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Home » Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Our Favourite Places And Neighbourhoods (2024)
Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Our Favourite Places And Neighbourhoods (2024)

Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Our Favourite Places And Neighbourhoods (2024)


Edinburgh, the hilly capital of Scotland, attracts many visitors for its old buildings and fantastic landmarks. With winding cobblestone streets and no less than four exquisite national art galleries, it’s a place we have enjoyed on several occasions. 

The Scottish capital is a compact city, so you’ll be able to do a lot of exploring on foot regardless of where exactly you stay. But we wanted to offer input on our favorite areas of the town and the best hotels in them to make it easier for you to find a place to stay that fits into your Edinburgh itinerary perfectly. 

Each Edinburgh neighborhood offers something unique, from the historic Old Town to the trendy West End. Whether it’s buildings that are more than a thousand years old or lush walking paths along the river, there’s no doubt in my mind you’ll enjoy your trip no matter which hotel you book. 

Where To Stay In Edinburgh 

Edinburgh is a charming city with a ton of historic attractions. It’s also very walkable, so you don’t have to stay in the city center to be able to discover all of its best landmarks and attractions on foot. And if you don’t mind jumping on the tramway or the bus, you could save quite a bit of money by booking accommodation in a quieter area. 

That’s not to say that the city center is a bad place to stay; both New Town and Old Town are some of my favorite options for first-time visitors because of the gorgeous old architecture and endless interesting sights. However, both areas are pricey and not a good option for travelers on a tighter budget. 

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Where We Stayed 

We stayed at Cheval The Edinburgh Grand mainly because I prefer apartments to hotels for longer stays. It offered everything we needed during our stay, and I particularly enjoyed the view of St. Andrew Square. And the comfy beds! Don’t hesitate to book The Edinburgh Grand if you want a more homely place to stay with an excellent location in the city center.  

Edinburgh Old Town: Our Recommendation 

victoria street in old town Edinburgh old town neighbourhood
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Edinburgh Old Town is the historic heart of this Scottish city and the best one for a stay for most travelers. Stay in the Old Town and you’ll be within walking distance of the best city attractions, shops, restaurants, and museums. 

Just keep in mind that such an important part of Edinburgh is generally pricey, especially for hotel stays. If you’re looking for mid-range and luxury hotels, you’ll have plenty of options in Edinburgh Old Town. But if you’re trying to explore Scotland on a budget, you might want to look for something less central.  

Where to stay in Edinburgh Old Town Royal Mile
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Pros and Cons of Staying in Edinburgh Old Town 

Pros

Easy walking access to popular landmarks
The historic center of Edinburgh is gorgeous
Great bars and restaurants
Lots of things to do 

Cons

The busiest part of the city 
Hotels are expensive 
Lots of tourist traps 

Highlights of Staying in Edinburgh Old Town 

Edinburgh Old Town is the undisputed center of the city, with the most interesting landmarks and tourist attractions. From historic castles to fantastic museums, it has all the best attractions that will make you fall in love with the Scottish city. 

Edinburgh Castle is by and large the most iconic landmark in the city. The hilltop castle dates back to the 11th century, and it’s known for housing the Crown Jewels. It’s also home to the National War Museum of Scotland and without a doubt my favorite historic attraction to visit in the city. 
Walk the Royal Mile from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle and see all the fancy shops and restaurants that line either side. This is the busiest street in the city and a place you can hardly miss when leisurely strolling around Edinburgh’s Old Town. 

The National Museum of Scotland is by far the best attraction in Edinburgh for history buffs and museum-goers. The vast museum offers a natural history exhibit, as well as a collection of relics that recount the story of Scottish industrial history. 
Princes Street Gardens is a sprawling public park just below the Edinburgh Castle. Visit it before or after you tour the compound; it doesn’t matter as long as you get to walk through the park and see all the pretty monuments and gorgeous landscaping. 
Cockburn Street is said to have been the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter, and of course, I’ve put it on this list. It’s lined with beautiful shops and nice pubs, so there’s plenty of things to do here other than admire the buildings. 

Best Places To Stay In Edinburgh Old Town 

Street view of old town area of Edinburgh
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The center of Edinburgh offers a wide variety of accommodation options for every budget. Stay in historic buildings and sip cocktails on rooftop terraces, while enjoying uninterrupted views of the city’s skyline. 

The Witchery by the Castle

The Witchery by the Castle is a unique stay in the heart of Edinburgh. With nine lavishly decorated suites, this boutique hotel offers an experience unlike any other. Sleep in four-poster beds in suites that are thoroughly adorned with period decorations, ranging from guard uniforms to painted ceilings. 

Each of the nine suites is thematically decorated, and my favorites are the guardroom and the library. The elegant suites range in size from 40 m² to 72 m²; the bigger suites feature a separate sitting room or even a dining hall. Breakfast is included in the nightly stay, and guests can choose whether they prefer to have it in the room or at the hotel restaurant.  

The Witchery even has a sister hotel outside Edinburgh’s city center, Prestonfield House. Consider it for a luxury stay with a great location in a more serene part of the city. 

Market Street Hotel 

Choose the fantastic Market Street Hotel if you’re looking for the perfect location in Edinburgh Old Town. It’s situated on Market Street, just across the street from the Waverley Station and mere steps away from the historic Cockburn Street. 

The modern rooms are a bit on the smaller side, but they’re all nicely decorated. Each room features a small seating area, a TV, an ensuite bathroom, and a coffee/tea-making station. Rooms with wheelchair-accessible bathrooms are also available at this hotel. 

One of the best things about Market Street Hotel is the rooftop lounge, where you can enjoy breakfast and some of the best panoramic views of Edinburgh’s skyline. However, it’s also important to note that this hotel lacks a fitness center and a spa, so it might not be a good fit for everyone. 

CoDE Pod Hostel

The CoDE Pod Hostel is one of the best affordable options in the historic center of Edinburgh. The nightly rate starts at a little over $65, which is a little pricey for a hostel but worth it for the location. Also, this isn’t your classic hostel; all the dorm rooms feature pods instead of bunk beds for privacy. 

Each dorm has its own shared bathroom, which is absolutely spotless. The decor throughout the hostel is modern and sleek, and honestly, it’s one of the better-looking accommodation options in Edinburgh. Double rooms with ensuite bathrooms are also available here, and they start at around $120 per person for a night, which is one of the better deals for a stay in Edinburgh Old Town. 

The hostel’s shared spaces include a kitchen and a dining/lounge area with a TV. Overall, this is one of the better hostels in Edinburgh, and it’s especially popular with solo travelers. 

Where to stay in Edinburgh Old Town Royal Mile
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Edinburgh New Town is the second-best option for first-time visitors in the city. It’s super close to the Old Town and offers equally as many interesting attractions. It’s just that it’s a bit younger than the Old Town – by no less than several hundred years. 

The New Town features somewhat cheaper accommodation options, but there are just as many high-end hotels as in the Old Town. It’s also home to several famous streets that are lined with shops, bars, and excellent restaurants. For nightlife, shopping, and culture, the New Town is the best part of the city. 

Scott monument in new town area edinburgh
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Pros and Cons of Staying in Edinburgh New Town 

Pros

Walking distance to Old Town landmarks
Great for shopping and nightlife
Plenty of museums and tourist attractions 

Cons

As pricey as the Old Town 
Busy and noisy 
Very few hotels for budget travelers

Highlights of Staying in Edinburgh New Town

The New Town is hundreds of years younger than the Old Town, but that doesn’t mean it’s not filled with interesting landmarks and sights. Plenty of popular tourist attractions are here, including fabulous art galleries and Edinburgh’s best shopping streets. 

The Scott Monument is a captivating landmark that towers over Princess Street. The Victorian monument was erected in honor of Sir Walter Scott, Edinburgh’s most renowned writer. Don’t just stand at the base of the spire-like landmark; climb the 287 steps it takes to get to the top to experience a fantastic panoramic vista of Edinburgh’s skyline. 
Walk down George Street and you’ll get to see the impressive Victorian architecture Edinburgh is known for around the world.  
Rose Street is New Town’s car-free avenue. It’s lined with pubs on either side, and it’s the hotspot for nightlife in Edinburgh. 
For the best shopping in this Scottish city, you’ll want to head to Princess Street. It’s almost an endless stream of shops in every price range and the place to be if you want to buy anything from books to shoes. 

Best Places To Stay In Edinburgh New Town 

Best places to stay in new town edinburgh
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The New Town is an excellent part of Edinburgh, both for first-time and returning visitors. It offers hotels for every budget, although I must say that mid-range and luxury travelers are more likely to find something up their alley. Accommodation in the New Town isn’t cheap, but there are a few options budget travelers should consider. 

The Balmoral Hotel 

With a history of more than a hundred years, The Balmoral Hotel is one of the best five-star hotels in Edinburgh’s New Town. It is situated right next to Waverley Train Station and just a short walk from the city’s best shopping streets. 

The hotel offers cozy double rooms with elegant furnishings. Every room features an Italian marble bathroom, as well as a seating area and a desk. The Balmoral Hotel offers two restaurants, a pool, and a gym, so it’s got all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury hotel. 

There’s also a spa and wellness center at this grand hotel, and it includes a Turkish steam room, among other facilities. The cherry on top is the fabulous historic hotel building, which even has its own clock tower. As you’d expect from the name, the Balmoral is one of the best and most prestigious hotels Edinburgh has to offer.  

ibis Styles Edinburgh

Situated on St. Andrew’s Square, ibis Styles is a nice three-star hotel with a central location. The nightly rate is somewhat high for an Ibis hotel, but it’s still usually under $300 for two people, which is a good deal considering the location. And if you travel in the off-season and shop around for deals, you can book a night here for under $200. 

The rooms are a little small, but include a desk, a private bathroom, and charming Scottish decorations. The beds are comfortable and roomy, which is essential for a good night’s sleep. Also, every hotel room features a flat-screen TV, and breakfast is included in the nightly rate. 

The ibis hotel features a bar and a restaurant, but unfortunately no spa or fitness center. Overall, it’s a good option for travelers who want accommodation with an excellent location that won’t break the bank but don’t want to stay in hostels or private apartments. 

Princes Street Hostel

Princess Street Hostel is a nice option for budget travelers. It’s close to Waverley Station, Royal Mile, and many other popular Edinburgh attractions. The nightly rate for solo travelers starts at just $35 for a bed in a dorm room, which is a really good deal for such a central location in Edinburgh. 

Private double rooms are also available at the hostel, although they don’t include an ensuite bathroom. Every dormitory has a shared bathroom with a shower, and large groups of travelers can rent entire dormitories and large rooms. 

All guests staying at the Princess Street Hostel get access to free WiFi and can make use of the shared lounge. There’s also a spacious and well-equipped kitchen, as well as a roomy dining area where you can mingle with other guests if you want. 

West End: Best For Budget Travelers

where to stay in Edinburgh west end
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West End is a trendy Edinburgh neighborhood known for elegant mansions, cobbled streets, and indie boutiques. It’s the best neighborhood in Edinburgh for travelers on a tighter budget because the hotels are significantly more affordable than those in the Old Town and New Town.

On top of that, the West End has plenty of its own attractions and offers easy walking access to popular landmarks in the historic city center. Book a hotel near the border with Edinburgh city center, and you’ll get an excellent rate but be no more than a 15-minute walk from the historic landmarks. 

Leith walk in west end area of Edinburgh
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Pros And Cons of Staying in West End

Pros

Cheaper hotels and restaurants
Not as busy as the city center 
Walking distance to the city center 

Cons

Few landmarks 
Not as many hotel options 

Highlights of Staying in West End 

Edinburgh’s West End is a quaint residential neighborhood with rows of townhouses and excellent pubs. It’s got quite a few attractions of its own, and there are reasons to come here, even if you book a hotel smack dab in the middle of the Old Town. 

Dean Village is a pleasant part of Edinburgh’s West End, known for 19th-century homes, museums, and cobbled streets. Come here to get lost in the natural beauty of the city and enjoy the view of old buildings surrounded by lush greenery. 
There are four National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, and two are in the West End. Both boast stunning collections of modern art, so don’t miss out if you’re an art lover. 
Stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway. The walking path follows the river for 12 miles, offering picturesque views of cascades, trees, and Edinburgh’s signature buildings.  

Best Places To Stay in West End 

Where to stay in edinburgh west end neighbourhood
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West End is a great area to stay in because you can pay a lot less for hotels that are equal in quality to those in the city center. And it’s a charming neighborhood within walking distance of all the popular attractions,

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh is a fantastic five-star hotel just 10 minutes from Edinburgh Castle. It’s set on the border of West End with New Town and Old Town, so if you choose this luxury hotel, you’ll still be within walking distance of popular tourist attractions. 

This hotel offers an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and three restaurants. The rooms are medium-sized and elegantly decorated, with subtle Scottish accents. Every hotel room at the Waldorf Astoria features a flat-screen TV, an ensuite bathroom, a seating area, and a Nespresso coffee machine. 

But if you’re going to stay at this hotel, I urge you to book a room with a view of Edinburgh Castle. It’s marvelous to wake up to views of such an iconic landmark, and it will make your stay in the city a lot more immersive.

The Bonham 

The Bonham is a boutique hotel in West End set inside a Victorian townhouse, just a ten-minute walk from Princess Street. It’s a five-star hotel with a surprisingly affordable nightly rate that’s lower than that of mid-range hotels in the Old Town. So, choose this hotel if you want fantastic service and an elegant room with a lovely city view. 

The guest rooms aren’t too big, but they’re very nice and comfortable. The beds are large, the ensuite bathrooms are pristine, and there’s a seating area even in the smallest rooms. Every guest room also comes with a TV and coffee machine. Bigger rooms and suites are also available at The Bonham. 

The hotel also boasts a bar and a restaurant, but it’s lacking in extra amenities. There’s no gym, spa center, or pool, so keep that in mind when deciding on a hotel in Edinburgh’s West End. 

Destiny Scotland Distillers House 

West End is a great neighborhood for apartment stays, and Destiny Scotland offers a variety of options at an affordable price. Starting at just under $200 per night, you can get a studio apartment with a spacious bathroom, a kitchen, and separate bedrooms and living spaces. 

That comes out to around $100 per person, which is cheaper than a hostel in the Old Town. You could choose to stay at a hostel in the West End, and it would be super cheap (around $30 per night), but I wanted to give you the option of accommodation that’s affordable, elegant, and doesn’t include sharing a bathroom with strangers. 

The apartment is just a 10-minute walk from Princess Street, so very close to New Town. Tramway and bus stops are also just a couple of minutes from the building, so you can be in the heart of Edinburgh in no time. 

Where To Stay In Edinburgh FAQs

Which part of Edinburgh is best to stay? 

The Old Town is the best part of Edinburgh for a hotel stay, both for first-time and returning visitors. The historic town area is more than a thousand years old and offers the most interesting landmarks and tourist attractions. 

Is it better to stay in Old or New Town in Edinburgh? 

Old Town is generally better for tourists in Edinburgh, especially for those interested in historic landmarks. New Town is also an excellent place to stay, especially for shopping and art gallery tours. 

The Old Town is the most popular area of Edinburgh. The city’s historic center is home to all the best landmarks and attractions, from popular museums to iconic sights like Cockburn Street. 

What is the most walkable area of Edinburgh?

Old Town, New Town, and even West End are all very walkable areas of Edinburgh. All the top attractions in the city center are easy to access on foot because Edinburgh is one of Scotland’s most walkable cities. 

Where Not To Stay In Edinburgh 

There are a few areas you should avoid in Edinburgh, but not necessarily because they’re unsafe or anything like that. It’s simply because they’re quite far from the city center and offer very few things to do, so they’re generally bad for tourists. While these areas might offer cheaper accommodation, it’s unlikely you’ll save too much money because you’ll have to pay for public transport, maybe even taxis, and spend way too much time riding around. 

The areas that I don’t recommend for travelers in Edinburgh are Canonmills, Stockbridge, Marchmont, and Northfield. And it’s only because they’re nowhere near the city center and you’d just waste precious time on the bus when you could instead be strolling down George Street. 

In terms of general safety and crime rates, Edinburgh is a very safe town for tourists. Pickpockets are the one thing you should be on the lookout for, but the same can be said of any major city in Europe. And it’s usually much worse in the capitals on the mainland, many of which I’ve traveled to without experiencing any problems.

National portrait gallery in Edinburgh
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Edinburgh is a vivacious city, which effortlessly blends and celebrates its colorful history with modern forward-facing innovation. It continues to inspire artists of all kinds, as well as being an economic heavyweight. Locals are friendly and happy to give directions or tips on their favorite places to eat/drink/party/visit – Edinburgers like to talk!

Whether you’re visiting at the height of summer, in shoulder season with the pretty foliage of spring and autumn, or braving the winter for Christmas markets and Hogmanay, you are sure to have a grand old time.

Plan Your Trip to Edinburgh With Our Recommendations



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