Where to Stay in Edinburgh in 2024 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿: Guide to the Best Areas & Places to Stay

Updated on April 17, 2024
by Alex Miller

Whether you’re having a trip to Edinburgh for the first time or returning to one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, finding the perfect neighborhood to stay in is key. As a local, I’ve played tourist in my own city enough times to recognise the areas that put you steps from top attractions and hidden gems alike. Do you want to wake up in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle or watch the sun rise over the Firth of Forth? Get lost amid closes off the Royal Mile or shop on Princes Street? Are Michelin star restaurants or cozy pubs on your wish list?

Oup pick of the best hotels in Edinburgh🔝

In this local’s guide, I’ll take you through the vibey areas that best suit different interests and travel styles. We’ll look at accommodations to fit any budget, from hostels, apartments, boutique hotels to five star luxury. Whether you prefer sceney or serene, historic or hipster ‘hoods, staying on top of a hill with awe-inspiring views or right on the cobblestoned streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town, you’ll discover where to stay in Edinburgh to maximize your time in this compact, hilly capital. So sit back and virtually tour the best neighborhoods and pins on the map to call home during your Scottish adventures.

Quick Guide to Best Areas in Edinburgh 📋

1. Edinburgh Old Town – Best Area to Stay for the First Time 🔥

👑 Historic heart: Get ready to step back in time! It developed in the Middle Ages and keeps a medieval tapestry of closes, towers, and tenements all centered around the Royal Mile. In fact, when visiting the Royal Mile, stop into one of the many unique shops along the way such as a kiltmaker, whisky shop, or tea room. Stray into narrow alleys called wynds to uncover hideaways like The Real Mary King’s Close for a glimpse at Edinburgh’s shadowy past.

🏰 Iconic Edinburgh: No tour is complete without hitting Edinburgh Castle – that iconic fortress lording over the city with epic views. Head to The Scotch Whisky Experience to get schooled in Scotland’s national drink. If you’d rather just pick up some souvenirs on your own, there are tons of charming whisky shops along the Royal Mile. Oh, and don’t miss popping into the National Museum of Scotland at some point too – they’ve got  awesome exhibits exploring Scottish heritage from old clan life to groundbreaking inventions.

🚶‍♂️ Walkable area: Luckily for first timers, the Old Town makes getting around easy. Having all the big sights clustered nearby means you can simply take your comfiest walking shoes and go. Just watch your step trekking up and down steep hills on slick cobblestones!

🕊 To escape the crowds, wander down Victoria Street lined with colorful buildings and charming cafés. J.K. Rowling even peeked at its Gothic architecture to imagine Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, it’s a fact. At the end of the street is Grassmarket, a lively open square with bars and restaurants around the edge.

🕵️‍♂️ Hidden gems: If you want to experience Edinburgh’s creepier past, head underground! Book a ghost tour of the buried 19th century vaults for some frights! Or for something completely different, check out century-old Dovecot Studios – it’s still weaving tapestries today and you can even book textile classes there.

All hotels in Old Town →

Where to Stay in Old Town? 🏨

Luxury Hotels (€600 and up)

  • The Witchery by the Castle – situated at the top of the Royal Mile in a collection of striking gothic merchant buildings, this unique hotel with nine lavish suites pairs romantic ambiance with exceptional dining.
  • The Balmoral Hotel – historic 5-star grande dame with elegant rooms/suites, Michelin star dining, located between Old Town and New Town.
  • Cheval Old Town Chambers – luxury serviced apartments in landmark Victorian building with designer kitchens and rainfall showers.

Mid-Range Hotels (€300-€600)

  • Holyrood Aparthotel – extended stay apartments with full kitchens near Holyrood Park and royal Palace, walkable location.
  • Market Street Hotel – boutique hotel featuring stylish rooms with rainfall showers, scenic views of Edinburgh overlooking Royal Mile.
  • Fraser Suites Edinburgh – all-suite serviced apartments with fully-equipped kitchens, rooftop terrace, steps from George Street.

Budget Hotels (up to 300)

  • Kick Ass Grassmarket – backpacking hostel in Old Town with modern pod-style bunks and lively social scene, located steps from Royal Mile.
  • CoDE Pod – capsule pods in converted church building with trendy co-living vibe, cafe, and terraces in central location.
  • Stay Central Hotel – contemporary budget hotel with sleek rooms featuring rainfall showers, next to shops/nightlife on Cowgate.

2. New Town – Best Neighborhood in Edinburgh for Nightlife 💃

💼 Luxury shopping and dining: Built in the 18th century, Edinburgh’s New Town shines with luxury shopping and fine dining. Princes Street and George Street offer exclusive brand boutiques and best restaurants in Edinburgh. The Scotch Whisky Experience on Queen Street provides tastings and an exceptional whisky shop to pick up quality souvenirs. Stop at department store Jenners for a wide selection of Scottish gifts and goods under one roof.

🖼️ Major galleries and museums: Top attractions include the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound, showcasing centuries of iconic Scottish art. On Belford Road lies the National Gallery of Modern Art, housing an acclaimed Picasso collection with rotating exhibitions. Smaller independent galleries like Scotland Gallery offer a window into local contemporary artists.

☕️ Refined breaks: For a sophisticated pitstop, the Georgian House on Charlotte Square offers an 18th century backdrop for traditional afternoon tea by the fireside. Well situated for all interests, New Town puts you steps from major sights yet retains a relaxed vibe. Hop into one of the many cafés on Thistle Street for coffee and people watching.

🚶‍♂️ Safe, walkable area: With major tourist sites condensed together, New Town makes an extremely walkable base for sightseeing. As a hub of high-end hotels and activity, it remains a secure district day or night.

All hotels in New Town →

Best Edinburgh Hotels in New Town 🏨

Luxury Hotels (€500 and up)

  • Cheval The Edinburgh Grand – spacious 5 star serviced apartments with designer kitchens in landmark Victorian townhouse.
  • Hotel Indigo – boutique IHG hotel featuring stylish rooms with quirky design touches inspired by Edinburgh’s history and culture.
  • The Rutland Hotel – georgian townhouse transformed into luxury hotel, apartments, and penthouses with contemporary amenities near Princes Street in New Town.

Mid-Range Hotels (€350-€500)

  • Apex Waterloo – sleek contemporary rooms with rainfall showers, pool and gym, beside Princes Street shops
  • InterContinental The George – landmark 5-star building housing luxurious rooms and suites, spa, centrally near St Andrew Square.
  • ibis Styles St Andrew – colorful, affordable rooms with modern design plus onsite restaurant/bar, centrally located.

Budget Friendly Hotels (up to €250)

  • Holiday Inn Express – reliable chain hotel with modern rooms, complimentary breakfast, walkable location off Royal Mile.
  • Eden Locke – aparthotel concept with apartment living facilities for extended stays next to George Street.
  • Princes Street Hostel – budget accommodation in Old Town with free breakfast and WiFi, lively atmosphere near Royal Mile.

3. Leith – Best Neighborhood to Stay in Edinburgh for Foodies and Culture 🍽️

⛴️ Waterfront heritage: Once a bustling shipping port, Leith has transformed into a vibrant territory north of Edinburgh at the mouth of the Water of Leith, conveniently located just a 20-minute bus ride from Edinburgh city center. But, it still keeps its salty maritime heritage among the city buzz around. Wander the docks and imagine sailors embarking centuries ago towards adventures on distant waters.

⛵ Iconic Royal Yacht: Step aboard the former Royal Yacht Britannia, the British monarch’s floating residence during foreign tours. It was permanently docked in Leith as a visitor attraction in 1998. Gain a glimpse of the royal family’s nautical life through exhibits of banquet halls, crew stories, and Winston Churchill’s passion for painting seascapes on board.

🎪 Family entertainment: Kids can race through Ninja Warrior UK’s inflatable obstacle courses with multilevel slides, climbing walls, and tunnels while adults sample craft gin flights at the Dockyard gin distillery. The nearby Hindu temple and cultural center also provides family-friendly vegetarian snacks in this multicultural part of Edinburgh.

🥂 Trendy foodie haven: With recent waves of renovation, Leith has transformed into one of Edinburgh’s hottest gastro hubs, spoiling foodies with trendy bars and Michelin-recommended eateries all along the waterfront. There is a lot of seafood choise from fine dining to more casual fish ‘n chips carryouts. The area contains breweries like Stewart Brewing and cocktail crafters like The Compass Bar to fuel your adventures.

All hotels in Leith →

Edinburgh Best Hotel in Leith 🏨

Luxury Hotels (€500 and up)

  • Malmaison Edinburgh – posh boutique hotel in converted church with trendy lounge bar area, located near shops on Leith Walk.
  • Britannia Apartments – self-catering apartments ranging from studios to 3 bedroom units in New Town area, conveniently located.
  • GuestReady Apts – fully furnished apartments of varying sizes with parking, modern amenities, conveniently situated near Edinburgh attractions.

Mid-Range Hotels (€200-€500)

  • Holiday Inn Express Leith – reliable chain hotel featuring modern rooms and an onsite restaurant, pub located in Leith Waterfront area.
  • On The Walk – apartment-style accommodation with full kitchens, living areas, located in quiet Warriston area with nearby shops.
  • Ocean Mist Leith – nautically-themed guest house with contemporary rooms near the shoreline, free parking available.

Budget Friendly Hotels (up to €200)

  • JUST SLEEP Hostel – bare-bones hostel with simple dorms, shared bathrooms, basic self-catering facilities, located in Leith.
  • Pilrig St Rooms – no-frills, budget accommodation with shared bathrooms and kitchen in residential Pilrig area.
  • 16 Pilrig Guest House – affordable Pilrig guest house with basic rooms, shared bathrooms, complementary breakfast.

4. Stockbridge – Best Place For a Quiet Stay 🕊

Stockbridge’s independent shops, cafes and riverside pubs keep intimate small town charm just a 10 minute walk north of the centre of Edinburgh. Stroll by blossoms from the Royal Botanical Gardens spilling into this pretty neighborhood.

🍴 Trendy eats: Foodies go to Stockbridge’s popular eateries like Scran & Scallie gastropub featuring ultra fresh regional ingredients. Beyond the bistros, specialty cheese/chocolate shops and Sunday market offer artisan options.

☕️ Coffee culture: Cozy cafes fuel leisurely days reading novels between sips of perfectly brewed coffee. Sample some of Edinburgh’s best artisan roasts while soaking up vintage vibes browsing antique Scottish crafts and knitwear.

💼 Local boutiques: Eclectic high-end indie shops highlight local artisans’ wares from handmade ceramics and jewelry to Scottish skincare products and home goods, mostly ethically sourced.

Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Botanical Gardens
Inverleith Park
Inverleith Park
Inverleith Park
Inverleith Park

🎵 Live music pubs: By evening, snag a fireside table at quintessential pubs like Hectors to sample Scottish food paired with craft ales.

👪 Kid friendly: With playgrounds, entertainment venues, and central green spaces like Inverleith Park, Stockbridge also appeals to visiting families looking for quiet days in Edinburgh.

All hotels in Stockbridge →

Best Hotel in Stockbridge 🏨

Mid-Range Hotels (€150-€400)

  • New Town Guest House – intimate adults-only guest house featuring stylish rooms with rainfall showers, located in Stockbridge area.
  • Nira Caledonia – boutique hotel in Georgian townhouse boasting chic rooms, attentive service, central location near shops.
  • The Raeburn – sleek boutique hotel comprised of former merchant’s house showcasing contemporary facilities and a seasonal rooftop bar area.

5. Haymarket & West End – Best Areas in Edinburgh to Stay for a Local Vibe 🔮

🏢 Transport hub: Centered around Haymarket Railway Station, the districts serve as a transport hub with direct tram, bus and train station, like the Edinburgh Airport, making it extremely convenient for travelers. Haymarket serves as the stop before Edinburgh Waverley train station, sitting just beside top sites like Edinburgh Castle. Staying in Haymarket allows easy access without being stuck in the tourist crowds.

🌆 Lively urban vibe: Watch the energy shift as daylight crowds of office people give way to young revelers as Haymarket transforms into one of Edinburgh’s hottest nightlife districts. Students and backpackers mix with locals among buzzing bars and dance venues pulsating with live music and DJ beats.

🍕 Diverse dining: Haymarket offers a wide variety of dining choices. Grab a quick slice from Italian pizza counters or slurp down Asian noodle soups. Burger restaurants, traditional Scottish gastropubs with regional fare, and fish & chip shops. For familiar favorites, there are classic British comfort foods like bangers & mash or steak pie. More exotic picks like curry houses fuse Indian flavors with craft beers and whiskies for an adventuresome meal. Sports fans can settle in at best pubs in Edinburgh like Ryrie’s showing live football matches, like in the movies!

🛒 Shopping outlet: Chain stores like Zara and Marks & Spencer line the streets for some retail therapy at modest prices. Vintage lovers can browse Dalry Road’s array of thrift and consignment boutiques filled with eclectic clothing, vinyl records and quirky collectibles. The area’s central location also makes a conveniently accessible home base while ticking off city of Edinburgh’s cultural attractions and landmarks by day.

Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End
Haymarket & West End

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Families: The abundance of green spaces, playgrounds, walking/bike paths and family-friendly eateries appeal to families seeking more serenity, especially multi-bedroom holiday rentals with full kitchens for convenience.

With handy transport links, diverse dining and lively atmosphere, Haymarket is great location for local Edinburgh experiences while the West End balances with leafy neighborhood peace in residential pockets.

All hotels in West End & Haymarket →

Best Hotel in West End & Haymarket 🏨

Luxury Hotels (€450 and up)

  • Sheraton Grand Hotel – 5-star castle view hotel with spa, wellness courses, newly revamped rooms, and refined dining offerings.
  • Waldorf Astoria The Caledonian – world-renowned luxury 5-star landmark in Princes Street featuring an award-winning spa and city’s best restaurants.
  • Hampton By Hilton West End –  reliable chain hotel featuring contemporary rooms and complimentary hot breakfast, located near Edinburgh Zoo and Haymarket transport links.
  • Bonham – boutique Drummond clan townhouse turned hotel offering plush rooms and pre-theater dining off the Royal Mile.
  • Leonardo Royal – modern hotel consisting of stylish rooms with colorful avant-garde designs near Haymarket transport links.
  • Staycity Aparthotels – West End apartment-style extended stay rooms with self-catering facilities, located beside Haymarket attractions.

Budget Hotels (up to €250)

  • Destiny Scotland Distillers House – budget accommodation in basic rooms above Grassmarket pub in atmospheric Old Town building.
  • Eliza House – no-frills guest house with shared bathroom located in Newington residential area.
  • The Haymarket Hotel – affordable hotel and pub with modest rooms, located conveniently along tram and train lines.

Best Areas & Hotels in Edinburgh on a Map 🗺

FAQs about Visiting Edinburgh❔

What is the best area to stay in Edinburgh?

The Old Town is the most central and walkable area to stay in Edinburgh, with major attractions like Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile within close proximity. As the historic heart of Edinburgh, the Old Town puts you steps away from restaurants, pubs, shops, and sightseeing.

Where is the best place to stay in Edinburgh for the first time?

For first-time visitors, New Town is an excellent area to stay with its wide range of accommodations along Princes Street and George Street, putting you in close proximity for sightseeing while offering access to high-end shopping, dining, and attractions like the National Gallery of Scotland.

What is the most popular area of Edinburgh?

The Old Town remains the most popular area as the tourist epicenter that contains ‘must see’ attractions like the Castle, St Giles’ Cathedral, as well as the atmosphere of the Royal Mile, making it a prime and perfect place to stay for sightseers right in the heart of the city.

Where do you start the Royal Mile?

The Royal Mile starts at Edinburgh Castle and runs eastwards down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. So visitors typically begin exploring the Royal Mile’s attractions, shops, and narrow alleyways called “closes” right from Edinburgh Castle’s gates near West Bow at the west end, continuing down the length of streets called Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, and Canongate over the course of one scenic mile.

What is considered the city center of Edinburgh?

The Old Town is considered the historic city center of Edinburgh, anchored by the Royal Mile thoroughfare. This is the medieval core where the city originated, developed, and flourished beginning in the 12th century. Key landmarks sit within Old Town including Edinburgh Castle, St Giles’ Cathedral, the National Museum of Scotland, University of Edinburgh buildings, and the buzzing entertainment district known as Grassmarket. So when people refer to Edinburgh city center, they are generally indicating attractions, accommodations, dining, and nightlife concentrated within the compact and highly walkable Old Town district.

How many rooms are in the Witchery by the castle?

The intimate Witchery by the Castle boutique hotel contains only 9 suites in total for a secluded, exclusive atmosphere befitting its luxury status. Each lavish suite boasts distinct themes and design touches paying homage to notable Edinburgh sites or Scotland’s rich heritage, granting guests a personalized old world escape right at the doorstep of the iconic Royal Mile.