The best areas to stay in Edinburgh are those in the Old Town and New Town, the area comprising both districts is the most central in the Scottish capital.
Dùn Èideann, as the city is called in Scottish Gaelic, was founded in 1125 on the banks of the Forth as a fortified settlement in what is now considered the Old Town.In fact, its Gaelic name means «Eidyn’s Fort».
Throughout history, Edinburgh has established itself as one of the most important cultural centres in the UK.First with the foundation of the University of Edinburgh in 1582, today one of the most important study centres in the world in technical careers such as computer science and, above all, for leading the enlightened period of the 18th century in the British Isles with the contributions of philosophers and economists such as David Hume and Adam Smith.
Since that period, many like to call Edinburgh the Athens of the North, both for its academic character and its resemblance to the ancient Greek city.In fact, there is an imitation of the Parthenon of the old Athens in the city: the National Monument of Edinburgh.
This monument, together with the districts of Old Town and The New Town got the UNESCO to declare Heritage of the Humanity in the year 1995 to part of the city.
Surrounded by golf courses, Edinburgh, capital of Scotland since 1437, is the second most visited city in the United Kingdom after London, having reached up to 13 million visitors in a single year.It is also the second most populated city in Scotland with just over 459,000 inhabitants, behind Glasgow.
After London, it is also considered the city with the best quality of life and the highest average salary, which affects sleeping prices in Edinburgh.Accommodation in Edinburgh is expensive, especially in summer, due to the well-known and international Edinburgh Festival, which can last all of August.
From form general, the price average a hotel of three stars round the 110 pounds, while that for one of five stars, the price doubles. In any case, the sector tourist of the city ha bet by the variety from prices and has from plus from 150 hostels, pensions and hostels including in the areas plus tourist areas, the that facilitates lodging in Edinburgh to affordable prices.
The best areas to stay in Edinburgh
Oldtown and Newtown are the preferred areas for most tourists visiting the city as they are the most central
One of the favourite neighbourhoods for visitors to stay in Edinburgh is Oldtown, in the heart of the city centre, which has its origins in the old Edinburgh Castle on a hill.It developed downwards to its present boundaries and reached a maximum population of up to 80,000 inhabitants, which today stands at around 20,000.The atmosphere of the Old Town is more of a tourist than a residential neighbourhood.
With high prices in 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, visitors can also find hostels and guest houses in the area (even in the so-called Royal Mile) and sleep in Edinburgh for between 20 and 30 pounds a night.
In addition to Edinburgh Castle, already in the lower part, it is advisable to visit the National Gallery of Scotland, opposite the main station of the city Edinburgh Waverley, which connects Edinburgh with the rest of Scotland.
In these streets, as it happens in Spanish cities like Toledo, guided routes are organized as the Mary Kin’s Close, which crosses several of these alleys that can remain hidden to the visitor who does not know this area.
In addition, around the castle there are other monuments of interest such as the Cathedral of Edinburgh St Giles, started to be built in 1124 and as old as the castle; the Writers’ Museum; the New College of the University of Edinburgh or the National Library of Edinburgh.
Statues of Sir Walter Scott, Adam Smith and other illustrious figures of the city surround the Royal Mile on either side, the main street of the neighbourhood – which actually consists of several streets – and connects Edinburgh Castle with another area of interest to the east: Holyrood Park, where you can find the ruins of the Abbey of the same name, built in the 12th century; the Royal Palace, its art gallery and the House of Baths, and the Scottish Parliament Building.
The Old Town is also an ideal area for all kinds of shopping, especially in small shops with a very interesting vintage touch.
For those interested in books, we recommend Edinburg Books, in West Port; to take a souvenir of the city, Context Interiors, at number 40 Victoria St, or to buy a good whisky, of course, you must visit The Scotch Whisky Experience, in the middle of the Royal Mile and where you can also learn the history of Edinburgh’s relationship with this drink over the years.
The Royal Mile is also the perfect location to enjoy the best entertainment in Edinburgh, especially at the intersection of this street with South Bridge are concentrated the largest number of restaurants, there are international cuisine as the Nepalese restaurant Gurkha Café & Restaurant in Cockbur St , or local as the Whisky Bar Restaurant on the Royal Mile.
Remember that Scotland, besides being known for its golfing, is also known for its whisky production, so many restaurants have a bar that specialises in this drink, an offer that extends to clubs and discos, whose highest density is in South Bridge, with discos like The Banshee Labyrinth.
North of the Old Town, its boundary with this is Princess Street and the park surrounding Edinburgh Castle, built in various phases between 1767 and 1850, along with the Old Town, is the World Heritage Site of Edinburgh.
Initially developed as a residential neighborhood to decongest the Old Town in a more Georgian urban style and is considered one of the best urban designs in the world.
As far as staying in Edinburgh for a few days is concerned, the areas with the most accommodation are north of Princess Street and the area around the Cathedral of St Mary of the Assumption.Other places of interest are the Royal Scottish Academy building; the great Balmoral Hotel, a magnificent building on Princess Street, or the Princess Street Gardens itself, bordering the Old Town.
If the Old Town has many old, small and cosy shops, in New Town, as well as the boutiques of George Street or the fashionable shops of Princess Street, this neighbourhood has many shopping centres where you can do all kinds of shopping.
The most interesting ones are in Princess Street and we must highlight them: House of Fraser Jenners Edinburg; the adjacent Marks & Spencer; Primark and Debenhams, as well as others southeast of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.
George Street and surroundings is the area of New Town with the greatest offer in restaurants, cafes and pubs.Among the main restaurants, the Wee Buddha, in the northern area and open until late; Dishroom Edinburgh, one of the best Indian restaurants in the city, or The Queen Arms, a typical British pub and restaurant where, by the way, language exchanges take place, in this case, Spanish and English.
To finish the day, apart from the numerous pubs in the area, it is interesting to visit some nightclubs that were once bank branches, one of which is The Standing Order, and there are other places where you can enjoy the nightlife and entertainment, such as The Snack Comedy Club & Nightclub.
– Accommodation in Newtown
The massive population of Old Town in the 17th and 18th centuries also led to the creation of a new neighbourhood, this time to the south and which, until then, was a rural area.
From the very beginning it was developed as a totally residential area and it still is today, although it has a special dynamism as it is very close to the University of Edinburgh and Meadows Park to the north, and it is also very well connected by bus to the centre by Newington Road.
Sleeping in Edinburgh in this area is significantly cheaper than in the central area for two reasons: it is further away from the centre and has a greater number of 1 or 2 star pensions and hostels, making it easy to find accommodation for around £50 a night.
The university atmosphere makes Newington a dynamic neighbourhood with many attractions. In the northern area, on the edge of the Old Town, besides the great Meadows Park, it is interesting to visit Bristo Square, where some of the most famous faculties of the University of Edinburgh are located, such as the computer science faculty.
You can visit the Anatomical Museum, the Surgeons’ Museum, George Square Gardens Park or attend a play at the Theatre Festival.It can also be interesting to approach two cemeteries with a lot of history: the Christian cemetery in Newington and the Jewish cemetery in Sciennes.
Newington shares with the Old Town part of the Holyrood Park, especially the part where you can find the Arthur’s Seat, the highest peak of this natural area with 270 meters and ideal for a break.
As for shops, they are mainly located on Newington Road, which changes to Clerk Street in this section and where you can find many small shops in the style of the Old Town, where you can buy almost everything from clothes to souvenirs and drinks typical of Scotland.
The choice of restaurants, pubs and nightclubs for nightlife is also important and more popular than in the central area, with a good selection of shops between E Preston and Salisbury streets.
The options include Turkish, Mexican, Thai and, of course, local food.Finally, in addition to the pubs, the nightlife can be enjoyed at the Teviot Row House in Bristo Square with its university atmosphere, or in pubs such as The Abbey or The Southern Bar on S Clerk St.
– Accommodation in Newington
4.Morningside & Bruntsfield
West of Newington are these two southern Edinburgh neighbourhoods.In the case of Morningside, it is much more residential than Newington and is dominated by houses with large gardens and rows of single-family houses where the upper class of Edinburgh usually live.
Thanks to Morningside Road and Bruntsfield Pl, both neighbourhoods are well connected to the centre by bus.There is not a large amount of accommodation but there are some hotels, apartments and, above all, cheap guest houses and Bed & Breakfasts.
Two of the most interesting places in Bruntsfield are the Barclay Viewforth Church of Scotland, a temple built 150 years ago with a large bell tower over 50 metres high, and Christ Church, a little further south.
Further south, on Morningside Road, if you turn into Spring Valley Gardens, you will find a curious Old West street, with a canteen and everything.
This area of Edinburgh is ideal for buying some gifts and second-hand items in the many shops along the main streets, which also include the best cafes such as Cuckoo’s Bakery, Falko and The Chocolate Tree.
– Accommodation in Morningside & Bruntsfield
Besides knowing the best neighbourhoods where to stay in Edinburgh you might be interested in knowing the same about other cities in the UK We suggest reading the following article: Where to stay in London, where to stay in Glasgow
West of Edinburgh Castle, between the Old City and Coates, is the Westend, well connected by tram, bus and train to the centre and noted for its Georgian houses, its great cultural offerings and clothing stores.As in the rest of the outlying districts, the Westend combines a residential atmosphere, especially in the west, with more lively areas and numerous tourist attractions.
One of these attractions is the Usher Hall, a splendid theatre surrounded by other cultural attractions such as the Traverse Theatre, the Royal Lyceum, the City Film Library and several other places that make the area around Lothian Road one of the most attractive areas on a cultural level in Edinburgh.
A little further west, is the centre and museum in honour of the writer Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the famous Sherlock Holmes character, and a little further south, the Anglican St Mary’s Cathedral.The Edinburgh Gin Distillery is an interesting place to visit for those interested in knowing how gin is prepared.
And for those in love with Georgian architecture, it is important to visit The Georgian House, in Charlotte Square or the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
In terms of shopping, Shandwick Place, the continuation of Princes Street is a good area.Frontiers Women Street, and other boutiques on William Street and Stafford Street, are also important, with luxury places such as the restaurant and bar One Square, in the Sheraton Hotel, and the cheaper Galvin Brasserie de Luxe or the Kyole Grill, specializing in meat.
For a drink in the evening, Whigham’s Wine Cellars offers a good atmosphere with concerts and Jazz Jam’s Sessons, and the Sygn cocktail bar on Charlotte Lane, an elegant place to end the night.
– Westend Accommodation
Edinburgh has its coastal area, large harbour and Leith district, where the river and Water of Leith flows, on the fjord that creates the mouth of the River Forth.The quarter, which was the setting for the film Trainspotting, became part of Edinburgh in 1920. It is residential and, although improved by tourism, is a lower-middle class area.In any case, the area is well connected to the centre by Leith Walk and has several attractions that are worth a visit.
The first of these is the port itself, which has areas of interest such as the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre, where there are several small docks, landscaped areas and where the former Queen\’s holiday yacht, the Royal Yacht Britannia, is moored.
This is one of the most visited attractions, as the boat is fitted out with a restaurant, gift and souvenir shop, and lookouts on the deck, a great experience to see what a queen\’s holiday on a yacht was like.
Another area of interest is the old port: The Shore.
There is a boat moored on this part of the river with a large restaurant and terrace, which some say serves the best seafood in the city.Broughton & Calton Hill
The last two areas of Edinburgh worth visiting are Broughton and Calton Hill, both east of New Town and with a similar density and prices of hotels.
In the case of the Broughton area, it is a residential area and known for being «gay friendly», especially Broughton Street or B901, which is part of the so-called «Pink triangle» of the city.Not far away, there is an example of a Georgian-style family home: the Gayfield House, built by the Butler family (father and son) between 1761 and 1764.
The nearby Calton Hill is not really a neighbourhood, but a hill with a number of monuments and attractions that are part of what is considered a World Heritage area in Edinburgh and can be easily reached from the centre on foot.
In the vicinity of the hill there are already places of interest such as the New Parliament House, the Edinburgh Playhouse or The Playfair pub, a very welcoming place.
As you continue to climb the hill, the number of attractions increases. On one hand, the traveller will find the Nelson Monument, a tower erected in honour of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson. Another place of interest is the Dugald Stewart Monument, which reminds us of the illustrated philosopher born in the city.
But of all these monuments, two stand out that remind us why Edinburgh is called the «Athens of the North»: the Calton Hill Observatory, located in a totally classical building, and the National Monument, a construction that reminds us of the Parthenon of Athens and that was erected to honour the soldiers who died in the Napoleonic Wars.
– Accommodation in Broughton & Calton Hill
Best area to stay in Edinburgh
The capital of Scotland is a relatively small city of about 500,000 inhabitants where we will never be too far from the centre , the best area to stay in Edinburgh .If we want to stay in the centre , in the middle of the bustle, we have to have the Edinburgh Castle as a reference.
Edinburgh Castle is the origin of the most famous street of the city, the Royal Mile The Royal Mile connects, from west to east, the Castle with the Holyroodhouse Palace, and is divided into six areas: Castlehill and Castle Esplanade, Lawnmarket, High Street, Canongate, Abbey Strand.
In addition to the Castle and the Royal Mile, which is an attraction in itself, Edinburgh’s city centre is home to other tourist attractions which can be visited on foot, such as: the Scottish National Gallery, Holyroodhouse Palace, St. Giles Cathedral and the Scottish Parliament.
If you are interested in knowing where to sleep in Edinburgh , you may also be interested in knowing where to stay in Glasgow and where to stay in London.
Downtown Edinburgh, the best area to stay in Edinburgh
The Scottish capital and second largest city in Scotland, Edinburgh is the second most visited city in the UK, after its capital, London.This beautiful city is famous, among other things, for its International Festival , the largest live performance festival in the world, as well as for its medieval air, its castles and its vast green areas.
The Edinburgh Castle , located on the extinct volcanic rock called Catle Rock, is one of the icons of the city and the most visited tourist attraction in Scotland.This imposing 12th century fortress, located in the centre of the city, had, for years, a military purpose. Situated at the top of the Royal Mile, the castle, which is accessed by a wide esplanade, needs several hours to be visited, as it houses many points of interest, such as the cannon inside, which is fired every day at 1pm, paying tribute to a tradition of more than 150 years ago.St. Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh’s oldest building, is also located within the castle, which has at its feet the impressive Holyroodhouse Palace, the official residence of the Queen of England in Scotland.It is an Augustinian building from the 12th century, which is currently in ruins and which arouses great interest because of its mysterious and romantic air.
As we have mentioned, the Royal Mile , the longest (almost 2 kilometres long) and most famous street in the city, is divided into six areas, with High Street, the third section, being the one that brings together the most people, because of the bars.One of these is St Giles’ Cathedral, built on the site of an ancient shrine built in the 9th century and remodelled many times, the heart of Midlothian, a heart-shaped mosaic on the outside pavement of the cathedral that recalls the site of the former Edinburgh prison, demolished two centuries ago, and the Tron Church.High Street becomes the epicentre of the city during the Edinburgh Festival.
In addition to the castle and the mile, the centre of Edinburgh has many other tourist attractions , like the Scotish National Gallery, of neoclassical style, which exhibits the most important collection of painting and sculpture in Scotland, from the Renaissance to the Post-Impressionism.In addition to Boticelli, Cézanne and Gauguin, the works of several Spanish painters, such as El Greco, Velázquez and Goya, are exhibited in this gallery.
Next to the Holyroodhouse Palace is also the Scottish Parliament (Scotish Parliament) Inaugurated 10 years ago, in 2004, the new Scottish Parliament Building represents the recovery of legislative power by the Scottish people after almost three centuries of fusion with England and a guided tour can be arranged on certain days of the week.The Edinburgh Museum, located in Huntly House, a huge 16th century mansion, is very close to the Parliament and explains the history and evolution of the city from prehistoric times to the present day.The Edinburgh Museum is located opposite the People’s Story Museum, a curious space opened in 1989 which explores the daily life, routine and ways of life of Edinburgh’s citizens from the 18th century to the present day.
Just a few metres away from the cemetery is one of the most popular visits for tourists, the Scotish Whisky Experience , which allows you to learn, step by step, about the process of making whisky and to taste a selection of this liquor.The tour continues with an explanation of the different areas of Scotland that produce different types of whisky, teaching how to differentiate them according to their smell and, at the end, a tasting session takes place (which can include a later tasting, if the visitor wishes).
Hotels in the Centre of Edinburgh