5 things to do in Edinburgh for a fiver

By , 27th February 2015

Edinburgh is one of the most visited destinations in the UK – and it’s easy to see why: its beautiful Georgian architecture, thriving foodie scene and fantastic evening entertainment are second to none. But with great popularity comes soaring prices: according to trivago, Edinburgh had the third-highest average hotel prices in the country in 2014.

So does that make Edinburgh an expensive city break destination? Not at all! In fact, the city is full of cheap things to do and places to explore. Here, we’ve hand-picked five unique experiences in Edinburgh – all for around a fiver.

For low-cost accommodation ideas, check out our top 8 budget hotels in Edinburgh.

1. Try a haggis burrito at Los Cardos

Los Cardos, Edinburgh - things to do in Edinburgh

You can’t get more Scottish than haggis. And it seems that despite its less-than-mouth-watering description, the popular national dish is having a bit of a revival, thanks – in part – to creative new fusion ideas like this one: the haggis burrito. Reportedly a favourite of Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting and Edinburgh-native, the dish is billed as a healthy alternative to typical street food, with a fresh, bold taste. Los Cardos is now a popular spot in the city and great for anyone who values cheap eats.

A tasty haggis burrito costs just £5.45.

2. Head to the Friday matinee at Edinburgh Filmhouse

Cheap things to do in Edinburgh - Filmhouse Friday matinee

Photo by chot_grg

The Edinburgh Filmhouse is just one of the many independent cinemas in Edinburgh. Found in a converted church building, it has an impressive auditorium and hosts a regular calendar of up to 700 events. But a trip to this beautiful cinema needn’t cost the earth – Friday matinee showings offer tickets at a reduced rate and there are regular BOGOF offers on selected films, not to mention the free monthly Filmhouse Quiz, which claims to be the best and most challenging in the country.

Friday matinee tickets cost £5.50 (or £4 for concessions).

3. Grab a secret cocktail at Panda & Sons

Panda & Sons, Edinburgh - things to do for a fiver

Photo from Panda & Sons

When it comes to great bars in Edinburgh for a cosy cocktail or two, Panda & Sons is in a league of its own. Hidden behind the veil of a vintage barbershop, the bar is accessed through a secret door disguised as a bookcase. Inside, guests are treated to a classic speak-easy atmosphere, with beautifully-presented exotic cocktails. Since its opening in November 2013, Panda & Sons has gained a loyal following, but still manages to maintain the charm of a (literally) hidden gem. Perfect for an inexpensive night out.

Price of cocktails £4.50 – £8.50.

4. Attend Red Raw comedy night at the Stand

Red Raw at The Stand - things to do in Edinburgh for under a fiver

Photo from The Stand

Probably the most famous comedy club in Scotland, The Stand opened in Edinburgh in 1995. Since then, it has provided both a launch pad for comedians like Frankie Boyle and Kevin Bridges to start their careers, as well as playing host to established comedians such as Billy Connelly. Today the comedy club organises up to ten shows a week, including Red Raw – a weekly beginners’ showcase, which presents the freshest new comedic talent in town. With entry just £2, it’s a cheap and iconic way to spend a night in Edinburgh.

Tickets for Red Raw at The Stand Edinburgh cost £2.

5. Taste Scotland’s best gelato at Mary’s Milk Bar

Mary's Milk Bar, Edinburgh - best gelato in Scotland

Photo by Rachel91

Found just off Grassmarket and offering brilliant views of Edinburgh Castle, this quaint little place has customers raving. The traditional milk bar is run by Mary, a Yorkshire-native-turned-Gelato-graduate, who hosts small parties, weekly workshops and regular tasting evenings to help others learn more about the art of gelato. On top of that, the cafe offers new flavours every week, as well as seasonal specials and gifts. The perfect place for cheap eats with a sweet taste.

Three large scoops cost around £3.

Featured image credit: Raphael Chekroun

To find accommodation in Edinburgh that won’t break the bank, click here.