Where to Stay in Edinburgh – By A Local

New Town edinburgh

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Wondering where to stay in Edinburgh? Each of Scotland’s capital areas has its charm, appeal, and options for accommodation with varying price points.

So whether you are visiting to explore the museums, to attend the incredible Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for the Christmas and Hogmanay festivities, or just for a couple of days, this guide is here to help you sift through all of the possibilities of places to stay in Edinburgh to find the perfect place for your budget. 

You may also like our guide to things to do and see in Edinburgh.

Planning a trip to Caledonia? Join my Scotland Facebook group and ask fellow visitors for advice.

Best Places to Stay in Edinburgh

In Scotland, we call the different parts of a city ‘areas’. In other countries such as the USA, you would call these areas ‘neighborhoods’ and in Europe, ‘districts’.

There are around 20 areas in Edinburgh. Each area has its attractions, lifestyle, and affordability calculator.

I will look at five close to the main city center. What you dictate to be the ‘best area to stay in Edinburgh’ depends on your style of travel and reason for visiting. Use the information below to help you make a decision.

If you are visiting during the Edinburgh Fringe, expect prices to triple. 

  • For the sightseers! New Town/Old Town City Center 
  • For the young at heart looking for hipster bars: Leith
  • For the trendy, slow pace visitor: Stockbridge
  • For the readers with upmarket taste: Morningside/Bruntsfield

→ Note: Two Scots Abroad personally use Booking.com. They find it great value for money, easy to use, and love that you can often cancel without charge. As committed customers, they enjoy ‘next level’ Genuis discounts to help save money.

Map of Edinburgh’s top areas for accommodation

Where to Stay in Edinburgh Map

Getting Around Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the most walkable and visitor-friendly cities you can visit.

You can get to all the attractions on foot in the city center. 

Make use of the extensive public transport network.

Jumping on and off the Lothian Transport buses is easy with a day rider ticket.

The trams are readily available through the city center and to the airport.

You can use your day rider ticket for Lothian Buses on the network. 

Taxis and Ubers are available.

Self-driving is fine if you are going out of the city.

The Old and New Towns are difficult to navigate and often gridlocked, particularly at The Fringe or Christmas, and there are lots of streets blocked off at these times, which makes it even harder.

Edinburgh Tram, visitor with suitcase

Best Area to Stay in Edinburgh

City Centre

The city center comprises two areas, Old Town and New Town. Looking over from the New Town towards the Old Town, you see Edinburgh Castle, the Spires of St Giles Cathedral, and The Mound.

Think of all the top Edinburgh attractions, and 90% of them can be found here, including Royal Mile, Harry Potter, Princes Street shopping, and Rose Street/George Street pubs.

If you are looking for hotels near Edinburgh University, this is the area to be situated in. 

Looking over from the Old Town towards the New Town, you can spot the Scott Monument, Calton Hill, and the beautiful Princes Street Gardens, home to Edinburgh’s Christmas and many music events. 

With the architecture and history that this small area of around 40km square holds, it is little wonder that 1995 it was awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Old Town Accommodation

Best Seller Hotel in Edinburgh $$

Apex Grassmarket Hotel, with views of the castle and easy accessibility to some of the most fabulous eateries that Edinburgh offers, is loved by visitors for its location, staff, and amenities. 

This popular chain is located directly across from one of the best pubs in Edinburgh, the Last Drop. On Saturdays, you can enjoy the local farmer’s market.

Boutique Hotel $$

Edinburgh Old Town rents out trendy serviced apartments, one of which is Old Town Chambers.

These modern apartments come with city views just off the iconic Royal Mile.

Luxury toiletries are included. With an open-plan fitted kitchen, dining area, lounge, and luxury bathroom, this is a secret sanctuary from the busy city street.

Luxury Hotel $$$

If it is an unadulterated luxury that you are after, you will find it difficult to go anywhere else but The Witchery by the Castle.

Set just outside the gates of Edinburgh Castle, this hidden gem is the epitome of history meeting luxury.

Sumptuous decor with gothic inspiration, velvet-lined walls with reds and gold adorning the rooms.

You don’t have far to go to enjoy a gastronomic delight as The Witchery restaurant serves food that would please a king.

Budget Hostel $

This one is perfect for you if you are looking for cheap hostels in Edinburgh.

Kick Ass Greyfriars is set in the historic Old Town and offers dorm beds, security, and USB charging, and is close to all the bars.

Its sister hostel, Kick Ass Grassmarket, has just introduced Japanese-style pods for extra privacy.

Views of Edinburgh from Calton Hill

New Town Hotels

If you are looking for places to stay in Edinburgh’s city center but want to avoid the touristy Old Town, then the New Town might be right for you.

This is where you will find the popular shopping area Princes Street, Princes Street Gardens, and Waverley Train Station.

You can walk to the Old Town from Waverley Station in less than 15 minutes.

New Town Hotels 

Best Sellers $$

Set in the heart of the shopping area of Edinburgh, the IBIS Styles Edinburgh City Center Hotel offers modern rooms, comfortable beds and breakfast.

Guests love the proximity to Waverley Station, Princes Street, Mulberry Walk, and Edinburgh’s luxury shopping area.

Boutique $$

It seems there are boutique hotels on every corner of the New Town!

Situated on George Street, one of the trendy bar areas of Edinburgh, Tigerlily Hotel offers you award-winning rooms with all that you will need to relax in comfort.

With a restaurant, bar, and nightclub all on-site, your evenings are sorted. Enjoy the cocktail list and then stumble upstairs to bed. Bliss.

Luxury $$$

Built in the early 1900s, The Waldorf Astoria The Caledonian gives you the luxury you want.

It offers rooms with fluffy bathrobes, flat-screen TVs, and views of the Castle.

Situated at the end of Princes Street in Edinburgh’s West End, you are sandwiched between Waverley Train Station and Haymarket Train Station.

Another plus of this hotel is the restaurants it boasts. You will be spoiled for choice!

New Town Budget Hostel $

The Baxter Hostel offers a new hostel type with comfortable beds, secure lockers, and a self-catering kitchen with boutique vibes.

If you are changing your feelings about cheap hostels in Edinburgh, don’t bypass The Baxter. 

This custom-built hostel screams ‘take my photo’, but it isn’t shallow!

Guests love the top-quality utilities and cooked breakfast.

Scottish National Gallery Edinburgh landscape shot

Leith Hotels

Leith is one area of Edinburgh you will recognize from the film ‘Trainspotting”.

Yet this city village by the water is alive with the buzz of artisans and entrepreneurs offering their wares in independent boutiques.

This is where the cool kids hang out. With craft beer pubs, seafood restaurants and Edinburgh’s top bakery mixed with a Michelin-starred restaurant, Leith offers you a different side to Edinburgh, away from the overworn areas of the more popular parts. 

On a warm evening, Leith can feel very European with its cobbled streets, canal, and al fresco dining.

Are you looking for something less sophisticated?

Do a pub crawl around the Waters of Leith, stopping at Roseleaf, Teuchters Landing, Nobles, and Port o’ Leith, then fall into bed. Feed the hangover at Ostara or The Kings Wark.

Leith Walk is the area of Leith, which is closest to Princes Street in the New Town. The Playhouse, Omni Centre (cinema, restaurants), and the St James Quarter all sit at the top.

Saunter down this long street to reach Leith proper; this walk will take around 40 minutes.

Fuel up at Valvona & Crolla, an Edinburgh institution since the 1930s, and pop into The Dog House for a pint and some board games.

From the heart of Leith, you can walk or cycle into town using the Waters of Leith walkways nestled under trees.

This path also connects you to Dean Village.

Leith is where Gemma lived when she started dating Craig. They also had their big Scottish wedding party at Leith Theatre Thomas Morton Hall.

People drinking at Port o Leith pub in Leith Edinburgh

Leith Hotels

Leith Guest House $

If you are looking for a cheap guest house in Edinburgh, The Sandaig offers you good value for money.

Overlooking Leith Links, this Victorian house has free parking, good access to public transport, a hearty breakfast, and comfortable rooms. Read reviews here at TripAdvisor. 

Best Seller $$

Situated beside Ocean Terminal, The Holiday Inn Express Waterfront in Leith allows you to explore the shopping area.

It is close to The Royal Yacht Britannia, a must for those exploring Leith.

Boutique $$

SNo. 11 Brunswick Street is a boutique hotel at the top of the walk. I love this place!

It has a fantastic restaurant and gorgeous rooms and is within easy walking distance of Leith and the New Town.

Luxury $$$

Right on the waterfront in Leith, Malmaison Hotel Leith offers you a luxurious bolt-hole away from the busy streets of the city center.

It’s the perfect place to stay close to all the bars and restaurants along the canal, which runs through the area. The hotel has free parking, which is unusual for Edinburgh. 

This is where Gemma and Craig (Two Scots Abroad) stayed for their big Scottish wedding party (they eloped to Austin, Texas), and family members bumped into the Celtic football team.

Sunset in the Shore, Leith, Edinburgh..shutterstock_493054978

Stockbridge Accommodation

As areas in Edinburgh go, this is one of my favorites.

Wandering through the streets here gives you a more bohemian feel, and if you are into vintage shopping, there are many upmarket charity shops in Stockbridge. 

The Sunday afternoon market promotes local artisan items and fresh produce.

You will fall in love with Edinburgh right here, within close walking distance to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Circus Lane (image below), and the beautiful Dean Village.

It is also a perfect base if you want ideas on where to stay for the Edinburgh Fringe. 

Stockbridge Hotels 

Best Sellers $$

In the heart of Stockbridge, one hotel will soothe your weary soul with its food, drinks, and rooms.

It is one of my favorite places to go and enjoy a meal and relax in the bar.

The Raeburn is modern and comfortable.

Luxury $$$

Within five minutes walking from Stockbridge main street, the Nira Caledonia is a Georgian townhouse with rooms to ensure you have a good rest after all that exploring.

Budget Hostel $

As far as cheap rooms in Edinburgh go, you will struggle to find as good a deal as the West End Hostel

With comfy beds and secure lockers, you have everything you need for a base to explore Scotland’s capital.

Circus Lane Edinburgh News at Christmas with decorations_


The Southside of Edinburgh includes two lesser-known city areas, Bruntsfield and Morningside.

Both are affluent neighborhoods with independent boutiques, cute cafes, and a cinema in each area. 

Morningside has The Dominion film house, a local’s favorite and a lesser-known oddity, the Wild West Morningside, an alley resembling a cowboy film set at Springvalley Gardens.

Morningside and Bruntsfield Accommodation

Bed and Breakfast $

If you are looking for cheap places to stay in Edinburgh, Albyn Townhouse (bed and breakfast) offers affordable prices for excellent accommodation.

Clean rooms, comfortable beds, and breakfasts to sort out even the fussiest in your party.

Best Seller $$

Overlooking Bruntsfield Links, the Best Western Plus is a popular choice.

Near The Kings Theatre, it has free parking, and public transport is easily accessible.

Boutique $$

The Black Ivy is a wee hidden gem in Bruntsfield. It is super modern, Instagram-friendly, and has a popular bar underneath, open until 1 am at weekends. 

With the Edinburgh Conference Center, The Usher Hall, and Filmhouse Cinema all within a 15-minute walk, this offers a luxurious stay in a quieter area with everything nearby.

Red sign of the Dominion Morningside Cinema in Edinburgh

Final words

I love Edinburgh, the vibes, the food, the bars, and the hotels. These are a few of my best places to stay in Edinburgh, and I hope you will enjoy exploring everything this Scottish capital has to offer. 

About the author

Ruth is a school teacher and a travel fanatic with a bucket list that’s getting smaller.

4 thoughts on “Where to Stay in Edinburgh – By A Local

  1. John says:

    Hi, you mention “Edinburgh’s top bakery” and a “Michelin starred restaurant” when talking about Leith. Could you share the names of those? Thanks!

  2. Rocky laster says:

    Planning a 7 day trip to Scotland in October wife is a big outlander fan do you have any suggestions on guided tours from Edinburgh

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