where to stay in edinburgh ? Best 5 places !


Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is a city that effortlessly combines rich history with modern allure. Whether you’re drawn to its historic landmarks, vibrant festivals, or enchanting landscapes, finding the perfect place to stay can greatly enhance your Edinburgh experience. In this travel blog, we’ll explore five distinct areas to consider when choosing where to stay in Edinburgh, each offering a unique perspective on this captivating city. Planning a trip to Edinburgh ? Find the best flights here.

The Royal Mile: Staying in the Historic Heart

The Royal Mile: A Historic Treasure

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is a captivating stretch of road that runs through the heart of the city’s Old Town. Spanning approximately one mile (hence the name), it connects two of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks: the Edinburgh Castle at one end and the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other. Along the way, you’ll find a wealth of history, culture, and entertainment.

Accommodations on The Royal Mile

Choosing to stay on the Royal Mile places you right in the center of Edinburgh’s historical and cultural hub. There’s a wide range of accommodation options to choose from:

  • Boutique Hotels: The Royal Mile is dotted with elegant boutique hotels that offer luxurious stays with a touch of Scottish charm. Many of them occupy historic buildings, providing a unique blend of modern amenities and classic architecture.
  • Guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts: If you prefer a cozier and more intimate atmosphere, you’ll find plenty of guesthouses and B&Bs along the Royal Mile. These establishments often have individually decorated rooms and friendly hosts who can offer local insights.
  • Apartments and Airbnb: For travelers seeking more space or a home-away-from-home experience, numerous apartments and Airbnb rentals are available on or near the Royal Mile. These options are particularly appealing for families or those who want to cook their meals.

Proximity to Attractions

Staying on the Royal Mile means you’ll have easy access to some of Edinburgh’s most famous attractions:

  • Edinburgh Castle: Perched atop Castle Rock, the Edinburgh Castle is one of Scotland’s most visited landmarks. Staying on the Royal Mile allows you to walk to the castle and explore its rich history, including the Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny.
  • St. Giles’ Cathedral: This stunning Gothic cathedral is a must-visit for its intricate architecture and impressive interior. It’s located right on the Royal Mile and often hosts concerts and events.
  • Historic Sites: The Royal Mile is lined with historic buildings, museums, and attractions, including the Museum of Edinburgh and the Real Mary King’s Close, where you can explore the hidden streets beneath the city.

Dining and Shopping

The Royal Mile is not just about history; it’s a vibrant hub for dining and shopping as well. You’ll find an array of traditional Scottish pubs, restaurants serving local cuisine, and charming tea rooms. Additionally, the Royal Mile is a fantastic place for souvenir shopping, offering everything from tartan scarves and kilts to exquisite jewelry and handmade crafts.

Festivals and Events

Throughout the year, the Royal Mile plays host to numerous festivals and events, including the world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. During these times, the street comes alive with street performers, artists, and cultural displays, making it an exciting place to stay for festival-goers.

Tips for Staying on the Royal Mile

  • Book Early: Accommodations along the Royal Mile can fill up quickly, especially during the peak tourist season. It’s advisable to book well in advance to secure your preferred lodging.
  • Explore Side Streets: While the Royal Mile itself is bustling with activity, don’t forget to explore the charming alleyways and closes that lead off it. You’ll discover hidden gems, cozy pubs, and quieter spots for relaxation.
  • Enjoy Evening Strolls: The Royal Mile takes on a magical atmosphere in the evening when the crowds thin out. Take leisurely walks and enjoy the illuminated architecture and street performers.

Staying on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh offers an immersive experience in the city’s history, culture, and entertainment. It’s a prime location for travelers eager to explore the best of Scotland’s capital city.

royal mile

Old Town vs. New Town Edinburgh: A Tale of Two Quarters

Old Town vs. New Town: A Tale of Two Quarters” in greater detail to help you decide where to stay in Edinburgh:

Old Town:

Historical Charm: Edinburgh’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. Its winding cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and narrow closes (alleyways) make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Staying here means immersing yourself in centuries of history.

Attractions: Many of Edinburgh’s most famous attractions are located in the Old Town. These include the Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, St. Giles’ Cathedral, and the Real Mary King’s Close. You’ll have these historical treasures at your doorstep, making it a great choice for history enthusiasts.

Traditional Pubs: The Old Town is known for its cozy traditional Scottish pubs. These are excellent places to savor a dram of whisky and enjoy live music while mingling with locals and fellow travelers.

Accommodations: Accommodations in the Old Town range from historic boutique hotels to charming guesthouses and even self-catering apartments. Many of these establishments are housed in historic buildings, offering a unique blend of old-world charm and modern comfort.

Festivals and Events: The Old Town is a focal point for many of Edinburgh’s festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. During these events, the area buzzes with energy, and the streets come alive with performers, artists, and festival-goers.

Hiking Opportunities: For outdoor enthusiasts, Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park are within walking distance from the Old Town. You can hike up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, for panoramic views of the city.

New Town:

Georgian Elegance: Edinburgh’s New Town, in contrast to the Old Town’s medieval charm, boasts wide streets, neoclassical architecture, and elegant Georgian townhouses. It’s a testament to 18th-century urban planning and offers a more spacious and orderly atmosphere.

Shopping and Dining: The New Town is a shopping and dining paradise. Princes Street, one of Edinburgh’s main shopping thoroughfares, offers high-street brands and department stores. Multicultural restaurants, trendy cafés, and upscale dining establishments can be found throughout the area.

Museums and Galleries: The New Town is home to several important cultural institutions, including the Scottish National Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland. Art and history lovers will find plenty to explore.

Accommodations: In the New Town, you’ll find a wide range of accommodations, including luxury hotels, boutique guesthouses, and modern serviced apartments. Many of these options offer contemporary design and amenities.

Nightlife: The New Town is where you’ll find a vibrant nightlife scene with cocktail bars, clubs, and live music venues. It’s a great choice if you enjoy a lively evening atmosphere.

Princes Street Gardens: These beautifully landscaped gardens are nestled between the Old and New Towns and offer a serene escape from the city bustle. They’re perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

Choosing Between Old Town and New Town:

History vs. Modernity: Consider your preference for historical charm and a cozy atmosphere (Old Town) versus a more modern and spacious setting with a focus on shopping and dining (New Town).

Proximity to Attractions: If you’re primarily interested in Edinburgh’s historic attractions, the Old Town is a natural choice. If shopping and cultural institutions are your focus, the New Town might be more suitable.

Budget: Accommodation prices can vary in both areas. While the Old Town has more historic and boutique options, the New Town offers a broader range of prices to suit different budgets.

Ultimately, whether you choose to stay in the Old Town or the New Town depends on your personal preferences and the type of Edinburgh experience you’re seeking. Both areas have their own unique allure, and you can easily explore both on foot, as they are adjacent to each other.

Stockbridge Edinburgh: A Quaint Riverside Retreat

Let’s delve into “Stockbridge: A Quaint Riverside Retreat” to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of this charming neighborhood in Edinburgh for your stay:

An Introduction to Stockbridge:

Stockbridge is a picturesque neighborhood located to the northwest of Edinburgh’s city center. Nestled along the banks of the Water of Leith, Stockbridge is often described as a tranquil and village-like oasis within the bustling city. It’s a delightful blend of Georgian and Victorian architecture, lush greenery, and a thriving community atmosphere.

Accommodations in Stockbridge:

Stockbridge offers a range of accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets:

  • Boutique Guesthouses: The neighborhood is known for its cozy boutique guesthouses, which often occupy charming period buildings. These guesthouses offer personalized service and a warm, homely atmosphere.
  • Self-Catering Apartments: If you prefer a more independent experience, consider renting a self-catering apartment in Stockbridge. These apartments often come with fully equipped kitchens and offer the flexibility to cook your meals.
  • Luxury Hotels: While Stockbridge leans toward boutique and guesthouse accommodations, you can also find some luxury hotels in the area that provide a high-end stay with top-notch amenities.

Exploring Stockbridge:

Stockbridge has plenty to offer in terms of leisurely exploration and relaxation:

  • Water of Leith Walkway: The neighborhood is situated along the scenic Water of Leith, and you can enjoy tranquil walks along the riverside. The Water of Leith Walkway stretches for miles and offers a peaceful escape from the urban hustle and bustle.
  • Stockbridge Market: On Sundays, Stockbridge hosts a popular farmers’ market where you can sample local produce, gourmet street food, artisanal crafts, and more. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture.
  • Botanic Gardens: The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is nearby, just a short walk from Stockbridge. It’s a serene place to explore beautifully landscaped gardens, exotic plants, and greenhouses filled with rare species.
  • Shopping: Stockbridge is renowned for its independent shops, boutiques, and antique stores. You can spend hours browsing for unique gifts, vintage treasures, and locally crafted goods.
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Dining and Cafés:

Stockbridge boasts a vibrant culinary scene with a variety of dining options:

  • Cafés and Tearooms: The neighborhood is dotted with charming cafés and tearooms where you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast or afternoon tea. Many of them have a cozy atmosphere and outdoor seating.
  • Restaurants: Stockbridge offers a range of dining experiences, from contemporary Scottish cuisine to international flavors. The area is known for its quality restaurants that emphasize locally sourced ingredients.

Proximity to Edinburgh’s Attractions:

While Stockbridge has its own unique charm, it’s also conveniently close to many of Edinburgh’s main attractions. You can easily reach the city center, the Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle by foot or public transportation.

Tips for Staying in Stockbridge:

  • Book in Advance: Given its popularity, especially during weekends and peak tourist seasons, it’s a good idea to book your accommodation in Stockbridge well in advance.
  • Enjoy Riverside Strolls: Don’t miss the opportunity to take leisurely walks along the Water of Leith Walkway. It’s a serene and beautiful way to experience the neighborhood.
  • Visit During Stockbridge Festival: If your visit coincides with the Stockbridge Festival, you’ll have the chance to enjoy local arts, music, and community festivities.

Stockbridge offers a unique and tranquil retreat within Edinburgh, making it an excellent choice for travelers seeking a more relaxed and residential atmosphere while still having easy access to the city’s main attractions and cultural offerings. Whether you’re interested in exploring nature, savoring delicious cuisine, or indulging in boutique shopping, Stockbridge has something to offer every type of traveler.


Leith Edinburgh: The Seaside Escape

Introduction to Leith:

Leith is a historic district located to the north of Edinburgh’s city center, adjacent to the Firth of Forth. Once a bustling port and industrial hub, Leith has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, evolving into a vibrant and trendy neighborhood with a strong maritime heritage. Staying in Leith offers visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and a distinctive seaside atmosphere.

Accommodations in Leith:

Leith offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from stylish waterfront apartments to cozy guesthouses:

  • Waterfront Apartments: Many visitors are drawn to Leith for its stunning waterfront views. You can find modern, self-catering apartments that overlook the docks and provide a sense of maritime luxury.
  • Boutique Hotels: Leith features a selection of boutique hotels that offer comfortable stays with a touch of Scottish charm. Some of these hotels are housed in historic buildings, adding character to your accommodation.
  • Guesthouses and B&Bs: For a more intimate experience, you’ll find guesthouses and B&Bs throughout Leith, often run by welcoming hosts who can provide local recommendations and insights.

Exploring Leith:

Leith offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for visitors:

  • The Royal Yacht Britannia: One of Leith’s most iconic attractions is the Royal Yacht Britannia. This former royal vessel is now a museum, allowing you to explore the luxurious interiors and learn about its history.
  • Leith Market: The weekly Leith Market is a must-visit for food enthusiasts. It features an array of stalls selling fresh produce, artisanal foods, international cuisine, and handcrafted goods.
  • Leith Walk: Take a stroll along Leith Walk, the main thoroughfare of the district. You’ll encounter a mix of shops, restaurants, cafés, and street art that reflects Leith’s creative spirit.
  • The Shore: The Shore is a picturesque area along the waterfront with a wide selection of restaurants and bars. It’s the perfect place to savor fresh seafood while enjoying the maritime ambiance.
  • Leith Links: This large public park in Leith offers green spaces for picnics, sports, and leisurely walks. It’s an excellent spot to unwind and enjoy some outdoor activities.

Leith’s Maritime Heritage:

Leith’s maritime heritage is woven into the fabric of the district. As you explore, you’ll encounter reminders of its seafaring past, including historic warehouses, shipyards, and the famous “Twin Towers” of Leith, which once served as grain silos.

Connectivity and Access:

Leith is well-connected to the city center of Edinburgh. You can easily reach the heart of the city by bus, tram, or a pleasant walk along the Water of Leith. This makes it convenient for exploring the city’s main attractions, such as the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle, while enjoying the more relaxed pace of Leith.

Tips for Staying in Leith:

  • Dine on Seafood: Leith is renowned for its seafood. Be sure to sample some fresh catches at local seafood restaurants and eateries along The Shore.
  • Visit on a Sunday: If your stay coincides with a Sunday, explore the Leith Market for delicious treats and unique souvenirs.
  • Take a Waterfront Walk: Enjoy scenic walks along the Water of Leith and take in the picturesque views of the docks and the Firth of Forth.

Leith offers a distinctive and revitalized seaside experience within Edinburgh. Whether you’re interested in maritime history, culinary delights, or simply soaking in the coastal ambiance, Leith has something to offer every type of traveler. It provides a refreshing contrast to the city center while still offering easy access to Edinburgh’s main attractions and cultural experiences.


Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park: Nature’s Neighbors

Introduction to Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park:

Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano located in Holyrood Park, just a short walk from Edinburgh’s city center. This natural wonder, along with the surrounding Holyrood Park, offers a serene escape from the urban bustle and provides opportunities for outdoor recreation, breathtaking views, and a unique natural experience right in the heart of the city.

Accommodations near Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park:

While the immediate vicinity of Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park is primarily a nature reserve, there are accommodations available nearby, making it convenient for visitors who want to be close to this natural beauty:

  • Hotels: Some hotels, both budget-friendly and upscale, are situated within walking distance of Holyrood Park. These offer comfortable accommodations with the added perk of proximity to nature.
  • Airbnb and Apartments: You can also find vacation rentals, apartments, and Airbnb listings in the surrounding areas, allowing you to experience Edinburgh like a local while being near the park.

Exploring Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park:

Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park provide a wealth of activities and natural beauty:

  • Hiking: The main attraction here is hiking up Arthur’s Seat, which offers panoramic views of Edinburgh and beyond. There are various trails catering to different fitness levels, from leisurely strolls to more challenging hikes. Sunrise and sunset hikes are particularly stunning.
  • Picnicking: Holyrood Park is a wonderful place for a picnic. You can enjoy your meal with a backdrop of lush greenery, rocky outcrops, and often, the sight of free-roaming sheep.
  • Wildlife Watching: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, rabbits, and foxes. Birdwatchers, in particular, will appreciate the diverse avian species that inhabit the park.
  • St. Anthony’s Chapel: Explore the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel, a medieval chapel that adds a touch of history to the natural beauty of the park.
  • Dunsapie Loch: The park also features Dunsapie Loch, a small loch where you can relax by the water, take a leisurely stroll, or feed the ducks.

Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament:

At the base of Arthur’s Seat, you’ll find the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. The palace is open to the public and provides insight into Scotland’s royal history. Nearby, you’ll also find the Scottish Parliament building, a striking modern architectural marvel.

Dynamic Location:

Staying near Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park means you have access to a dynamic blend of natural beauty, history, and urban amenities. You can enjoy the tranquility of the park’s green spaces and hiking trails while being within walking distance of the Royal Mile and Edinburgh’s historic city center.

Tips for Staying Near Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park:

  • Pack Appropriately: If you plan to hike Arthur’s Seat or explore Holyrood Park, wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Be sure to bring water and sunscreen, especially on sunny days.
  • Plan Your Hikes: Depending on your fitness level and the time you have available, plan your hike up Arthur’s Seat accordingly. Sunrise and early morning hikes offer cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.
  • Enjoy Diverse Activities: Apart from hiking, consider other activities such as birdwatching, photography, or simply sitting and soaking in the natural beauty of the park.

Staying near Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park provides a unique opportunity to combine the best of Edinburgh’s natural and urban worlds. You can revel in the beauty of nature, embark on exhilarating hikes, and still have easy access to the city’s historic landmarks and cultural attractions. It’s an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a balanced Edinburgh experience.

Arthurs Seat where to stay in edinburgh

Where to stay in Edinburgh: Conclusion

Edinburgh’s diverse neighborhoods offer an array of accommodations to suit every traveler’s preferences. Whether you prefer the historic charm of the Royal Mile, the tranquility of Stockbridge, the maritime allure of Leith, the elegance of New Town, or the natural beauty near Arthur’s Seat, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay in this captivating Scottish city. Each neighborhood provides a unique perspective on Edinburgh’s rich history and vibrant culture, ensuring an unforgettable stay in the heart of Scotland. Travel safely with the best travel insurance.

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