October 29, 2020

Where to Stay in Edinburgh: The Best Neighbourhoods to Know

Wondering where to stay in Edinburgh? Scotland's capital city is a cracking place for a short break, with character and charisma all round. Here's our inside guide on where to stay in Edinburgh, including the best neighbourhoods and hotel recommendations for each one.

The Best Places to Stay in Edinburgh

Where to stay in Edinburgh - best neighbourhoods in Edinburgh cover image

Why Should You Visit Edinburgh?

When it comes to the best UK weekend breaks, Edinburgh is right in the top ten, ready to transport you to another time. With her cobbled streets, preserved buildings and capital vibe, Edinburgh is one of those unique cities where everyone should go.

And the beauty of it is that it suits every kind of traveller. She welcomes those looking to stay in grand hotel settings and those looking for budget options and Air BnBs.

National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

Edinburgh's Attractions

Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Castle, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Scotland and Holyrood are the major tourist attractions.

But Edinburgh also offers amazing eateries, brunch spots, bars and restaurants. Her sister city, Glasgow, is known for its nightlife but Edinburgh packs a punch too. No matter your taste, you'll find it in Edinburgh.

For those interested in the great outdoors, Scotland’s flagship city is great for hikes and walking tours. Enjoy the views from Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano just waiting to show you the skyline of Edinburgh. 

Or head underground with dedicated walking tours of spooky former streets, unique Murder Mystery pathways and Harry Potter tours.

The Edinburgh Fringe

During the month of August, record numbers visit the city for the Fringe Festival, the biggest arts and cultural event in the world. It brings together people of the arts, comedy and theatre throughout the whole month with venues and street corners transforming into mock up theatres

So now we know what Edinburgh offers. Where are the best neighbourhoods with Edinburgh hotels? Let’s check out where you can stay in Edinburgh during your trip.


Edinburgh has several quirky and cool neighbourhoods to visit and stay in. It’s easy to navigate this city and find where you want to go.

Scotland is quite compact - and so is Edinburgh.  

We’re going to focus on the centre of the city as that’s where most of the buzz, attractions and must visit places are.


Leith is one of those regenerated and gentrified areas. It used to be a no go area, with a sketchy reputation. Times have changed, though. Now, it's modern, quirky and brimming with international cuisine. 

When visiting Edinburgh, visitors should know that Leith is split into different parts: Leith Docks and Leith Walk.  

Leith Docks is one of the areas completely transformed in the last few years. With a Royal Yacht making its home here, you'll wake up surrounded by plush apartments, cool restaurants and mews dwellings. 

Leith Walk is still filled with the characters and welcoming people of old – making it a unique place to stay during your time in Edinburgh.  Leith is the place to come for new food experiences, a real cosmopolitan paradise.

Whether you stay in a hotel or apartment, you'll find supermarkets with produce from all over the world, including Thai, Middle Eastern, Japanese and Scandinavian.  Leith has some really cool breakfast brunch places by the port too.

Leith is the most budget friendly place to stay in Edinburgh and perfect to use as a base. In this case, we’re gone for a real funky but affordable hotel.


The GPO Café & Rooms in the trendy part of Leith, is comfortable, funky and smart, built in a renovated post office. The contemporary feel fits its location and the onsite artisan café adds to the allure.

Rooms are spacious, with large bay windows and you can get a room here for under £60 a night. For a short break in Edinburgh, this hotel should seriously be considered because of its location and sense of style.


Edinburgh Old Town is completely different to Leith but offers some really cool opportunities for weekends in Edinburgh. Filled with history, spooky stories and more, Edinburgh is known for being haunted and the Old Town is the ghostliest part.

Aside from the ghoul, the Old Town has some of the most amazing architecture on offer to tourists. Stretched along the Royal Mile, this is the land that inspired J.K. Rowling and the stories of Harry Potter.

You'll find The Royal Mile in Edinburgh Old Town and the famous road stretches from the Castle to Holyrood Palace. It's an area that's densely packed with walk-in (free) museums, cosy pubs and quirky cafes at every turn.

Edinburgh Old Town is filled with great hotels and we’ve chosen one that has the prestige of a boutique hotel without the price tag.


Edinburgh’s Hotel Du Vin is right in the heart of the action in Edinburgh's Old Town. The central location makes the place a perfect hub for getting around. Rooms are cosy, inviting and unique. 

This Hotel Du Vin has its very own whisky room (very Scottish) and a lovely wine list in the brasserie. Rooms cost from round £105 per night.


This is Edinburgh’s most affluent and sought after area to live. Stockbridge is its own small village near Edinburgh city centre. It has its own memorable character, together with artisan markets and shops.

As expected, visitors will find fine dining restaurants, hip bars and pubs brewing local beers. You'll also find cheese shops, unique clothing stores and a popular Sunday Farmer’s market.

Stockbridge is a wonderful place to call home for a few days or even a week, being close to all the city action. In short, Stockbridge is a hipster’s village paradise.

We’ve chosen a luxury hotel in Stockbridge which is perfect for the discerning visitor looking for the finer things in life.


The Raeburn is situated in an immaculate Georgian mansion in the heart of fashionable Stockbridge. This boutique property offers guests a unique experience with fine dining, quiet surroundings and great bar experiences. Stay from £122 per night.


Edinburgh’s new town was built nearly 200 years ago after a massive fire. Living in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, the new town is bang in the city centre.  Staying here means you will be close to the likes of Princes Street Gardens, endless pubs, bars, restaurants and great shopping opportunities on George Street. The architecture is as alluring as Edinburgh's Old Town, with endless Georgian buildings dotted around green spaces.

The Balmoral

This is one of the best places to stay in Edinburgh. The Balmoral has its own Michelin star restaurant and nearly 170 rooms to choose from, each with cool and chic interiors.

The Balmoral also has a top of the range spa to unwind in after a day exploring the likes of Edinburgh Castle and everything else in between.

Where to stay in Edinburgh - best neighbourhoods in Edinburgh cover image

So that's it. The guide on where to stay in Edinburgh for first timers, with some notes about the best neighbourhoods in Edinburgh too. Enjoy your short break in Edinburgh! If you have more time, you may want to consider this road trip through Scotland itinerary.

More on Travel in the UK

While you're in the UK, add some of the best places to visit in England to your British travel itinerary.


Make the most of the big smoke with this 72 hour London itinerary and escape the tourist crowds through these 21 unusual things to do in London.

For practicalities, check out the best neighbourhoods to stay in London and the best boutique hotels in Shoreditch, London.

Don't miss my favourite spot and take a London to Bath day trip. Better yet, stay in Bath and explore...

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds roll over the gentle hills between Bath and Oxford, all thatched cottages, great eateries and rustic charm. Follow this perfect Cotswolds itinerary and interlace with unusual things to do in the Cotswolds or venture into Bristol, Britain's sassy city.


Explore the Forest of Dean or the curiously named Symonds Yat.



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