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Edinburgh on a budget: save on food, drinks, accommodation

posted by Liza 7th February 2016 6 Comments
Edinburgh on a budget
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Last updated on December 6th, 2016

We all know, the U.K. is expensive, and the capital of Scotland is not an exception. So read this post to learn how to visit Edinburgh on a budget and save on accommodation, food and drinks!

Edinburgh is a must. It has its own atmosphere and it’s a pretty unique city – doesn’t look like anything in the world!


However, without some tips, you will end up spending tons of money. And I’m sure you don’t want that! So, here are my 10 tips on how how to visit Edinburgh on a budget and save on food, drinks and accommodation.

1. Buy food in the supermarkets

Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-operative are literally on every corner. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll have a Lidl nearby. Don’t be ashamed of buying sandwiches and salads in the supermarkets, honestly, I can tell you, they are much better than half of the restaurants in the city 🙂 Besides, the Tesco Meal Deal is always an option!

2. Eat in student places

If you move towards The University of Edinburgh, you’ll find plenty of budget places to eat or cafe coffee. If you’re enough, you can have a hot meal for 3,5-4 pounds in the Main Library Cafe of the UoE (no student card is needed to enter the cafe) or a soup for takeaway in the Union of Genius for ca 4 pounds too. Also, there is a wide range of snacks, German Bratwurst, wraps and kebabs available next to the Uni, so with only 4-5 pounds you can have a nice meal. Not bad, huh?

3. Stay in hostels or check Facebook groups

Airbnb doesn’t work there. Well, technically it does but it’s more of a luxury in Edinburgh.
If you’re coming for a longer period, it makes sense to check Gumtree or student groups on Facebook like Edinroom looking for short-term rents.

4. Try to avoid coming in August

Why? Well, because the whole August is a nightmare! Please, don’t come in August, if you’re not coming for the Festivals. Unless you want to pay 20-100% higher prices for everything and stay in queues for hours. It’s extremely difficult to visit Edinburgh on a budget in AUGUST.

5. Don’t use public transport. Walk.

You can reach almost everything important in Edinburgh just walking unless you living somewhere in Gorgie. Don’t buy day tickets: even if you live in Gorgie, you will probably need just one return ticket and that’s still cheaper than the day ticket 🙂


6. Go to free attractions

I’m not the huge fan of Edinburgh castle so….
I won’t persuade you to spend 18 pounds for an entrance ticket there.

You can go to plenty of museums like “National Gallery” or “National museum” and spend nothing because all of them are free.


7. Visit cheap bars

The pubs and bars in the city centre are quite expensive, so again, move towards the University of Edinburgh, in the Teviot Row house there is the Library bar where you can find pretty cheap beers and simple drinks like gin tonic. Also, if you go down the Causewayside, you can find plenty of affordable pubs.

8. Check Facebook groups for great deals

In “Get rid of it Edinburgh” you can buy almost everything very cheap. The only downside: you need to check the group constantly and be the first to respond to the new offers.

9. Pay in cash

In some coffee places and cheap eateries of Edinburgh, there is a 0.20-50ÂŁ surcharge if you pay by card. So try to avoid this unnecessary costs by bringing some pounds in cash.


10. Go to clubs on the weekdays

Because of the weekends, there is usually an entrance fee up to 12 pounds. However, some places like Hive are crowded almost every day so if your feet are itching to dance, wait a bit and go when the weekend ends.

P.s.: The drinks in some bars and restaurants are cheaper on weekdays too!

Do you have some other tips for visiting Edinburgh on a budget? Leave them in the comments!

Here are some useful readings:
Things you need to know if you’re going to study in Edinburgh

10 ways to save money when traveling

Highlights of Isle of Skye by Inspired by maps

Also, don’t forget to pin this post about Edinburgh on a budget on Pinterest!

Edinburgh on a budget: save on hotels in Edinburgh

Share this post to save it for the future!

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