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Must-Do activities on a budget

My husband and I will be in Scotland for the first time in late May. We plan to spend 3 days in St. Andrews and 4 in Edinburgh. What are some things we MUST do/see and how far in advance do you recommend booking? I'm considering booking tours and planning what to do after we arrive and get a feel for each city but am not sure that's wise.


Posted by
600 posts

In Edinburgh, we thought the castle and the Palace of Holyrood house were definitely must-do things. Go to the castle on a nice day, if you can, because it is supposed to have really lovely views of the city, but it was fogged in when we went. Our other favorite things were walking around town, visiting St. Giles, and hiking up Arthur's seat, all of which are free. You can have a great time there on a budget! I'm not as familiar with St. Andrews, as we were only there for a few hours on our tour, but enjoyed a stroll around town, looking at the cathedral and castle ruins, and seeing the famous golf course. Hope you have a wonderful time! Edinburgh is one of our favorite cities!

Posted by
30 posts

Edinburgh castle was awesome in my opinion. I highly recommend booking that ticket/tour online in advance (a day in advance is fine, i think) as the lines can fill up quickly. I believe they fire the cannon everyday at noon, so I might suggest getting there for an early tour around 9 or so and then finishing up your castle experience as the cannon fires. We bought a ticket on the hop-on-hop-off bus right after the castle. It was a decent tour, but allowed us to cover most of the city in one day. I believe the ticket is good for 24 hours or so, so you can use it some of the second day as well for local transportation. Arthur's seat at sunrise or sunset is amazing. The hike really isn't too bad as you can drive pretty far up the mountain if you don't want too strenuous of a climb. St. Andrews was also beautiful. We walked along a few holes of the course and watched a couple groups play the 18th. It's nice to walk along the beach side as well. If you have the means, or modes of transportation, I'd also recommend the drive up to Stonehaven (about 1.5 hours from St. Andrews) for Dunnator castle. It was probably my favorite castle other than Edinburgh that we saw (for reference, we saw Edinburgh, Dunnator, Urquahart, Eilean Donan, and Inverlochy)