Where to Stay in Edinburgh – By A Local

Edinburgh Princes Street from Calton Hill with views of Balmoral Clock tower, shops and spires

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‘Where to stay in Edinburgh’ is a great question, but one that is a little tricky to answer! The best Edinburgh neighbourhood, or ‘area’ as we call them, depends on what you are looking to do with your time, if you’re travelling alone, as a couple or with family and your budget.

So we’ve taken each Edinburgh area, detailed the best things to do there and made hotel suggestions so you can choose the best option of your trip.

Edinburgh is a diverse city with many different areas to choose from, each with a different appeal. So whether you’re looking for the best budget hotels in Edinburgh City Centre or something with a bit more luxury, read on!

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The Best Places to Stay in Edinburgh Summary

Visiting in winter? Check out the most festive hotels in the city here.

Calton Hill Edinburgh Dugald Stewart Monument

Getting Around Edinburgh

Before getting stuck in to where you might like to stay in Edinburgh, it’s useful to think about how you will get to and from your accommodation to the fantastic sights that Edinburgh has to offer.

Edinburgh has a great transport system which is similar to many European cities.

Lothian Buses serve the vast majority of the city – you can almost guarantee that you’ll be close to a bus stop wherever you stay.

Lothian also run NightBus services every night of the week on selected routes.

Here’s our guide to Edinburgh Bus Station.

Edinburgh Bus Stop

Edinburgh Trams serve one route with stops through the West of Edinburgh from the Airport to York Place at the East End.

ScotRail trains serve stops further afield, although there are some local stops throughout the city.

Waverley Train Station with People Edinburgh Transport

So, if you are looking for the cheapest way to stay in Edinburgh, you might want to consider staying a little further out of the City Centre and using the public transport options available to visit attractions around the city.

And, public transport is a great way to get around if you are heading out for a drink or two.

With some services running 24-hours, you could check out a pub quiz or things to do at night and get the bus home.

Edinburgh New Town Tram Multrees Walk Harvey Nichols

City Centre Hotels

Who’s it for? Everyone!

The City Centre is a bustling mix of people.

Just because it is home to some of the most prestigious hotels in Edinburgh, doesn’t mean that there are some budget options available.

So, the City Centre is perfect for a romantic couple’s retreat, a group of friends or families visiting the Capital.

Scott Monument in Edinburgh

Things to do in Edinburgh City Centre

Edinburgh City Centre is actually two popular areas of the city combined.

This is where parts of the Old Town and New Town live in harmony so you can have the history and the hype on your accommodation doorstep.

Take Princes Street Gardens as the divider, south of the Gardens is classified as the Old Town.

  • The Edinburgh Dungeons – scary stories, underground
  • The Fruitmarket Gallery – contemporary art gallery/cafe
  • Scott Monument – 287 steps for city views
  • Princes Street Gardens – picnics, gigs and the Christmas Market
  • RSA and National Gallery museums – exhibitions and art
  • Waverley Shopping Centre and popup rooftop bar
  • St Andrews Square – calm green space next to George Street

Here’s our guide the best photo spots in Edinburgh

Best Hotel – Edinburgh City Centre

As with every major city, some of your most expensive and prestigious hotels reside in the City Centre.

Some of the industry’s biggest names such as:

Balmoral Hotel Suite Room

These popular and established hotels are a stone’s throw away from Princes Street, the epicentre of Edinburgh.

If you have a large budget and are looking for a central location, these hotels are a great option.

Did you know? You can stay in the very room that J.K. Rowling finished her final novel – the Deathly Hallows.

Room 552 at The Balmoral is available for booking!

Check out our Edinburgh Harry Potter guide to find out more.

The Balmoral also features in our most romantic hotels guide.

Harry Potter JK Rowling Door at Balmoral

Edinburgh Budget Hotels – City Centre

The City Centre is not simply reserved for the rich and famous, however!

There are a number of budget options available for travellers looking to save some cash.

Jurys Inn is located 5 minutes from Waverley Station, at the base of the Royal Mil close to Cockburn Street which has lots of food and drink options.

Jurys Inn Hotel Double Room

Rooms are basic yet clean and the staff are friendly.

Some rooms have views of Calton Hill.

Not bad for under £100 per night!

Friend of the website, Joella (US) also recommends Hotel Indigo, across from Edinburgh Waverley Train Station.

Check out our guide to budget hotels in Edinburgh for more.

Edinburgh city centre airbnbs Calton Hill views

Old Town Hotels

Who’s it for?

Certainly one of the more pricey areas in Edinburgh so the Old Town would suit anyone with cash to splash!

The cobbled streets and winding closes make this a very magical and romantic area, so would be perfect for a romantic city break.

The Old Town is a relatively small area which is centred around the Royal Mile. Hotels here are likely to attract a higher cost due to their central and picturesque location.

Touching Humes Toe Edinburgh Royal Mile Edinburgh

Things to do in Old Town, Edinburgh

This is where first time visitors will spend at least a day in Edinburgh.

  • Rub Hume’s toe on the Royal Mile
  • Spend a morning at Edinburgh Castle
  • Spit in the Heart of Midlothian
  • Drink a pint at the Grassmarket
  • Get a selfie with Greyfrairs Bobby
  • Visit the graveyard which inspired Harry Potter characters
  • Spend a day at the many Old Town museums, see our guide for Edinburgh with kids for more
  • Hike up Arthur’s Seat at Holyrood
  • See a debate at the Scottish Parliament
  • Visit the royal residence of Holyrood Palace

Here’s everything you can’t miss in the Old Town.

Greyfriars Bobby Edinburgh

Best Hotel – Edinburgh Old Town

Looking for Edinburgh hotels near the Royal Mile? Look no further.

If you want to be in the middle of the action, Raddison’s collection hotel on George IV Bridge is only a few minutes walk from the castle, the Grassmarket, Princes Street and local bus services.

The plush furnishings, great location and excellent service make this a great hotel for couples looking for a romantic weekend getaway.

The contemporary Scottish decor also makes it one of the more unique places to stay in Edinburgh.

One of the most romantic hotels in Edinburgh has to be The Dunstane House.

A boutique hotel with standalone copper baths just off the Royal Mile. Bliss.

Like a sexier vibe? House of Gods is the hotel to stay at this year.

Read our impartial review of House of Gods. We stayed in a suite!

New Town Hotels

Who’s it for?

This is Edinburgh’s main shopping district, so it’s a perfect place to stay if you’re planning to hit the shops while you’re here!

There’s also lots of high end clubs, bars and restaurants here; making this an excellent base for foodies.

The New Town encompasses Edinburgh’s Princes Street and George Street, along with areas such as Stockbridge.

The difference in the layout is stark – this area is clearly recognisable for having a much more structured grid layout and the buildings appear much larger and grander than the Old Town.

Edinburgh. Princes St. Night

Things to do in Edinburgh New Town

  • Shop ’til you drop at St James Quarter
  • Enjoy a drink with a view at Juniper Edinburgh
  • Visiting at Christmas? Don’t miss The Dome
  • Drink cocktails on George Street
  • Pub crawl along Rose Street
  • See a show at The Stand
  • People watch over St Andrews Square from Harvey Nichols
  • Consider Edinburgh’s link with the slave trade, many of the New Town buildings were built by merchants who profited from it
The Dome Decorations Christmas Tree Winter Edinburgh George Street_

Hotels in Edinburgh New Town

The New Town was designed to be much more open than its neighbouring Old Town, and this can be seen in its many public parks and gardens.

So, if you want to be in the centre but prefer a stroll through some beautiful parks, this area might be for you.

Bute House West End Edinburgh

Best Hotel – Edinburgh New Town

The Malmaison Edinburgh City on St Andrew Square is right in the centre of the city, and a stone’s throw from the tram stop meaning this is a great location for travellers wishing to stay in the New Town and travelling to Edinburgh Airport.

It’s also perfectly located for some evening drinks at the Harvey Nichols bar which offers incredible views of the North of Edinburgh and the Forth.

St Andrews Square in Edinburgh

Stockbridge & Dean Village

Stockbridge is an affluent area in Edinburgh located in the north of the city.

Once a small village outside of the city boundaries, this area is now popular with the families who reside there and hungry visitors at the weekend.

Pretty streets pull in the Instagram fans and trendy tourists will find the second hand shopping a steal.

Dean Village is a photographer’s dream with its crooked buildings surrounding the water and that yellow building on everyone’s social media.

Known as “Water of Leith Village”, this is an old gran milling industrial area in Edinburgh.

It feels completely detached from city life.

Stockbridge Market Sign Stockbridge Edinburgh

Things to do in Stockbridge & Dean Village

  • Shop at the Stockbridge Market on Saturdays
  • Shop at the second-hand shops
  • Dine at the many cafes and restaurants
  • See the flowers at the Potted Garden
  • Get ‘that shot’ on Circus Lane
  • Walk along the river to Dean Village
  • Stop off at St Bernard’s Well (Greek Goddess of Health, Hygeia)

Read our full guide on things to do in Stockbridge.

Hotels in Stockbridge

The Raeburn Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel.

This Georgian House Hotel has a popular restaurant, ten bedrooms, outdoor terraces and private dining.

The perfect hotel for a romantic getaway.

For more, here’s our guide where to stay in Stockbridge.

Learn the lingo! Here’s 40 Scottish words you need to know

Stockbridge The Raeburn Hotel Pub Food Edinburgh

West End

Who’s it for?

Hipsters and art lovers.

Close to the Gallery of Modern Art, the West End is for culture seekers.

(Check out the famous ‘no miracles’ sign outside the Modern Art Gallery – it’s a great Instagram shot!)

Edinburgh Modern Art Museum.

The West End is home to some of Edinburgh’s best independent shops, bars and restaurants.

It’s also home to the Scottish First Minister – if it’s good enough for them…!

West End sign in Edinburgh

West End Edinburgh Hotels

Some of the best hotels in Edinburgh are located in the West End.

The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian is one of the most luxurious hotels in the capital and some rooms features views of the Castle.

It also features in our most festive hotels in Edinburgh for Christmas.

The Kimpton on Charlotte Square is another luxurious hotel which has some stunning architecture.

Even if you are not staying at the hotel, the indoor Garden area is worth a visit for a cup of tea, a cake and some quiet in amongst the hustle and bustle of the city.

Waldorf Hotel Caledonian West End Edinburgh hotel Scotland

Leith

Who’s it for? Younger travellers, travellers looking to save a little cash on accommodation and seafood lovers.

Leith is located in the North of Edinburgh and is where the city’s port is located.

This might be the best location for you if you are boarding a cruise ship in Edinburgh!

The Royal Yacht Britannia is the main tourist attraction in Leith, a museum on the water.

There are also lots of lovely walks along the water of Leith connecting this area of Edinburgh with the upmarket Stockbridge and picturesque Deans Village.

Read more about this walk in our free things to do in guide.

Leith Shore with boats Edinburgh

Leith is also famous for its incredible seafood restaurants and lively bars, so if that interests you, this might be a great place to base yourself.

The bars in Leith a plentiful and varied from cocktail bars to old man pubs.

There’s even a hip food truck market found in the likes of Portland, Oregon.

People drinking at Port o Leith pubs in Leith food

This area has been redeveloped extensively in the last twenty years, so you are more likely to find apartments to stay in Edinburgh here.

Apartments along the Waterfront are likely to have stunning views of the Forth and Fife, so this is something to look out for when booking.

It is close to both Portobello and Cramond Beach. Here’s more on beaches near Edinburgh,

Portobello Beach Cafes People _

Things to do in Leith

The Leith vibe is very much about lazy mornings and musing about the independent shops and boozing at the bars.

  • Enjoy a long brunch
  • Buy from Edinburgh’s makers at Scottish Design Exchange
  • Take a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Enjoy a breezy walk along to Cramond or Portobello Beach
  • Wander along the Waters of Leith to Stockbridge
  • Into fine dining? Eat at Martin Wishart
  • Join the locals at Pitt Street Market in Granton (weekends)
  • Have a pint by the fire at The Carriers Quarters
  • Do a Leith Walk pub crawl into town

Read more: Things to do in Leith and Newhaven

Teuchters Landing

Hotels in Leith

If you are still looking for affordable luxury, the Malmaison is located right on the Shore.

This is where Gemma and her family stayed for her wedding party night at Leith Theatre.

Malmaison is a modern chain of hotels but don’t let the chain aspect put you off.

Right by the water, it is the perfect location for visiting Michelin star restaurants The Kitchin and Restaurant Martin Wishart.

Read more in our where to stay in Leith guide.

Malmaison Leith Building

Getting to Leith

The great thing is that Leith is served by a number of different Lothian Buses services so you can easily get into the city centre.

Quay Commons in Leith

West Edinburgh Accommodation

West Edinburgh extends along the tram and bus routes towards Edinburgh Airport.

The West of the City is home to many great attractions such as Murrayfield Rugby Stadium, so the West would be a great place to stay for rugby fans!

This area is principally served by the 26 and 31 bus routes and the tram, so, although not quite in the thick of the action, it is easily accessible and should not be dismissed.

For these reasons, West Edinburgh is a great place to stay for families wondering where to stay with kids.

Hotels in West Edinburgh

West Edinburgh is fairly quiet and residential, so there are a number of bed and breakfast style accommodations here.

As well, the Holiday Inn on Corstorphine Road is served by the 12, 26 and 31 buses and the Leonardo Edinburgh Murrayfield hotel on Clermiston Road is served by the 26 bus.

Staying in West Edinburgh? Check out Corstorphine Hill for a forest walk.

Scotland Edinburgh sports stadium drone. Murrayfield. Rugby.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh for the Fringe

The great thing about the Edinburgh Festivals is that they take place all over the city, weaving into everyday life for a few weeks of the year.

This means that any part of the city that has been mentioned in this guide will be suitable for festival-goers.

One area that really comes to life during the Fringe is the University area around Bristo Square and George Square, edging on to Edinburgh’s Meadows and Southside.

Any apartments in this area would be perfect for festival attendees.

The plush Quartermile development is home to some of Edinburgh’s most luxurious apartments and the Marriott Residence Inn, which is great for longer stays.

The atmosphere around this area during the festivals is electric and you won’t regret booking here.

Performers on Royal Mile Edinburgh Festival Fringe_

Where to Stay Near Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Airport is located in the West of the City, near to Newbridge and Ratho.

The great news is that the Lothian airport bus service runs 24-hours a day to connect the City Centre with air travellers.

There are also early morning and late evening trams which connect the airport to the heart of the city.

If you are looking for a hotel to stay in at the airport, there are a few options.

The Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh Airport, DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh Airport, and Moxy Hotel (Gemma’s recommendation) are all located ideally for the airport – and are either a short walk or complimentary shuttle bus away from departures.

The Premier Inn and Travelodge hotels located at the airport are actually a considerable distance from the terminal, and so you should use caution if you are catching an early morning flight and looking to book into these hotels.

Both are around an hour walk to the airport, six minutes by car, or would cost £12 to £14 in a taxi.

If you are planning on paying to leave your car at the airport, these may be an option for you.

Don’t miss our guide on how to get Edinburgh Airport from the city.

Edinburgh Airport Air Traffic Control Tower Trainsport.

“Can you stay at Edinburgh Castle?”

Although this sounds like an awesome idea, sadly, the answer is no! And you’ll probably be glad of it.

This many-hundred-year-old building may be incredible, imposing and impressive; but it is almost certainly draughty!

You would be much better off checking out hotels in the surrounding area that have excellent views of the Castle.

Edinburgh

Our Edinburgh Accommodation Guides

Overall

Old Town

City Centre

West End

Leith

Stockbridge

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