pleased you tried it. This one is the mac and cheese toastie!
The Botanical Gardens
You’ll need to walk off that full on brunch you had at the market, and the Botanic Gardens are perfect for that.
They are about a ten minute walk from the market, and are definitely one of my favourite nature spaces in Edinburgh. During the summer, we spend all of our time there just dandering about.
It’s free entry, and you’ll quite often see people sprawled out of the grass with a book enjoying the sun, though probably not so much this time of the year. During the winter though, you can get yourself some tickets to ‘Christmas at the Botanics’ which is a beautiful light installation at the Botanic Gardens and we’re going to it in a few weeks time!
The Sunday Roast
A Sunday wouldn’t be a Sunday without a roast. Hector’s is currently my favourite place to get a roast, but I would recommend booking if you’re thinking of going. You’ll find most places in Edinburgh are pretty busy, and Stockbridge on a Sunday is one of those places.
They even do a vegan lasagne! It’s just one of the nicest places to cosy up with a glass of red if you’ve had a busy day doing lots of touristy stuff, and lots of walking.
The one with the views
Calton Hill is one of those places you can view the entire city with just a short walk. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love walking up Arthur’s Seat, but in the current weather, it’s a no from me. It is bloody freezing up there in the winter, and if I’m being honest… I’m just a little bit too lazy.
Calton Hill on the other hand is right next to the city, and is only about a fifteen minute walk up a wee hill. You can take a wee picnic up there with you too.
Once you’re up there, you can see EVERYTHING. You can see the entire city, including the coastline, the bridges, the castle and just about anything else you can think of.
Up Calton Hill, you’ve got the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument and the observatory amongst a few other landmarks!
Time for some shopping
Who doesn’t love a bit of shopping? Calton Hill is right at the bottom end of Princes Street which gives you easy access to alllll the shops.
George Street is just behind Princes Street, and is home to my favourite shop, Anthropologie. Every time we’re up town, I drag Steve into Anthropologie because I am obsessed with their homeware. The cups, drawer handles, plates, glasses, cook books and everything else.
While you’re dandering up Princes Street, you can also dip into Princes Street gardens and see the fountain, it was getting refurbishes for the first year we lived in Edinburgh so now I take every opportunity to go and see it.
Cocktails at Juniper Bar
Can you think about a better way to finish a nice walk and a shopping trip than with cocktails? Me neither. Juniper Bar is located on Princes Street and has views that look over the Scott Monument, Princes Street and if you’re sitting at the right angle, the castle!
We’ve been to Juniper a few times with family and friends, and it is lovely inside. The cocktails are to die for, and if you don’t like cocktails they have a huge array of gins, beers and whiskey’s too.
These are just a few ways you could spend a day in Edinburgh for under £60, Steve and I do it pretty much every weekend!
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