Last updated on January 03rd, 2023
The majestic capital city of Edinburgh is nestled deep amongst the sweeping hills of south-eastern Scotland and is a city rich in Scottish history, culture, architecture, and tradition. Famous for its medieval streets, stone spires, and imposing castles, Edinburgh has long attracted visitors of all kinds to marvel at its dark beauty.
Whether you’re a newcomer to the city or a seasoned traveller, the first challenge you will face is finding a place to stay for the duration of your visit. The best thing about Edinburgh is that you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to see and do no matter which district you choose to stay in. Each neighbourhood that comprises the city is a unique reflection of Scottish life and offers a smorgasbord of different experiences that is bound to suit everyone.
In the heart of Edinburgh is New Town. The city centre is close to everything you would need and offers an endless range of accommodation choices, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels, and everything in between. Princes Street runs through New Town and is famous for its shopping, eateries, and entertainment. It’s also close to Edinburgh Waverley Station hotels which can take you anywhere in the city.
For history buffs, Old Town is a labyrinth of famous landmarks, medieval streets, and winding alleys teeming with historical wonders. The much-loved Grassmarket can also be found here – a lively marketplace area that combines old world beauty with the modern appeal of bars, shops, entertainment, and central accommodation.
Located to the north and out of the bustle of the city centre, are the charming districts of Stockbridge, Broughton, and Dean Village. Laden with history, each neighbourhood merges classical architecture, picturesque scenery, and cobblestone streets with an array of trendy shops, bars, and restaurants.
In the West End of Edinburgh, you’ll find an endless supply of colourful boutiques with bohemian charm and pubs with some of the best food in the city. The nearby maritime district of Leith is famous for its seafood, while Haymarket boasts a vibrant bar and restaurant scene.
No matter your age, budget, style, or interests, we’ll explore the best neighbourhoods in Edinburgh for all of your travelling needs:
Quick Overview – Contents
What is the Best Area to Stay in Edinburgh Scotland?
For a first time visit, we recommend staying in the neighbourhood of New Town or Old Town. New Town is the thriving heart of Edinburgh and the location of its CBD. Its renowned for its elegant Georgian architecture and grid-like layout with wide, tree-lined streets. You will find endless options for accommodation in this area, as well as an abundance of retail stores, restaurants, bars, museums, galleries, and more. The famous Princes Street runs through the district and offers some of the best shopping experiences in the city. Old Town is Edinburgh’s historic gem, a winding labyrinth of medieval buildings, hidden corners, and cobblestone streets. You’ll be close to many of the major tourist attractions, including Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, University of Edinburgh, and the national Museum of Scotland.
Where to Stay in Edinburgh City Centre
- Best Luxury Hotels in Edinburgh
The Balmoral Hotel • The Witchery by the Castle
- Best Great Value – Top Rated Hotels
Hotel Ceilidh-Donia • ibis Styles Edinburgh Centre St Andrew Square
- Best Cheap Accommodation in Edinburgh
Terrace hotel (Guest House, Breakfast included) • Rooms at GPO
- Best Bed & Breakfast in Edinburgh
Ramsay’s Bed & Breakfast • The Hedges Bed & Breakfast
- Best Budget Hostels in Edinburgh
CoDE Pod Hostels – THE LoFT • Haystack Hostel
Best Areas to Stay in Edinburgh
What’s the best to stay in Edinburgh for transport of all kinds? Waverley area
Edinburgh Waverley station is the centre-point for public transport in the city. It is located across from Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle, right in between New Town and Old Town. If you’re arriving in Edinburgh and plan to rely on public transport to find your way around, either of these districts would be a prime location for easy access to and from the station. Whether you choose to travel by bus, train, tram, taxi, or Uber, choosing to stay near the Edinburgh Waverley station will undoubtedly make getting around the city easy and affordable.
Best neighbourhood in Edinburgh for local experience? Stockbridge (Dean Village) – Broughton
If you’re looking for a big dose of old-fashioned, authentic Scottish culture and history, look no further than the quaint village charm of Stockbridge, Broughton, and Dean Village. Located to the north of New Town, Stockbridge is a neighbourhood that boasts bohemian vibes with its abundance of cafés, boutiques, restaurants, pubs, and friendly locals. Walk down the quirky Circus Lane, a pretty laneway lined with terrace houses and colourful flowers, or visit the Stockbridge Market for handmade local goods. Just a short and scenic walk away from Stockbridge is Dean Village. This area maintains its sleepy village vibes and is perfect for those seeking peace and quiet. Stay here if you enjoy quaint 19th century architecture, bubbling streams, cobblestone paths, and the most delicious bread and pastries in Edinburgh. Steeped in Scottish history, Broughton is only a short walk to Princes Street and Edinburgh Waverley Station. Its main thoroughfare, Broughton Street, is home to many cafés and restaurants, pubs, bars, gift shops, boutiques, and delicatessens.
Where to stay in Edinburgh for best nightlife? Grassmarket – Cowgate (Old Town)
Grassmarket is a marketplace in Old Town that dates back to the 14th century. It’s a bustling, colourful fanfare of activities and entertainment, both day and night. Lined with some of the best restaurants and bars you will find in Edinburgh, Grassmarket is the place to be if you’re here for the nightlife. From multinational cuisines to authentic Scottish pub food, Grassmarket celebrates the old and the new with plenty of live music available to dance the night away. Nearby, Cowgate is another popular area for nightlife. The strip runs through Old Town and is lined with crumbling buildings that cast this street into shadow even during the day. It’s the perfect place for a night out and buzzes with some of the trendiest pubs, bars, and clubs you’ll find in this neighbourhood.
Best places to stay in Edinburgh for shopping? Princes Street – Royal Mile
For those after a shopping experience like no other, you can’t go past the Royal Mile and Princes Street. Princes Street runs through the heart of New Town and is a shopper’s paradise – from big well-known brands such as Zara, Urban Outfitters, H&M, and Debenhams, to designer and specialist boutiques with the latest in luxury fashion and beyond, The Royal Mile has something for everyone no matter what your budget. Over in Old Town, no trip is complete without a visit to the Royal Mile. This iconic area comprises four connected streets that begin at Edinburgh Castle and end at Holyrood House. They’re packed full of shops, museums, galleries, cafés, restaurants, pubs, and many a hidden gem.
If you’re on a budget, head to the Edinburgh Zoo in West End for a entertaining and affordable place to stay. Considered one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the zoo is home to over 1000 animals from around the world including chimpanzees, pandas, and penguins. The port district of Leith offers many budget-friendly attractions and hotels. One of these is the Custom House which showcases the best of Edinburgh’s contemporary artists. Entry is free and they often have workshops and events taking place here, so check ahead to see what’s coming up. Museums and art galleries are a great way to spend the day on a budget. Broughton and Haymarket are prime budget friendly places to stay that are close to some of the most interesting attractions, such as The Collective and the Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop and Gallery.
The 5 Best Areas to Stay in Edinburgh for First Time Visit
When visiting Edinburgh, the charm of Old Town lures many tourists to its cobblestone streets. Packed full of historical landmarks, museums, cathedrals, alleys, vaults and hidden corners, Old Town tells the story of Edinburgh’s long and fascinating past.
Combined with the most stylish bars and restaurants, shops, galleries, and clubs, it’s a popular choice for tourists visiting the city.
- Best Hotel : Old Town Chambers (Aparthotel)
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value: Motel One Edinburgh-Royal • The Inn Place
With its majestic Georgian architecture and central business district, New Town is the heart of the city. If you’re a tourist in New Town, you’re sure to love the grid layout of this district as it makes getting around a breeze.
Overflowing with accommodation choices and hotels to suit any budget, it’s the perfect choice for sightseeing, visiting major attractions, shopping, eating, partying, and everything in between.
- Best Hotel (Great Value): Mode Edinburgh (Aparthotel)
- Best Cheap Hotels: Motel One Edinburgh-Princes • Elder York Guest House
Famed for its many colourful boutiques and traditional pubs, West End is a melting pot of style and culture, housing many of Edinburgh’s art venues, theatres, and festivals.
West End Village is a lively corner of the suburb that draws tourists and locals to its streets. Along William Street and Stafford Street, you can mingle with the crowds as you peruse the many retail stores.
- Best Accommodation: Albyn Townhouse (Guest House)
- Best Cheap/Mid-Range Hotels: The St Valery (Guest House) • Leonardo Boutique Hotel Edinburgh City
Leith’s rough past is long behind it and this neighbourhood is now renowned for being an edgy, alternative corner of Edinburgh that boasts some of the trendiest bars and cafés, as well as a vibrant art scene.
The quirky gift stores and delicatessens add to its charm.
- Best Accommodation: Six Brunton Place (Bed and Breakfast)
- Best Cheap/Mid-Range Hotels: Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh – Leith Waterfront • Cairn Hotel- Part of the Cairn Collection
The pretty seaside suburb of Portobello is just a short distance from the city centre and is best for families or those who want to relax on the sand and take a dip in the sea.
During the warm months, this area is a popular destination thanks to its annual sport events, market, and selection of bars, cafés, and gift shops dotted along the promenade.