Choosing where to stay in Edinburgh is tricky. This attractive, historical city has so much to offer! If you’re looking to splash some holiday cash, then the New Town, close to shopping hot-spots like Princes Street and George Street, is a must. On the other hand, if you want to delve into the city’s past, put yourself close to the Royal Mile or Grassmarket.
For a quieter time, the best areas to stay in Edinburgh are around Stockbridge or Leith. Both are a short walk or bus journey from the city’s centre, so you get to enjoy a more relaxed vibe without being too far from all the attractions.
Located in Edinburgh’s Old Town, the Royal Mile stretches from Edinburgh Castle all the way to Holyrood. Packed with traditional Scottish and souvenir shops, it’s a bustling area. If Edinburgh’s history interests you then it’s here you’ll find Edinburgh Castle, the underground warren of Mary King’s Close, The Witchery, and the grand St Giles’ Cathedral.
Facing Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh New Town is where you’ll find attractions like Princes Street Gardens, the Royal Scottish Academy, and the Edinburgh Dungeon. Should Edinburgh shopping be on your to-do list, base yourself here. Get your retail fix by exploring the vast Jenners department store, or independent boutiques around Rose Street and designer stores on George Street.
Situated in the Old Town, Edinburgh Grassmarket was a livestock market until the 19th century. Today, there’s a wider selection of goods sold. It’s also full of vibrant bars and restaurants that offer great views of Edinburgh Castle. Stay here and explore the colourful boutiques on Victoria Street, or seek out the small Greyfriars Bobby Memorial – dedicated to a dog who stayed by his owner’s grave after his passing.
A little way out of central Edinburgh, Leith was once the city’s maritime centre. Stay here and you’ll want to make sure you take an audio tour around the splendid Royal Yacht Britannia – the former floating holiday home to Queen Elizabeth II. Afterwards, splash some cash in the vast Ocean Terminal shopping centre, or take a leisurely stroll along the Water of Leith, which is one of Edinburgh’s most picturesque walkways.
This is the upper-class area of town. Stockbridge boasts cobbled streets and the Royal Circus – a collection of beautiful Georgian-style houses and private gardens. Stay here and it’s only a short walk to the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. There’s also good access to the Water of Leith walkway. Market day falls on the weekend, but during the week there are artisan food shops and fine-dining restaurants nearby.