Best area to stay in Edinburgh

What is the best area to stay in Edinburgh?

By Lauren Kendrick. November 07, 2023

Wondering where to stay in Edinburgh? The Scottish capital is a fairytale city, blending the modern era with the medieval times. The city is relatively small in comparison to most other capitals, but this is what makes it so special. Not only is it easy to visit the majority of tourist attractions in just a few days, but the city maintains an intimate feel. Whether you want to sightsee, shop, or spend your time eating your way around the best restaurants in the city, Edinburgh is a city that caters to every kind of traveller.


The best area to stay in Edinburgh is the Old Town as it’s located in the city centre and near the city’s top landmarks. Here you’ll find plenty of medieval and 16th-century architecture including Gothic cathedrals, beautiful palaces, and, of course, the imposing Edinburgh Castle. Plus, the Royal Mile is home to a variety of whisky, gin, and tablet shops – the perfect souvenir. The Old Town also acts as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s bustling hub, coming alive throughout the summer months. But the best part is that Edinburgh’s neighbourhoods are close together, meaning you can walk across the city with ease.

Hotel   Avg price
Brooks Hotel Edinburgh
70 Grove Street
132€ - 144$
Motel One Edinburgh-Royal
18-21 Market Street
187€ - 204$
Hotel   Avg price
Hotel Indigo Edinburgh
51 - 59 York Place
216€ - 235$
Apex Waterloo Place Hotel
23 - 27 Waterloo Place
231€ - 252$
Nira Caledonia
6 - 10 Gloucester Place
256€ - 279$
The Rutland Hotel
1 - 3 Rutland Street
396€ - 432$
Hotel   Avg price
The Glasshouse, Autograph Collection
2 Greenside Place, New Town
372€ - 405$

If you are interested in where to stay in Edinburgh, you may also be interested in where to stay in Glasgow and where to stay in London.

Old Town, the best area to stay in Edinburgh


History / Sightseeing / Edinburgh Fringe



Old TownIf it’s your first time in Edinburgh, stay in the Old Town. This is where you will find the majority of historic sites, including Edinburgh Castle. If you’re arriving by train, this is the first landmark you will spot as the castle sits on the most elevated land in the city. Much of the Edinburgh Fringe, a month-long celebration of art and culture, takes place each August here, too.


The Royal Mile, a traditional shopping street, is another standout of the Old Town that stretches between the castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. From here, you can also walk to Arthur’s Seat, a majestic hill overlooking the city.


There’s plenty to do in this part of Edinburgh, which means it’s perfect for tourists. Camera Obscura is a popular attraction that features a museum of illusions and a tower with panoramic views across the city, while Victoria Street’s magical shops are heaven for fans of the Harry Potter series.



Hotels in Old Town



Other areas to stay in Edinburgh


New Town


Shopping / Museums / Restaurants



New TownSituated on the other side of the North Bridge, the New Town is another brilliant place to stay in Edinburgh if you love to shop. Most of the architecture here is from the Georgian period, including both the National Gallery of Scotland and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. These two are as impressive on the outside as they are on the inside, showcasing much of Scotland’s finest artworks and holding many different exhibitions throughout the year.


Two of Edinburgh’s busiest streets, Princes Street and George Street, are here, as is the main train station, Edinburgh Waverley. As well as this, the recently-opened St James Quarter is one of the most popular places to eat, drink, and shop in the city – the shopping centre is home to a variety of designer and high street brands, plus a wonderful food court serving tasty international cuisine.



Hotels in New Town




West End


Culture / Nightlife



West EndEdinburgh’s West End is the perfect neighbourhood for visitors looking for a vibrant nightlife scene and plenty of culture. This district sits at the western end of Princes Street, Edinburgh's main shopping area. Here you’ll find a wide range of high-end stores, local boutiques, and gin shops, making it a paradise for souvenir shopping.


This neighbourhood is great for students as it’s where some of the best pubs, bars, and clubs in the city can be found. Or, if you would rather enjoy some high-brow fun, the West End is also home to several museums and art galleries, including the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Additionally, the postcard-worthy village of Dean is just a short walk away, where you can wander amongst cosy cottages – just don’t forget to bring your camera along!



Hotels in West End






Cafes / Shopping



LeithA little bit further out of the city centre, to the north of the New Town, is one of Edinburgh’s most interesting areas to stay, Leith. It’s one of the best places to stay if you are looking to save some serious cash.


Historically important as the city’s port, the neighbourhood bounced back strongly after a period of industrial decline. But that’s not to say that Leith has lost its character – instead, Leith is one of the cooler parts of town.


The area is home to many independent cafes, restaurants, and coffee shops, as well as some beautiful waterside pubs. On the water's edge, and linked to the town centre with frequent buses, the Ocean Terminal Mall provides a relaxed shopping and dining experience with great views of the Firth of Forth. It's also currently home to the Royal Yacht Britannia.



Hotels in Leith






Royal Botanic Garden / Shopping



StockbridgeTo the north of New Town is the area of Stockbridge, one of the most charming parts of the entire city. This is where to stay for a more chilled-out stay in Edinburgh. Stockbridge is much quieter than the main city centre and is filled with independent shops as well as being home to one of the most impressive attractions in the city, the Royal Botanic Garden.


You’ll find plenty of cafes and restaurants in Stockbridge, while Circus Lane is a picturesque row of houses that has become a very famous photo spot. The only downside of staying in this area is that there are fewer hotels here, so you should book in advance to ensure you find somewhere to stay. Plus, if you want to head back into the New Town, you’ll need to be prepared to walk up a steep hill to reach it.



Hotels in Stockbridge






History / Architecture / Restaurants



HaymarketIf you want to explore more of Edinburgh’s fascinating history, but don’t want to splurge on an expensive hotel, staying in the Haymarket area is ideal. Haymarket’s hotels are significantly cheaper than those in the Old Town, though you’re easily connected to the city centre by trams and the local train station. Plus, you can walk to the New Town in around fifteen minutes.


There’s plenty to see in Haymarket, as the neighbourhood is lined with pretty Victorian and Georgian architecture. Strolling through its streets, you'll find charming buildings, cobbled lanes, and elegant townhouses.


When hunger strikes, Haymarket has got you covered. The area around Morrison Street is filled with restaurants and bars, serving everything from Scottish cuisine to international fare. You can also spend an evening in a quaint pub, as there are several places to drink and socialise nearby.



Hotels in Haymarket

Lauren KendrickLauren Kendrick

Lauren is a travel-obsessed writer from the UK. She has spent a lot of time in Edinburgh as many of her friends and family live there. Her favourite things to do in the city are shopping in Stockbridge and visiting Victoria Street in the Old Town.