Free Things to do in Edinburgh This St Andrews Day

A brief history lesson first before all the free things!

The name Andrew has associations with the word strong. Whether the Gaelic fisherman himself was strong in a physical sense sparks quite a debate amongst fellow Scotsmen. What we do know however, is that Saint Andrew possessed fantastic communication and social skills, which lead to his sainthood to this day.

Saint Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland and he was used as an appeal to the Church for the country’s protection in 1320. The appeal was to keep inhabitants safe from the invading Englishmen, and the Kings who wished to conquer Scotland. It is said that William Wallace and Robert the Bruce also appealed to Saint Andrew to guide them in their fight against the English.

The Scottish Flag

The Scottish Flag, officially named the Saltire, is known as the St. Andrew's cross. Blue with a white Saltire (or cross), the flag’s name comes from the legend that St. Andrew was crucified on the same cross at Patras.

Modern-day Saint Andrew's day

For those who didn’t know, St. Andrew's day falls on the 30th November. Here in the capital the day itself is a big affair. The celebrations are widely spread throughout Edinburgh, with many attractions offering a whole host of free things to do. We know that everyone loves a bargain, so we’ve listed the biggest and best finds for a free activity in Edinburgh around the time of St. Andrew's day.

St. Andrew's Square Gardens

What better place to start the St. Andrew's Day celebrations than in the Gardens named in his honour? This is a fun and free family event, with something for everyone. The celebrations kick off at 11am, with the last act starting at 7.30pm. Whilst it is a free event, it is ticketed, so early booking is advisable.

Scottish Storytelling Centre

To celebrate St. Andrew's Day the Scottish Storytelling Centre is holding a host of free events on 28th November with an additional live music performance from the Scots Music Group on December 1st. The event will see an interesting mix of readings, talks and suppers combined together. Traditional favourites such as Oor Scotland and a family ceilidh will provide some of the highlights from the programme.

Edinburgh Castle

For those who want to get in and see the glorious Edinburgh Castle, but at the same time save their pennies, then St Andrews Day is the day to do it. For one day only, Edinburgh Castle opens its doors for free (Usually £16.50 for adults). The Esplanade up to the castle in the morning has a lantern making event on the day, and if you have never seen it, it is well worth a visit. It lasts from 11am - 4pm and is great fun for young and old. There is also the world famous 1pm gun blast; children will love seeing the cannons being fired!

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh host a number of exotic and native plants and is a centre for science and research of plant life. The aim of the Royal Botanic Gardens is to preserve and protect plant life. On St. Andrew's day, the RBGE is offering free entry into each of the four gardens.

If any of the above activities are not to your tastes, there are also a wide number of events and attractions offering 2 for 1 entry and kids go free. Further information on these events can be found at

Read our other post Free Things to do in Edinburgh for more free activities to take advantage of whilst in Edinburgh.

What will you be doing in Edinburgh this St Andrews Day? Let us know @ReserveApts!

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