Where to stay in Edinburgh – What you need to know

With approximately 13 million tourists a year, Edinburgh is the second most visited city in the United Kingdom (London being the first one), which is quite a feat for a relatively small, 600,000 inhabitants city.

Where to stay in Edinburgh - Best areas and top hotels

Where to stay in Edinburgh – Best areas and top hotels

Edinburgh has a unique personality makes you fall in love with it. Many call it the “Athens of the North” due to its topography and its great cultural and intellectual reinassance during the eighteenth century.

It is a city where art and history spring up again and again in every corner, a place that offers round-the-clock entertainment and daytime cultural sightseeing and nightime pub crawls complement each other perfectly.

European and Scottish culture are very present in its architecture, its cobbled streets, its exquisitely manicured gardens and its narrow alleys.

It’s damp and rainy climate gives the city a special charm and only ads on to its elegant and somewhat sombre architecture.

Accommodation in Edinburgh doesn’t come cheap, the average room rate is about £100 per night. You can expect to pay triple that amount during high season.

The good news is that Edinburgh, as many other places is the UK, offers a wide range of B&B, usually at cheaper rates than hotels, the average price for a Bed & Breakfast in Edinburgh is around £60 per night.

When it comes to the best areas to stay, the top 2 choices are its Old Town and its New Town, both considered the city centre. As it is to be expected, these two neighbourhoods also tend to be the most expensive.

If you’re looking for a cheap stay in Edinburgh, then the best areas are probably the harbour district of Leith and the university district of Newington.

Here you can find a list of the best areas to stay in Edinburgh, each one with a hand-picked selection of hotels and B&Bs.

The best areas to stay in Edinburgh

1. Our Top Pick: Old Town

It is the best area to stay in Edinburgh if you are looking for medieval charm while being close to all of the city’s main attractions.

The Old Town is, as its name suggests, the oldest area of Edinburgh and it retains a lot of the city’s medieval beauty.

Most streets are semi-pedestrianised and paved with cobblestone, and on the Royal Mile (one of the main thoroughfare, linking Holyroodhouse Palace to the Edinburgh Castle) a number of small medieval alleys and narrow streets meet, contributing to the Old Town’s distinct, lugubrious and mysterious feel.

During the day you can enjoy dozens of traditional shops, and at dusk the whole area vibrates to the rhythm of trendy nightclubs and pubs.

The Old Town is one of the two neighbourhoods considered the heart of the city (the other one being the New Town).

Old Town Edinburgh contains important attractions such as the Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura, the Royal Mile and some of the city’s famous cemeteries.

Old Town - Best areas to stay in Edinburgh

Old Town – Best areas to stay in Edinburgh

Old Town de Edinburgh - Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

Old Town de Edinburgh – Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

Why stay in this area:

  • Great architecture
  • City Centre
  • Around-the-clock activity
  • Accessible on foot
  • Edinburgh Castle

Hand-picked accommodation in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Stay Central Hotel is a 3-minute walk from the historic Royal Mile. This budget hotel is located in Cowgate, in the historic centre of Edinburgh. It’s also home to the “Three Sisters”, a known bar and nightclub. – from £126.

  • Budget Option

    The Grassmarket Hotel. This newly refurbished hotel is 800 metres from Edinburgh Waverley Train Station and 300 metres from the Royal Mile. It offers stylish rooms with flat-screen TVs. – from £108 .

  • Midrange Option

    Residence Inn by Marriott Edinburgh is located in the centre of Edinburgh, just 10 minutes’ walk from Royal Mile and one of the best areas to stay in Edinburgh. It offers free Wi-Fi and a gym. – from £148 .

  • Luxury Option

    The Scotsman Hotel. This 4-star hotel was built in 1905 and overlooks Edinburgh Castle and Waverley Station. This majestic protected building was home to The Scotsman newspaper. – from £199 .

 

 

 

2. New Town

Located to the north of the Old Town and separated by the Princes Street Garden is the New Town.

This neighbourhood was developed during the Scottish intellectual flourishing of the eighteenth century, and is full of Georgian and neoclassical style buildings.

Today, it is the commercial and financial district of Edinburgh and, together with the Old Town, is the true centre of the city.

This area boasts tons of both international boutiques and independent stores and is active throughout the day.

You can always eat well in one of its many restaurants or have a picnic during the day in the different squares and parks.

It’s also a good area to stay in Edinburgh for nightlife, as you can explore the New Town at night, from pub to pub.

New Town - Best areas to stay in Edinburgh

New Town – Best areas to stay in Edinburgh

New Town de Edinburgh - Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

New Town de Edinburgh – Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

Why stay in this area:

  • City centre
  • Shopping options
  • Accessible on foot
  • Best area for nightlife
  • St. Andrew’s Square
  • Good public transport

Hand-picked accommodation in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    The Royal Overseas League Hotel is located on Princes Street, opposite Edinburgh Castle. This stylish property offers free Wi-Fi and impressive city views. – from £129.

  • Budget Option

    easyHotel Edinburgh offers panoramic views of Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street Gardens and is located in the New Town area of Edinburgh, 400 metres from Edinburgh Castle and 600 metres from the EICC. – from £49 .

  • Midrange Option

    Ramsay’s Bed & Breakfast is located in of Edinburgh’s New Town, just a 10-minute walk from Princes Street and Waverley Rail Station. This spacious town house offers great accommodation with free Wi-Fi. – from £99 .

  • Luxury Option

    Waldorf Astoria – The Caledonian, is a luxury hotel located just a 1-minute walk from Princes Street. It offers a modern incredible views of Edinburgh Castle. George Street’s bars, restaurants and shops are less than a 5-minute walk away. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. – from £207 .

 

 

 

3. Leith

With a history dating back several hundres years, Leith is located on the North Sea, northeast of Central Edinburgh.

Until 1920, Leith was an independent village and the main port of entry to Edinburgh, a harbour that received both kings and whales, even both of them at the same time.

In recent times, the port activity of Leith is increasingly being overshadowed by its large range of activities and accommodation options. The area is very accessible by transport and offers friendlier night-rates than central Edinburgh.

It is worth mentioning the abundance of great seafood restaurants and its good public transport connections with the city.

The accommodation scene in Leith offers a mixture of traditional, reasonably priced B&Bs, boutique-y options hosted in converted port buildings and midrange interational chain hotels.

It is the best area to stay in Edinburgh if you’re looking for a cheap stay.

Leith - Best location to stay in Edinburgh

Leith – Best location to stay in Edinburgh

Leith - Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

Leith – Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

Why stay in this area:

  • Great connections
  • Cosmopolitan vibe
  • Accessible by foot
  • Sunday Market
  • Leith Walk

Hand-picked accommodation in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    The Malmaison Edinburgh s located in Leith, on the Forth and features a state-of-the-art gym, free parking and an great bar. The rooms are elegant and individually designed. – from £99.

  • Budget Option

    16 Pilrig Guest House is located in the Broughton district of Edinburgh, 900 metres from the Edinburgh Playhouse. It offers rooms with TV and free Wi-Fi. It also has a common living room. – from £49 .

  • Midrange Option

    The Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh Waterfront is located next to the Ocean Terminal shopping centre and the Royal Yacht Britannia Museum. It offers free parking and air-conditioned rooms. The bus that goes to the centre has a stop at the door. – from £122 .

 

 

 

4. Newington

A 15-minute walk from the city centre, at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, in the south-east of Edinburgh, lies Newington.

This lively neighbourhood gets its energetic vibe from the numerous student residences and offers a unique and vibrant atmosphere.

It is dotted with shops of all kinds and can be a good choice if you want to spend more than a few days in Edinburgh, it has great access to town with public transport and it’s very lively throughout the day, although it is usually much quieter during school holidays and exam periods.

It is a great option if you visit Edinburgh in the summer, as many of the student residences are transformed into hotels, offering cheap accommodation close to the city centre.

If you decide to stay in this area, do not forget to climb nearby Arthur’s Seat to appreciate some of the best views of the city.

Newington - Best neighbourhoods to stay in Edinburgh

Newington – Best neighbourhoods to stay in Edinburgh

Newington - Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

Newington – Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

Why stay in this area:

  • Accessible on foot
  • Best area for cheap coommodation
  • Quiet neighbourhood
  • Great public transport
  • Student atmosphere

Hand-picked accommodation in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    The Salisbury Hotel, is a 4-star hotel located in the quiet residential area of Newington, 1 mile from the historic Royal Mile and the lively centre of Edinburgh. It offers elegant rooms with room service and free Wi-Fi. – from £69.

 

 

 

5. West End

West of the Edinburgh Castle lies the West End area of Edinburgh, which is a predominantly exclusive residential area.

It is refined neighbourhood, with great commercial activity on its main streets, with big and elegant boutiques, multitude of theatres and the main independent cinema in town.

This area has a unique architecture, with elegant crescents and Georgian buildings.

In recent years the area has become a bit of a foodie paradise, with many new restaurants featuring all types of cuisine.

West End - Best districts to stay in Edinburgh

West End – Best districts to stay in Edinburgh

West End - Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

West End – Click to see all hotels on a map (opens in a new tab)

Hand-picked accommodation in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Destiny Scotland – Distillers House offers independent accommodation in a period building in Edinburgh’s West End. In addition, there is free WiFi. The apartments have a kitchen with a dishwasher, oven, coffee maker and microwave. – from £125.

 

 

 

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About the Author

My name is Luis Cicerone. When I was little, I would walk around the house with an atlas in my hand. My rainy Sundays were spent memorising maps and capitals. At fifteen I did my first solo trip and since then I travel whenever I can. I work in travel marketing. I love photography, movies and cat videos.

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