This guide is where to save money on tourist attractions and souvenirs whilst in Edinburgh. I've already written a guide on "Free things to do in Edinburgh" but I wanted to write about the sites you have to pay admission to and where to save money whilst here.
Ticket Buying Online
If you are a semi organised person like me, you've probably already checked out the online prices on some attractions. Pre buying online has pro's and cons however, if you already have your tickets at the ready you can save some time in the lengthy lines.
Some attractions have bigger discounts online the best are:
Edinburgh Zoo: Online Discount are available at least 3 days in advance and saves you 10% with standard adult at £17.50.
*Standard walk up price is £19.50.
To book tickets click here
Edinburgh Castle: When you buy tickets online for Edinburgh Castle you can only select an afternoon slot - which in all honesty is the best time of day to visit the Castle anyways. If you book online at least an hour in advance a standard adult is £17.00. Making a saving of a whopping £1.50, but the best part is the skipping the long lines at the entrance.
To book tickets click here
Dynamic Earth: If you choose to book your Dynamic Earth tickets online you receive a 10% discount and the tickets do not have an expiry date. Tickets are all electronically sent out.
Standard adult price online is £14.00.
To book tickets click here
Special Ticket Deals
On the odd occasion there are certain special ticket offers, ones that can be bought online and others can be found around Edinburgh.
The Royal Edinburgh Ticket
If you want to visit all things Royal in Edinburgh that include Edinburgh Castle, The Palace of Hollyroodhouse and The Royal Yacht Britannia then the best thing to do is to buy a combined ticket. The Royal Edinburgh ticket includes all three and includes the bonus of having the hop-on-hop-off bus ticket with three different tour buses to choose from.
The ticket is valid for 48 hours and the adult ticket is £55.00 and if you total up all the entrance fees and the cost of a bus ticket you get your money's worth!
Tickets can be bought here
On the Royal Mile on the Lawnmarket to be exact you will see an old school police box, the police box has been well utilised and has been turned into a ticket box for Edinburgh Dungeons. The Police box offers a special discount and includes a free souvenir guidebook.
The joy of buying tickets here is that it gives you the option of selecting your arrival time and you save 20% from buying there compared to on the door prices.
Tickets purchased at the Police box are £14.25 for an adult, compared to the walk up price of £17.95.
The ticket box can be found outside the entrance of the Bank of Scotland at 300 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh.
The online discount site has some excellent deals, in terms of tourist attractions I have selected the best with the biggest discounts.
Forth Boat Tours
Not technically in Edinburgh, but in South Queensferry the Forth Belle boat will take you underneath all three bridges, where you will see the surrounding islands and wildlife on offer. Gaze out at the seals and seabirds on their outdoor observation deck. The tour lasts for 90 minutes and there is a cafe and bar onboard too for some refreshments.
The groupon deal has 50% off which makes the tour £15.00 per person. To book the deal click here
John Knox House, Royal Mile.
Take a tour through this 15th-century house in the middle of the Royal Mile and learn about its important place in Scottish history.
The tour is set inside a medieval building dating back to 1470. Equipped with an audio guide, visitors can explore the house associated with The Scottish Reformation, which led to civil war and the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots. Guests will hear about the house's famous inhabitants including John Knox, a clergyman and writer, and James Mosman – jeweller and goldsmith to Mary, Queen of Scots – as well as the intruder-deterring tricks and traps, and The Oak Room's veiled devil.
The groupon deal is usually available all throughout the year. The John Knox pass for 2 adults is a bargain price of £4.00. Which is a 66% saving!
Tickets can be purchased here:
If you're visiting from outside Scotland then you may want to indulge in some Scottish delicacies and souvenirs.
If you want to buy the standard magnets, postcards ,pens and general bits and bobs then avoid the Royal Mile. Instead head to Princess Street. All along the way the tourist shops tend to be cheaper and in particular the shop The Works. The Works is a budget book shop but also has a large collection of souvenirs. They can be found at 63 Princes Street.
Harry Potter themed gifts
If you visit Edinburgh you may have noticed the phenomenon that is Harry Potter. There are excellent Harry Potter related stores, however they do come with a hefty price tag. If you want to buy a Hogwarts Scarf then head to Bridge Express Newsagents on George V Bridge.
The store has a good collection of Harry Potter merchandise, and their jumpers and scarves are reasonably priced.
If you want to take back some Scottish shortbread or maybe some famous Tunnocks Teacakes then head to Poundland or another Pound related shop (Poundworld, Pound Stretcher), the discount stores have a huge range of Scottish treats and it seems ridiculous to me that a standard box of Walkers shortbread on the Royal Mile can cost upwards of £5.00.
Cashmere and Tartan
Walking up the Royal Mile with all of the Cashmere shops can be overwhelming, if you want to buy fairly priced cashmere and wool products I'd suggest checking out the Tartan Weaving Milll at the top of Castlehill. The Weaving Mill warehouse is huge and if you're lucky you can pick up a good bargain, just last week they had plain coloured wool jumpers for £10. The shop also has all things Tartan and if you are researching your specific clan then this is the place for you.
Thanks for reading guys, I hope I've managed to save you some money whilst Edinburgh.