From beautiful beaches to impressive gardens – Edinburgh is a versatile city with plenty of things to do. Lots of activities do not require much money, so they are great for students with any budget. If you are a university student in Edinburgh and have some time to spare in between lectures, you should check out these 10 things to do as a student in Edinburgh!

Arthur’s Seat

Arthur's Seat things to do in Edinburgh as a student
Source: Daily Record

Arthur’s Seat is a must-do for anybody studying and living in Edinburgh. The extinct volcano is 251 metres high at the top, which can be reached by foot in about one hour. After the climb, you are rewarded with a stunning panorama view over the whole city and beyond.

Portobello Beach

Portobello Beach things to do in Edinburgh as a student
Source: Annan Solicitors and Estate Agents

If you fancy something more relaxed than a hike, you could visit Portobello Beach, the most famous of Edinburgh’s beaches. The two-mile promenade with its bars, cafés and ice cream parlours is the ideal place to wind down after a long study session. If you do want to be more active, Portobello Beach is also great for walking, cycling and – if you don’t mind the cold – swimming.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle things to do in edinburgh as a student
Source: Daily Record

If you want to discover something about Edinburgh and Scotland’s history, Edinburgh Castle might be worth a visit. As it is situated on top of the second extinct volcano in the city, you can additionally enjoy a great view over the city.

Royal Botanic Garden

Royal Botanical Gardens
Source: The Times

The Royal Botanic Garden is located within a walkable distance from the city centre. With its wide variety of plants, it is a great place for students to relax and enjoy spending time in nature. Special highlights include the ten glasshouses representing different climatic zones and the library. In winter, there are often light shows, which are definitely worth a visit as well.

National Museum of Scotland

National Museums Scotland
Source: National Museums Scotland

With its huge collection of exhibits from any discipline, the National Museum of Scotland has something to offer for any interest. It is also free to enter, making it a great activity for students in Edinburgh who are on a budget.

Scottish National Gallery

NAtional Gallery Scotland
Source: Art UK

The Scottish National Gallery houses Scotland’s national collection of fine art from the Renaissance till the end of the 19th century. Like the National Museum of Scotland, the gallery is free to enter. If you are interested in learning about art, you should definitely consider visiting!

Calton Hill

Calton Hill Edinburgh
Source: Collective Architecture

A visit to Calton Hill is another great activity for students in Edinburgh, which you can do for free. On top, you have a great view over the city as well as over several monuments, including the National Monument and the Nelson Monument. Calton Hill is a great spot for taking photos of Edinburgh as well.

Dean Village

Dean Village edinburgh
Source: Wandering Crystal

Dean Village, often referred to as “the prettiest place in Edinburgh” mainly consists of old buildings which were originally used as mills. This purpose is still evident in several symbols carved into stones. Only a five-minute walk away from the city, Dean Village is perfect for a relaxed afternoon out and is also sure to provide you with beautiful pictures.

Camera obscura and World of Illusions

Camera Obscura Edinburgh
Source: Trip Advisor

Visiting the World of Illusions is a little more expensive than most activities on this list, but it is certainly worth the money! Apart from impressive optical illusions, you get access to the Camera obscura at the top floor, in which the whole cityscape is projected.


Leith Edinburgh
Source: The Times

Leith is an area at the seaside of Edinburgh known as “the Shore”. During the past years, it built up a reputation as a district of high cultural significance. After a visit to the Historic Leith Theatre, you could go to one of the numerous bars or restaurants, which offer anything from burgers to cocktails and fresh seafood.

With the wide diversity of attractions Edinburgh has to offer, every student is sure to find something to do which suits their interest! As there are many activities which you can do for free, most of them are suitable for students on a budget as well!