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Where to Stay in Edinburgh?

With London booked, I am onto Edinburgh. It seems like a relatively small town on a map however I see a few different areas to stay: Old Town, New Town, Grassmarket, Quiet End of the Royal Mile...

Can someone please shed some light on how close these areas all really are to each other, and where is the best place for a family with college kids?

Thank you!

Hi Laura

Edinburgh is in Scotland not England so technically you’re posting in the wrong forum. However to answer your question, the centre of Edinburgh is small. The very central district stretches across both Old Town & New Town. Look at a map, and anywhere north of The Meadows, south of Queen Street Gardens and with the Castle to the west and Holyrood Palace to the east would put you right in the heart of things. But there are many other lovely & lively areas.

Use google maps to assess distances but bear two things in mind: Edinburgh is extremely hilly - almost Escher-like, in that it feels like everything is uphill. But it also has exceptionally good public transport - the buses are excellent.

Posted by
3965 posts

When are you going? The Fringe Festival is most of the month of August, and prices double if not triple then, which may impact your decision on location.
The Fringe is an incredible experience, and I've always found it worth the hotel cost.
As noted, the town is very walkable.
We like Parliament House, on Calton Hill, across from the cemetery . Limited elevator service, but a quaint hotel.
However, George Street in New Town is also a great location to stay, with many hotels and eateries, and closer to the airport tram stop .
Have fun!

Posted by
2424 posts

The Grassmarket is part of the Old Town; as is the quiet end of the Royal Mile.

The New Town is a 15-20 minute walk away.

Which area to stay? Both are popular – no right answer.

Posted by
15110 posts

We loved our stay at Hotel du Vin, near the University. We walked there from the Waverly train station, crossing the low area on the George IV Bridge to avoid the hills. We walked all over from there, to Arthurs’s Seat and the Scottish Parliament, the National museum, and up and down the Royal Mile. The castle was close as well but we did not go in.

The University Campus is great for a walk. In the early evening there were lots of students grilling dinners in a designated area. Your college-age kids might enjoy seeing that aspect of campus life if it going on when you are there. We were there in mid-May.

Posted by
909 posts

Thank you! It looks like one cuts across a large park to walk between Old Town and New Town. I assume people make the 20-minute walk from Old Town back to a hotel or apartment in New Town? Also, does anyone have a rental agency in Edinburgh for flats?

Posted by
11294 posts

"It looks like one cuts across a large park to walk between Old Town and New Town."

No, this is the "everything is uphill" that was referred to above. That park is lovely, but sunken, as well as filled with winding paths. It's a great diversion, but it would take you an unnecessarily long time and involve extra effort if you were using it merely to connect the Old and New Towns.

"I assume people make the 20-minute walk from Old Town back to a hotel or apartment in New Town?"

You can, but I mostly took the bus (again, hills and distance and time). A day pass on the buses, at least in 2018, was only £4, and the buses are frequent between these two points, as they are served by multiple routes (so, I just took the first one that arrived). Note that the buses only take coins and do not give change; I believe you can also get tickets on the phone app, but don't have details.

Posted by
909 posts

Thanks JJ. I actually saw this but when I google Hanover Street in Edinburgh, it looks like it is actually a complex or building on the Corner of Queen and Rose Streets... and think I want stay on the Old Town side.

Posted by
5677 posts

The bus is very easy. There is a day pass that you can buy that makes the decision to ride the bus or not an easy decision to just hop on. I've stayed south of Grassmarket, New Town, the east end of Princes Street, out past the west end of Princes Street, on Dalkeith and a bit further away near the Royal Botanic Gardens. The latter is my favorite place. I like that it's out of the tourist crowds, but it's an easy bus up to New Town and the Royal Mile and easy ride or walk back. I've gone back up to New Town for dinner or stayed in the neighborhood. Nothing is really that far away. I've much, much longer treks here in NYC to get to events.

Posted by
914 posts

Do post on the Scotland forum! There are many locals and experienced visitors who don't bother looking at the England forum.....