Where to stay in Edinburgh

The city of Edinburgh in Scotland at sunset - View from Calton Hill

Scotland’s capital city continues to grow in popularity, drawing tourists from all over the world, making it the second most popular destination in the United Kingdom. Whether you are visiting one of Edinburgh’s famous festivals or coming to explore the rich history, there are many things to do in Edinburgh.

To help you decide what area to stay in Edinburgh Scotland, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular neighbourhoods for travellers and the best Edinburgh hotels.

The city is relatively compact and has an excellent bus system, plus taxi cabs are plentiful, so no matter where to stay in Edinburgh, you’ll have no trouble getting around town. By reading this guide, you can find out where to stay in Edinburgh old town or new town.

We will cover off all types of Edinburgh accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Edinburgh hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Edinburgh Scotland 2023.

This guide shows off the best hotels in Edinburgh, best places in Edinburgh to visit, the best places to stay in Edinburgh, hotels near Edinburgh attractions, Edinburgh neighborhood guide and many more.

Below are 6 of the best neighborhoods in Edinburgh to help you make the right decision when trying to work out best areas to stay in Edinburgh for you. We have tried to make the guide as easy to follow as possible.

We have also included some things to do or places to visit within Edinburgh areas, as well as some eatery suggestions of either our favourite places or some funky places to eat at within the areas in Edinburgh so you can use this as a go to guide to pick the best accommodation in Edinburgh for you.

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Old Town & The Royal Mile – Best Place to stay in Edinburgh for tourists

Old Town encompasses the Royal Mile (also known as Edinburgh city) and contains the historic area of Edinburgh. Is located in the city centre, making this an excellent choice for Edinburgh accommodations, especially if you are planning to visit the main tourist highlights. 

Wondering where to stay in Edinburgh first time? Old Town and the Royal Mile is super popular with tourts, it’s also a great area for short visits and first timers to see a lot!

The Royal Mile is the main street of Edinburgh, which runs from Famous Edinburgh Castle to Holyroodhouse and is where tourists stay in Edinburgh.

This area has some of the best places to stay in Edinburgh at Christmas and it’s one of the safe places to stay in Edinburgh (although everywhere is fairly safe).

If this is your first trip to Edinburgh, you will likely spend a lot of time exploring the attractions along the Famous Royal Mile (which is only a few minutes walk) including a visit to the beautiful Princes Street gardens, making this a great place to stay in Edinburgh as most attractions are within walking distance. 

This is likely the most expensive place to stay in Edinburgh however it is the best area to stay in Edinburgh due to its convenience of access to everything including Edinburgh Waverley train station, making it worth it.

Why Stay in Old Town Edinburgh

Having all the major attractions within walking distance of where you stay is a tourist’s dream. Staying in Old Town gives you all the convenience of modern amenities with deep history just steps away.

Walk the Royal Mile and visit the shops and cafes while taking in the historic atmosphere. Tour the iconic Edinburgh Castle and go underground at Edinburgh Dungeon. The options and adventures are plentiful when you Stay in Old Town.

Wondering which is the best places to stay in Edinburgh Old Town? Below is a list of great hotels in Old town that we would recommend.

Things To Do in Old Town

  • Tour Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most iconic of Edinburgh’s attractions. Walk through the halls of which Kings and Queens have walked. Visit the Great Hall, where Kings and Queens entertained and state banquets were attended.

Tour the palace and see how royalty lived back in the early 1500s. Learn of the fight for the independence of this medieval stronghold in the telling of the story, Fight for the Castle.

Wander through on your own, download an itinerary or take an audio guide through this medieval fortress. A must-see on your tourist trip through Edinburgh. 

  • Walk The Royal Mile

Starting at Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile takes you on a walk through Scottish history. With historic sites such as St. Giles Cathedral and the John Knox House to fabulous museums like the Museum of Edinburgh, seeing the history of Edinburgh is around every corner.

Go underground and admire the perfectly preserved Mary King’s Close and hear the stories of how the working class lived and died back in the days of old.

Follow the path of history to the now with a visit to the Scottish Parliament. Walking the Royal Mile will give you a walk to remember.

  • Stroll the Alleyways and Passageways of Old Town

In Old Town Edinburgh, the alleyways and narrow pathways that snake through the streets are called a close or wynd. A close tends to be a gated or private property, while a wynd is a public pathway and normally a little wider than a close.

All lead to residences of this old city or a way to get to another main street. Narrow alleyways with tall stone buildings on each side, all with an interesting story to tell.

Take a picture of the city from Advocate’s Close and learn the tale of deceit at Brodie’s Close while enjoying coffee at Deacon’s House Cafe. Enjoy the stories from the Close in Old Town Edinburgh.

Best places to stay in Old Town and the Royal Mile

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Old Town and the Royal Mile

Budget accommodation in Old Town and the Royal Mile

Mid range accommodation in Old Town and the Royal Mile

Family Friendly accommodation in Old Town and the Royal Mile

Affordable Luxury accommodation in Old Town and the Royal Mile

street view of Royal Miles, From the Castle gates to the Palace gates the street is almost exactly a mile long

New Town – Best Place to stay in Edinburgh with families

Wondering where to stay in Edinburgh with family? Up the hill from Old Town, New Town is new in the sense of only going back to 18th century, as opposed to the 12th century as some other areas of Edinburgh. 

But, no worries, you’ll still see a lot of historic buildings and sites of interest in New Town. The center of New Town is Princes Street, another main shopping thoroughfare of Edinburgh.

Princes Street is the busiest street in Edinburgh and has a beautiful public garden with fun events in the summer. This is the best neighborhood to stay in Edinburgh for families who want to be close to the center, with easy access to green space for kids to run around.

Why Stay in New Town

When travelling with family in Edinburgh, New Town is the place to stay. With a few more modern conveniences along with that old-time charm will give your family a vacation they will remember.

New Town is Edinburgh’s main shopping district. Stroll down Princes St and find your favourite name brand store. George Street will give you a vast selection of unique boutiques and cafes.

There is no shortage of interesting and historic places to see in New Town, With plenty of green space for the kids to run and play. A perfect place to stay with family while visiting Edinburgh.

The city centre is made up of Calton Hill, the Canongate, Haymarket, Lauriston, the New Town, the Old Town, West Coates and the West End. Personally I think New Town is the best area to stay in Edinburgh city centre.

Things To Do in New Town

  • Shop in Edinburgh’s Shopping District

Known as Edinburgh’s main shopping district, you can mix history with a fabulous shopping experience. Princes Street will give you all the high-quality brands you are looking for.

Stop at the Princes Street Gardens for a family picnic in this beautiful park. Stroll over to George Street for unique boutiques and Rose and Thistle Streets for cobblers and whisky.

Walk the Multrees Walk for the most stylish and luxurious of name brands in Scotland. You will find everything you are looking for and few things you were not, shopping in New Town.

  • Climb the Scott Monument

Located in Princes Street Gardens is Scott M

onument. A Victorian Gothic Monument dedicated to the memory and works of Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott. Famous for novels such as Ivanhoe (1819) and poems such as Lady in the Lake (1810), this 200 ft (61.11 m) monument was built after he died in 1832.

Completed in 1844, the monument allows you to climb 287 steps to the viewing platforms on top, giving you a spectacular view of the city. Stop at any of the four levels on the way up for a rest and a spectacular view. The climb can be vigorous but worth the view in the end.

  • Calton Hill

Make the climb to Calton Hill and experience some Scottish history as well as a beautiful view of the city. Built in an extinct volcano, Calton Hill is the oldest park in Edinburgh.

This unique green space not only gives you grassy areas to sit on but panoramic views of the city below.

View the night sky at one of the two observatories on Calton Hill or visit the National Monument of Scotland. There are many festivals held at Calton Hill for everyone to enjoy. A great place for the family to spend a day.

Best places to stay in New Town Edinburgh

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in New Town Edinburgh

Budget accommodation in New Town Edinburgh

Mid range accommodation in New Town Edinburgh

Family Friendly accommodation in New Town Edinburgh

Affordable Luxury accommodation in New Town Edinburgh

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - Buildings and shops on George Street in the New Town in Edinburgh, Scotland. The famous New Town is a main shopping area of Edinburgh.

Leith – Coolest place to stay in Edinburgh

Leith is on the northside of Edinburgh, where the shipping docks are, showcasing the Royal Yacht Britannia.

It is one of Edinburgh’s quickly gentrifying neighbourhoods, in the process of transitioning from a rough past to a trendy neighbourhood. 

Leith is one of the best places to stay Edinburgh for relaxation and getting out of the city, perhaphs enjoying a weekend after from the city of Edinburgh.

Just 15 minutes from central Edinburgh, Leith offers affordable accommodation options that are still convenient to everything in town. 

If you like to stay in a place with a bit of an edge, Leith is a great choice. It’s ideally where to stay near Edinburgh. Leith is also the best places to stay in Edinburgh for couples, its a chilled out neighbourhood.

Why Stay in Leith

This trendy neighbourhood by the water is one of the coolest places in Edinburgh to stay. With an interesting assortment of cafes and pubs, you will not be without a place to have a pint or a coffee.

Experience life at sea with the Royal family with a visit to The Royal Yacht Britannia or take a tour of Scotland’s first vertical distillery at Port of Leith Distillery.

A wonderful mix of the historic beginnings of the main port of Edinburgh with a hip-hoppy trend of today makes Leith a great choice when staying in Edinburgh.

Things To Do in Leith

  • Visit the Royal Yacht Britannia

Moored permanently in the Port of Leith is, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s yacht, the Royal Yacht Britannica. In service from 1954 to 1997, the yacht was the first royal yacht designed to travel the oceans.

During its tenure as Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Yacht, Royal Yacht Britannia would take the royal family on 968 state visits in addition to hosting presidents and prime ministers of various countries.

Tour five decks of royal luxury, including the state apartments and the Queen’s favourite room. Admire the waterfront view while enjoying some lunch at the Royal Deck Tearoom. It is a day well spent when you spend it visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia.

  • Tour the UK’s First Vertical Distillery

Port of Leith Distillery is due to open in the summer of 2023. The UK’s first vertical distillery dominates the waterfront skyline with nine stories of whiskey making. At its opening, the distillery will offer tours as well as tasting.

The creation of Ian Sterling and Paddy Fletcher, who also created Lind & Lime Gin Distillery in 2018, a 100% green facility, will be an iconic and groundbreaking development in whisky making for the future. A must-see for everyone who visits Leith.

  • Experience the Arts and Culture of Leith

Leith is the creative arts hub of Edinburgh. Visit The Biscuit Factory for markets and art and cultural events. Enjoy the studios and exhibitions of Out of the Blue Drill Hall and learn to sculpt at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.

Keep an eye on the dates you are there for the many festivals to enjoy in the area. See a concert or community theatre play at the Hidden Door to round out your arts and cultural experience while staying in Leith.

Best places to stay in Leith

Budget accommodation in Leith

Mid range accommodation in Leith

Family Friendly accommodation in Leith

night view of leith at edinburgh, scotland, uk

Broughton – Best Place to stay in Edinburgh on a budget

For a local feel like Leith, but a little less grit, consider staying in Broughton. It’s adjacent to New Town and has many bars, restaurants, cafes and boutiques, but it’s just far enough off the tourist path that you’ll see more locals and have a more authentic Edinburgh experience. 

Broughton is a great neighbourhood if you’re looking to rent a flat, as there are more private homes than commercial hotels in this neighbourhood, offering cheap hotels Edinburgh.

Why Stay in Broughton

Experience authentic Edinburgh culture while saving on your budget. Just off the tourist path is the neighbourhood of Broughton.

This relaxed, friendly locale is located near all the major attractions of Old Town and New Town but not the hustle and bustle that goes with them.

With the options of renting a flat for your visit and lower-priced hotels, it is an excellent choice for those travelling on a budget.

Things To Do in Broughton

  • Visit a Museum

Take a tour through the Museum Collections Centre, where items are held and stored for display in other museums. An interesting variety of items to be viewed from museums, such as the Museum of Childhood and applied arts collections.

The Physicians Gallery gives you a glimpse into the history of medicine in Scotland. A trip to the museum is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

  • Visit an Art Gallery

Walk down Dundas Street and visit the many Art Galleries that line the avenue. Admire the art at The Torrance Gallery, where you can appreciate the contemporary art of Scotland or enjoy the local art at Birch Tree Gallery.

View world-class art at the Ingleby Gallery to highlight your art experience while staying in Broughton.

  • Wine and Dine in Broughton

Experience authentic Scottish cuisine while staying in Broughton. Taste true Scottish fare at Fhior or stop for a pint at the Cask & Barrel.

Enjoy the fine dining in the intimate atmosphere of The Magnum or a Sunday roast at The Ox. A plethora of dining and drinking options are available when you stay in Broughton.

Best places to stay in Broughton

Budget accommodation in Broughton

Mid range accommodation in Broughton

Family Friendly accommodation in Broughton

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - Edinburgh street views, old town. People walking on the road. Edinburgh International Festival

Grassmarket – Where to stay in Edinburgh for nightlife

Originally a livestock marketplace dating back to 1477, the Grassmarket neighborhood of Edinburgh is a lively place filled with history. 

Today, the cobblestone streets are lined with boutiques and design stores. Some Edinburgh’s best restaurants are found in Grassmarket. 

Some of the most popular nightclubs are also in Grassmarket, so it can get a bit rowdy at night. Wondering where to stay in Edinburgh city centre, this is the best area!

Why Stay in Grassmarket

Looking for a great vibe to go with your history? Staying in Grassmarket will keep you moving day and night. Close to The University of Edinburgh, it has that young energy that lights up the night.

Enjoy some live music and a few craft beers at Cabaret Voltaire after seeing the many sights of beautiful Edinburgh.

Dance the night away at Sneaky Pete’s or jump to some heavy metal music at Legends. When you are looking for nightlife in Edinburgh, Grassmarket is the place to stay.

Things To Do in Grassmarket

  • Enjoy the Nightlife

While staying in Grassmarket, there are multiple ways to enjoy the nightlife. Dance clubs such as Cabaret Voltaire and Legends will keep you dancing long into the night.

Enjoy a little horror movie with your pint at the monster-themed pub, Frankenstien or have a little haunting with your meal at The White Hart Inn.

Dragonfly offers you cool cocktails and DJ music on the weekends, and enjoy some pub grub at The Chanter. Drink, dance, and enjoy the nightlife while you stay in Grassmarket.

  • Take a Haunted Tour

Take this award-winning haunted tour through the streets of Edinburgh. Experience two of the planet’s most haunted places with City of the Dead Tours.

Experience the supernatural at places such as Damnation Alley and the Covenanter’s Prison in Greyfriars Graveyard, where the best-documented poltergeist resides.

Hear the stories of Edinburgh’s former residents and how they still walk the streets and lanes in the early morning hours. A spooky tour that cannot be missed while staying in Grassmarket.

  • Enjoy the History and Diversity in Grassmarket

Grassmarket is a mixture of historical relics, whimsical fancy and a multicultural learning with its selection of museums and artifacts.

Stop in at the Victoria Street Viewing Point for a wonderful view of the Gothic architecture within the city while enjoying an excellent view of Edinburgh Castle.

Enjoy the obscure at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, where you can wonder if what you see is actually what you see. Enjoy a show at the Cameo Picturehouse or picnic in the many green spaces and parks throughout the area. 

Best places to stay in Grassmarket

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Grassmarket

Budget accommodation in Grassmarket

Mid range accommodation in Grassmarket

Family Friendly accommodation in Grassmarket

Affordable Luxury accommodation in Grassmarket

Edinburgh, Scotland - Cityscape of old town Edinburgh with classic Scottish buildings on King Stables Road from Johnston Terrace, Grassmarket, near Edinburgh Castle

West End – Best Place to stay in Edinburgh for Celebrity sightings

Edinburgh’s West End includes the areas of Dean Village and Haymarket. Again, the entire area is in walking distance of the city center, but has a totally different feel than Edinburgh’s other neighborhoods. 

Dean Village is just northwest of the city center, and used to be called the “Water of Leith” village since it sits on the banks of the river.

Thanks to the river, nearly a dozen mills once sat here, but it’s now an upscale residential neighborhood.

Each neighborhood has a different vibe, but are excellent choices for your Edinburgh home base, especially if you prefer to rent a flat and get the local feel, offering the coolest places to stay in Edinburgh.

Why Stay in West End

When looking for luxury in Edinburgh, West End is the place to be. With 5-star resorts and luxurious residential housing, staying here might just get you an autograph.

Known as the Exchange District, West End is Edinburgh’s main financial hub. It also has some notable people in its past. Dr. Joseph Bell studied at the University of Edinburgh and was the inspiration for Arthur Conan’s Doyle Sherlock Holmes.

Visit the many trendy boutiques and stop for coffee in the quaint cafes that dot the landscape. It will be an unforgettable stay when staying in West End.

Things To Do in West End

  • Tour the Waldorf Astoria

When you are thinking of luxury in the West End, you have to think of the Waldorf Astoria. This iconic hotel has been a resting place for dignitaries and celebrities since its conception in 1903.

Have a light lunch at the Peacock Alley, where you can see the original station clock or do some fine dining at Grazing by Mark Greenaway.

Sample some of Scotland’s finest scotch and whiskeys at The Caledonian and lose yourself with a spa treatment at the Waldorf Astoria Spa. It is all about luxury from the moment you enter until you leave at the Waldorf Astoria.

  • Sip some Gin at the Edinburgh Gin Distillery

Experience the taste and tours of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery. See how the gin is made and the variety of flavours Edinburgh Gin Distillery creates.

Tours of the distillery include tasting the different gins that are created to making your own cocktails with the various flavours.

Do not miss out on the Chocolate and gin tour, pairing Coco Chocolate with some of your favourite gin liqueurs. A wonderful experience for gin lovers of all types.

  • Visit Dean Village

Along the winding river of Water of Leith is the medieval Dean Village. A quiet residential neighbourhood that years ago held water mills of which you can still see the ruins.

Cobblestone streets take you through this 19th walk back in time. Visit Well Court Hall, which originally housed water mill workers in the 1880s.

Stop to read the many plaques and millstones that tell of a rich past and interesting history. Be sure to stop at St. Bernard’s Well, where it once believed the well had held healing powers. A quaint walk back in history is what you will find when you tour Deans Village.

Best places to stay in West End

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in West End

Budget accommodation in West End

Mid range accommodation in West End

Family Friendly accommodation in West End

Affordable Luxury accommodation in West End

EDINBURGH SCOTLAND - The curve of a beautiful traditional cobbled street in Stockbridge area of Edinburgh

Top 5 favorites accommodation options for Edinburgh

❤️ Best Area first timersOld Town and the Royal Mile
💸 Best Luxury HotelSheraton Grand Hotel & Spa
👪 Best Hotel for For FamiliesYOTEL Edinburgh
🏨 Best Mid-Range HotelThe Scotsman Hotel
🛏️ Best Budget HotelArdenlee Guest House
✨ Best HostelCoDE Pod – The CoURT – Edinburgh

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