How to enjoy Edinburgh on a budget

Holidays are fun. We all know it. Seeing new places, exploring different countries and cities and broadening your horizons. Holidays on a budget can be even more fun. You can’t just go to all the big attractions or eat in the closest restaurant. You have to really delve into the tiny back roads, find the independent bistros and eateries that get overlooked in the guide books.

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I have recently come back from four nights in Edinburgh on such a budget holiday. I’m still a student and the Bearded One is on a seasonal contract at the railway so we only had a certain amount of money between us. It didn’t stop us having the best time away without paying through the nose everywhere we went. Here are my top recommendations for enjoying your holidays without paying too much.

Stick with free attractions

In larger cities in particular this is such an easy thing to do. We were only in the city centre in the afternoons and we found a different museum every day. If museums aren’t your thing, try art galleries, churches, stately homes. Some places only charge for the inside part of the attraction – gardens and grounds can be enjoyed free of charge as long as you don’t go inside.

Don’t be afraid of supermarkets

When you have to buy three meals a day it soon adds up. Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk and store it in your hotel room. We had the option of a £6 continental breakfast in our hotel or pop down to the nearest express store. £5 later we had pastries, pancakes and juice for the next few days. As long as you only buy what you need you can eat pretty well on a tight budget.

On that topic, don’t go straight for the pre-made sandwiches and juices. A loaf of bread and a packet of ham, a bottle of water and some squash, will last you much longer for much less money.

Walk

Sounds silly doesn’t it? The major cities and holiday destinations are so compact that you can walk anywhere with half an hour or so. We stayed right on the edge of the city but could get to the centre with fifteen minutes. The walking is good for you and you can really enjoy the sights and sounds of the city more so than from behind a bus or car window.

Don’t waste your money on “souvenirs”

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Take a camera and shoot away. Put yourself in your memories and avoid the standard t-shirts and tat that can be found in every other shop. For me as a McGregor this was particularly difficult when everywhere there were items with my family crest or made from my family tartan. I limited myself to one item, which ended coming in at less than £10. It’s something I’ll use and something that I really thought about. So don’t grab the first keyring/scarf/magnet/teddy you come across.

These are just my thoughts about how to make your pennies stretch. Obviously, there are many other things you can do, from smart booking on your hotel to comparing forms of travel. But these are just a few things I learnt that perhaps will help you enjoy your break a little more.

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