As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is an exciting city to visit for festivals, castles, museums, and amazing restaurants. There’s a great mix of historic and modern here, which you can experience first-hand while traveling through Edinburgh’s neighborhoods. Certain parts of town are ideal if you’re looking for cultural attractions, nightlife, or a family-friendly vibe. So, here’s our neighborhood guide for where to stay in Edinburgh.
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The most popular and well-known part of Edinburgh is Old Town, which is known for its narrow streets, historic areas, and romantic vibe. This is an ideal place to stay for your first time in the city since it is central to so many things to see and do. When you stay here, it’s easy to visit souvenir shops, stop into cozy pubs, and get an overall sense of what the city is about. Many visitors spend the bulk of their time in Old Town, so it’s definitely convenient to stay here, but it is not necessarily the most affordable part of the city. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you’re here and along the Royal Mile. Top sights to see include Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, Greyfriar’s Kirk, St. Giles Cathedral, and the Tartan Weaving Mill & Museum.
Why Stay Here: Great place for sightseeing and shopping.
Top Hotels: InterContinental Edinburgh The George | Ibis Styles Edinburgh Centre St Andrew Square Hotel
Another popular area to stay in Edinburgh is New Town, which still dates back hundreds of years and is filled with interesting history. What sets this area apart from Old Town are its characteristically wide streets and large buildings. There are lots of shops along Princes Street, which is a busy street and convenient area to stay along to be in walking distance to many things. Top sights to see include the Edinburgh Dungeons, the shops along George Street, Scotland’s National Gallery, and the Stand Comedy Club. There are also some great pubs along Rose Street in New Town to get a drink after your day of sightseeing or after a show.
The West End is beyond Princes Street and a great place to get to know the coolest aspects of Edinburgh. Here you’ll find fun bars, cafes, and boutique shops. In general, the West Side of Edinburgh is a nice place to mix with more locals than tourists.
Stockbridge is on the west side of Edinburgh and about 15 minutes walking distance from Princes Street. This is a recommended place to stay if you want to live like a local, rather than a tourist. It’s hip, trendy, and lots of fun. Stockbridge is also an upscale place to stay that is close to the city center. When you come here, expect a more bohemian vibe that’s artsier than in other parts of the city. You’ll enjoy the café culture and Stockbridge Market with street food here too.
Leith is on the north side of Edinburgh and considered to be an edgy and up-and-coming neighborhood worth staying in. You can often find affordable places to stay here, compared to some other places on this list. This means that Leith is one of the most budget-friendly places to stay in the city. Hop on a bus from here, and you can get to the city center within 10 to 15 minutes. The buses run frequently here and are convenient for travelers. This is a great place to experience the diversity of Edinburgh and get away from the main tourist scene. Foodies also love staying here because it’s international vibe has made it a top gastronomy scene for foodies. Fun local places to visit in this part of town are the Leith Market, Ocean Terminal Shopping Center, Sicilian Bakery, and the many vintage stores to browse antiques.
Why Stay Here: Family-friendly atmosphere with peaceful parks.
Top Hotels: Morningside Guest House | Best Western Plus Edinburgh City Centre Bruntsfield Hotel
The Morningside area has trees, independent shops, and fun shops to explore. Morningside is an upscale part of Edinburgh and a quiet and safe place to stay for families. It is south of the city center and home to mansions, churches, and parks. Visitors who stay here also enjoy frequenting the neighborhood’s bistros and tearooms. Also, don’t miss the Canny Man Pub, the Meadows & Bruntsfield Links, and the four churches at Holy Corner. Mature travelers looking for luxury, peaceful parks, and a relaxing getaway love staying in this part of Edinburgh.
Grassmarket isn’t too far from Edinburgh Castle and a great place for nightlife lovers. This is where many of the oldest pubs in the city are located, which means it offers a lively, loud, and fun atmosphere. Come here for a unique neighborhood by Old Town that has its own distinct look and feel. Travelers love the quirky shops, fun nightlife scene, convenient location, and contemporary look of Grassmarket when they explore this area and stay here at one of the local hotels.
Deal Village is also on the west side of Edinburgh and known for its family-friendly vibe. Here you’ll find everything you could want in a local neighborhood, including shops and eateries. This is a cute and quaint part of town that is residential and quiet. It’s the ultimate place to stay if you’re looking for a charming Scottish village to wander through at your own pace. Dean Village is near Stockbridge, so it’s easy to spend time in both of these locations when you spend time in the area. You’ll also get a village experience by staying here if you don’t have time to venture too far outside of the city and explore the many other lovely Scottish villages on your trip.