Where to Stay in Edinburgh – Neighborhoods & Area Guide

The city of Edinburgh is one of the most exciting cities in the United Kingdom. As the captain of Scotland, Edinburgh flies St Andrew’s flag with pride, along with its deep and varied history.

Edinburgh is rich in cultural and historical gems. The Old Town, home to the famous Royal Mile, is one of the most popular places to explore in the city. Sitting high upon the hill, peering down on the city below, is Edinburgh Castle, the most iconic landmark in the city.

It is fair to say that Edinburgh is a lively city, no matter the season. The Scots kick the year off in style with the Hogmanay celebrations that start on the last day of the year and run long into New Year’s Day. Then there is the summer. In the month of August, Edinburgh opens its door to some of the funniest and most witty performers in the world. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is one of the biggest comedy and performing arts festivals in the world and getting accommodation during this time can be tough.

Let’s explore where to stay in Edinburgh so that you can book the perfect hotel for your stay in the festival city.

Old Town

Old Town, Edinburgh

Source: J A Uppendahl / shutterstock

Old Town, Edinburgh

The Old Town of Edinburgh is teeming with old-world charm. It is arguably the most iconic neighborhood in Edinburgh and often the first port of call for new visitors to the city. Old Town has received a lot of investment in order to be preserved in this way. The neighborhood is home to Reformation-era buildings and a medieval street plan.

For travelers keen to buy some tartan while in Scotland, the Old Town is a good starting point. The Old Town of Edinburgh is fit to bursting, with souvenir shops selling everything from sumptuous shortbread biscuits and tartan blankets to Highland cattle plush toys and good old-fashioned postcards.

Precariously placed on Castle Hill in Old Town is the beacon of the city, Edinburgh Castle. Visitors can admire from the streets below or hike up to the castle itself. Edinburgh Castle dates back to the Bronze Age – it has stood the test of time and seen some bloody battles.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Budget Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Families, First Time Travelers, Sightseers, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Edinburgh Castle, Real Mary King’s Close, St Giles Cathedral, Royal Mile, National Museum of Scotland, William Chambers Monument, Russell Collection of Early Keyboard Instruments, Tron Kirk & Royal Mile Market, Darwin Plaque, Greyfriars Bobby Memorial Statue, Surgeons’ Hall Museums, Palace of Holyroodhouse

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Old Town Chambers – Old Town Chambers is a fantastic hotel set in the heart of Old Town, just a two-minute walk from Waverley train station. Old Town Chambers offers whole apartments for guests that come complete with a fully equipped kitchen, dining space and a living room. There is free WiFi.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel – Radisson Blu Hotel is a popular choice in Old Town Edinburgh. Offering modern rooms with a greyscale color palette, there is something stylish and understated about Radisson Blu Hotel. Room service is available and guests are welcome to dine at the in-house restaurant should they wish. There are both suites and rooms available.
  • Ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile – Ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile can be found right in the heart of the city on the most iconic street of all. Giving guests easy access to the best attractions in town, Ibis Edinburgh is a great place to stay for whistle-stop travelers. The whole hotel is modern and bright.

George Street – New Town

George Street - New Town

Source: Christian Mueller / shutterstock

George Street – New Town

Sitting adjacent to Edinburgh’s Old Town is New Town. Compared to many inner-city neighborhoods around the world, New Town is hardly that ‘new’ but it is certainly a fresh and happening place to explore. For travelers wanting to stay at the heart of the action in Edinburgh, New Town is a great idea.

Established around the central avenue of George Street, New Town is where travelers can find big brand, high street shops and large chain restaurants. There are also a number of nightclubs and popular bars on George Street. Being a university city, Edinburgh has an exciting nightlife scene and a great array of venues to explore.

New Town is home to a fantastic collection of neo-Classical buildings. As such, this neighborhood is of great interest to architecture enthusiasts. From Castle Terrace down to Princes Street, there is a whole heap of photogenic architecture to snap.

For a bit of a time, our visitors can head to the ever tranquil and ever picturesque Queen Street Gardens.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Budget Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Families, First Time Travelers, Sightseers, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: George Street, Prince Street, Queen Street Gardens, The Scottish Gallery, Library of Mistakes, James Clerk Maxwell Foundation, Edinburgh Gin Distillery, Edinburgh Castle, Carlton Hill, Royal Terrace Gardens, Edinburgh Playhouse, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, The Standing Order, Thistle Street Bar, Georgian House

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Tigerlily – Tigerlily is an esteemed hotel in New Town that is proving to be as popular as ever. The rooms are beyond generous and feature Bluetooth speakers and complimentary toiletries from luxury brand The White Company. Tigerlily is also a very popular cocktail bar and guests are invited to sample their creations.
  • Eden Locke – Eden Lock is a fantastic hotel in New Town that is placed just 500-meters from Edinburgh Castle. The hotel offers spacious rooms and giant apartments. The apartments feature a kitchenette complete with basic cooking facilities. Guests with a love of interior design and thoughtful touches will fall in love with Eden Locke.
  • Frederick House Hotel – Frederick House Hotel is set within a traditional Georgian townhouse and offers homely and comfortable rooms. The hotel has been awarded 4-stars for their excellent facilities and outstanding levels of service. Guests get a 25% discount at Rabble, the popular in-house restaurant and bar. WiFi is available.

Leith

Leith, Edinburgh

Source: Johannes Valkama / shutterstock

Leith, Edinburgh

The neighborhood of Leith can be found to the north of Edinburgh city center and sits at the mouth of the Water of Leith. As a buzzing, bustling port town, Leith is home to a wonderful community of welcoming locals. As with many dockland areas in the United Kingdom, Leith has undergone a period of urban revival and is now one of the most trendy areas in Scotland to explore.

The hipsters haven’t quite taken over though. The long-serving locals still know how they want their neighborhood to feel and there are a number of traditional Scottish pubs and local handicraft stores to explore.

For foodies, Leith is a great place to stay in Edinburgh. There are a number of fine dining bistros that sit along the waterfront. They boast daily fish specials freshly caught that morning.

A highlight to any visit to Leith is having a Royal High-Tea aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia. Visitors can experience the royal treatment for themselves.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Budget Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Families, Like a Local Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: The Royal Yacht Britannia, Leith Citadel, Victoria Quay, Genting Casino Leith, Water of Leith Walkway, Leith Links, Newkirkgate Shopping Centre, Pilrig Park, Easter Road (Hibernian FC), Trinity House Maritime Museum, The Biscuit Factory, The Pitt Market, Keddie Gardens Play Area

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Rooms at GPO – Rooms at GPO are an affordable accommodation option in Leith. Offering free WiFi and complimentary toiletries in every room, Rooms at GPO is great value for money. The rooms are simple but ample; each features an ensuite bathroom with a shower unit, a wardrobe and bedside tables. There are single occupancy rooms available.
  • The Baltic Apartment – The Baltic Apartment is the perfect place to stay in Leith for travelers who want to live like a local. The apartment features a fully equipped kitchen where guests are welcome to prepare their own meals. There is just one bedroom at The Baltic Apartment and the unit can sleep up to two people.
  • The Shore – For travelers seeking great value for money and their own space in Leith, The Shore is a great place to stay. Ideal for families or groups of friends, The Shore has two bedrooms and can sleep up to four people. There is a full kitchen and a dining room space.

Bonnington

Hot-el-Apartments Canon Court

Source: booking.com

Hot-el-Apartments Canon Court

Bonnington can be found just northeast of New Town and Old Town – very much in the city center of Edinburgh. The neighborhood of Bonnington is an ideal place to stay for travelers who want a taste of authentic Edinburgh. Although in the city center, Bonnington has a small-town feel and a close-knit community. As has been mentioned, Edinburgh is a university city, so there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people. The Other Place is a popular neighborhood pub.

Bonnington is less than a half an hour walk from Edinburgh Castle. The city is very easy to navigate on foot and doing so gives visitors a more immersive experience. In terms of things to do in Bonnington, there are quite a lot.

King George V Park is a wide open grassy space that is a much-loved spot for picnics and lazy afternoons reading in the shade. The Water of Leith runs through Bonnington and there are a number of walking trails to discover.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Budget Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Families, Like a Local Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: King George V Park, The Yard Edinburgh, The Other Place, Water of Leith, Inverleith House Gallery, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, CrossFit MTS, Spitaki Greek Taverna, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Old Town, Edinburgh New Town, St Marks Park

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Ardenlee Guest House – Ardenlee Guest House is a good hotel in Bonnington. The place is locally owned and managed and the staff are generous with their time. A traditional cooked breakfast is included in the room rate and is a great way to start the day. Each room features a TV, radio and complimentary tea and coffee.
  • Hot-el-Apartments Canon Court – Hot-el-Apartments Canon Court is a very good accommodation option in Bonnington. Ideal for long-term travelers seeking some home comforts, Hot-el-Apartments Canon Court offers everything guests need to feel at ease. They offer a fully equipped kitchen, living room, and a generously sized bedroom too.
  • The Inverleith Hotel & Apartments – The Inverleith Hotel & Apartments are an ideal choice for travelers who are heading to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. Within walking distance of the city center but with the quietness of a residential street, The Inverleith Hotel & Apartments is spot on. All guests are invited to enjoy a cooked breakfast each morning.

Stockbridge

Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Source: Christian Mueller / shutterstock

Stockbridge, Edinburgh

The suburb of Stockbridge sits within Edinburgh’s inner circle and is within a short walk of the major landmarks and must-visit attractions. The name Stockbridge is derived from the Anglic term ‘stocc brycg’ that means timber bridge.

Stockbridge is a great neighborhood to explore in Edinburgh. Much like Bonnington, Stockbridge offers travelers the best of both worlds – the chance to experience local life and see the sights too.

Stockbridge is transected by the Water of Leith and there are a number of walking routes along the banks of the water flow that are ideal for active travelers. St Bernard’s Well is one of the most famous spots in the neighborhood and along the Water of Lieth. It can be found in Dean Private Gardens.

Stockbridge is cafe-central. There are so many to choose from, with a good many bars and gastropubs thrown in for good measure. Firm favorites with locals and visitors alike include Hamiltons, Hectors, and The Stockbridge Tap.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Budget Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Families, Like a Local Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Water of Leith, St Bernard’s Well, Dean Private Gardens, Saint Stephen’s Stockbridge, St Vincent’s Chapel, The Stockbridge Tap, Hamiltons, Hectors, Artisan Roast Stockbridge, Rollo Restaurant & Wine Bar, Stockbridge Sunday Food Market, Patriothall Gallery

Hotel Recommendations:

  • The Raeburn – The Raeburn is a superb hotel in Stockbridge. Offering outstanding levels of service and elegant rooms, The Raeburn is a real treat. The rooms are spacious and offer a heritage design feel and local tartan blankets. The ensuite bathrooms steal the show with their standalone bathtubs and marble-walled shower units.
  • A Georgian Residence – A Georgian Residence is a gorgeous apartment rental on Moray Place. With regal design features and a luxurious feel, A Georgian Residence is an ideal place to stay for anyone interested in Georgian history and decor. Breakfast is included in the room rate and is served in the beautiful dining hall.
  • Nira Caledonia – Nira Caledonia is an exceptional hotel on Gloucester Place. Set within a period Georgian townhouse, Nira Caledonia offers simply beautiful rooms and an incredibly high standard of service. Many rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows and offer views of Edinburgh’s cityscape. Premium rooms offer a private garden and a luxury spa bath.

Dean Village

Dean Village, Edinburgh

Source: Peter de Kievith / shutterstock

Dean Village

Once a village inhabited by the peasant community of yesteryear, Dean Village is now a major tourist attraction in Edinburgh and is far from impoverished. A tranquil retreat from the bustling city center, Dean Village is a wonderful place to stay for whistle-stop tourists who don’t have time to experience the more rural villages Scotland has to offer further afield.

This gorgeous village is home to 19th Century homes that are a joy to explore. The village itself feeds into Dean Private Gardens, where visitors can walk over the Dean Bridge and visit St Bernard’s Well. Well Court is one of the most famous buildings in Dean Village, and many travelers compare it to something that might be found in the Harry Potter movies.

Another highlight of Dean Village is the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. Open from 10 AM daily, the gallery not only has a fantastic collection of artwork, but a great little coffee shop too.

Good For: Active Travelers, Adventurous Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Budget Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Families, Like a Local Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Dean Village, Well Court, Dean Bridge, St Bernard’s Well, Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh Gin Distillery, Edinburgh Castle, Usher Hall, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Murrayfield Sports Stadium, Murrayfield Golf Club, Ravelston Golf Club

Hotel Recommendations:

  • The Edinburgh Residence – The Edinburgh Residence is a superb hotel in the Dean Village area. The Edinburgh Residence has an elegant, heritage feel and serves a traditional Scottish breakfast each morning. The rooms are spacious and offer ultimate levels of comfort. Each room features a basic kitchenette, tea and coffee, and a minibar too.
  • The Chester Residence – The Chester Residence is a suave, stylish hotel set within a stunning Georgian townhouse on Rothesay Place. The level of service here is second to none and there is no request too big. Each apartment comes with a large living room area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
  • The Bonham Hotel – The Bonham Hotel is an exceptional hotel close to Dean Village. Guests have access to free WiFi, a complimentary breakfast and complimentary luxury toiletries in their ensuite bathroom. The dining options at The Bonham Hotel are impressive. The cocktail bar serves some innovative drinks and a range of light bites too.
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland
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List of Image Sources

Where to Stay in Edinburgh – Neighborhoods & Area Guide:

Dean Village, Edinburgh

  • Old Town: J A Uppendahl / shutterstock
  • George Street – New Town: Christian Mueller / shutterstock
  • Leith: Johannes Valkama / shutterstock
  • Hot-el-Apartments Canon Court: booking.com
  • Stockbridge, Edinburgh: Christian Mueller / shutterstock
  • Dean Village: Peter de Kievith / shutterstock