Living in Edinburgh: Everything you need to know

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Are you considering living in Edinburgh but you’re not sure if it’s for you? We lived in Edinburgh for a couple of years back in 2011/12, so we’ve got first hand experience to living in the Scottish capital and we’re here to help answer some of the common questions that you may have.

Edinburgh, the picturesque and historic capital of Scotland, boasts an enchanting blend of medieval charm and contemporary innovation.

Situated along the southeastern coast of Scotland, this city combines stunning architecture, a dynamic arts scene, extensive green spaces, and the world’s leading festivals.

This guide covers the key facets of Edinburgh life, from housing and transportation to education, culture, and entertainment.

Housing and Neighbourhoods

Edinburgh offers diverse housing options, ranging from historic tenements in the Old Town to modern apartments in the city centre, spacious suburban homes, and new-build properties in revitalized industrial areas.

It’s split into various districts, each with its unique character.

Old Town

Home to the iconic Edinburgh Castle and Royal Mile, Old Town offers a living history lesson with its narrow medieval alleys and ancient buildings.

New Town

A UNESCO World Heritage site, New Town boasts gorgeous Georgian architecture and is the hub of shopping and nightlife.


This once independent seaport has seen significant gentrification, hosting trendy bars, top-rated restaurants, and the Royal Yacht Britannia.


Known for its leafy parks and artisan cafes, it’s a favourite among families.


Offering a village vibe in the heart of the city, it hosts a popular weekly market and has an eclectic range of boutiques and eateries.


When we stayed in Edinburgh, we lived in Meadowbank, which we felt was a fantastic area to live. Bus connections into the city centre were frequent and reliable and the nearby retail park was within walking distance for all amenities we could need.


Edinburgh boasts an efficient, well-connected public transport system, including buses, trams, and trains.

The Lothian Buses network covers the city, while the tram line connects the city centre to Edinburgh Airport. With many cycle lanes and paths, Edinburgh is also considered a bike-friendly city.


Edinburgh is renowned for its high-quality education system.

It’s home to several reputable state and independent schools and world-class universities.

The University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, and Napier University offer top-notch higher education in diverse fields.


Scotland’s healthcare is mainly provided by NHS Scotland, and it’s free at the point of use.

Edinburgh has numerous health centres, clinics, and hospitals, including the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the Western General Hospital.

Culture and Entertainment

Edinburgh’s vibrant cultural scene is a key part of its appeal.

It hosts the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, along with the International Book Festival and the renowned Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The city is also known for its thriving live music scene, diverse culinary offerings, and fascinating museums, including the Museum of Edinburgh and the National Museum of Scotland.

Outdoor Life

Edinburgh’s natural beauty, characterized by hills, beaches, and parks, adds to its appeal.

Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano and hill located in Holyrood Park, offers panoramic views of the city.

The Royal Botanic Garden is a paradise for nature lovers, while Portobello Beach offers a seaside escape within the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of living in Edinburgh?

The cost of living in Edinburgh is generally lower than in London but slightly higher than the UK average. This varies, however, depending on factors like location, lifestyle, and personal spending habits.

Is Edinburgh a safe city?

Edinburgh is generally safe, with lower crime rates compared to other major UK cities. As with any urban area, it’s advisable to take basic safety precautions, especially at night.

What is the weather like in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh has a temperate maritime climate, with mild summers and cool winters. It tends to be rather cloudy, with rainfall spread throughout the year, but snow is relatively rare.

We found personally that Edinburgh was a very windy city, especially in areas like the North Bridge. Hold on to your hats.

Is Edinburgh a good place for families?

Absolutely! With its excellent education system, numerous parks and recreational activities, and family-friendly festivals, Edinburgh is an ideal city for families.

Edinburgh offers a unique blend of history, culture, nature, and modern city life. With its high quality of life, strong education system, and vibrant arts scene, it’s no wonder that so many people find living in Edinburgh an enriching and enjoyable experience.

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