Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Our Expert (As Usual) Advice
Make the most of this magical city with our insider neighbourhood guide
A trip to Edinburgh doesn’t have to involve reheated haggis in dingy pubs, tacky tartan souvenirs, and wailing bagpipes outside your window. Discover a fresh, dynamic, and culturally creative side to this historic city when you stay in an elegant Plum Guide home. Here are the very best areas to stay in the beautiful Scottish capital to help you plan your visit.
If you like to be close to the action without being embroiled in the tourist rush (yes please), Newington is where to stay in Edinburgh. This area offers an insider peek into Edinburgh living; the main thoroughfare is lined with distinctive Victorian-era tenement buildings, eclectic local cafes, and a welcoming pub on every corner. Staying in a Plum Guide home in this area will make you feel like a true Edinburgh local in no time.
However, Newington is more than just a residential area; a hub of culture in the city, here you can catch the latest art exhibition at Summerhall, take a tour of Pickering Gin distillery, and explore ancient artifacts at the National Museum of Scotland. Newington also provides easy access to Arthur’s Seat, the magnificent extinct volcano which towers over Edinburgh. The hike up to the top isn’t as daunting as you may think but it does take about two hours and the terrain can be quite rocky - strap on your walking boots or a sturdy pair of sneakers for this adventure. Finish the day by dining at Apiary, one of Newington’s friendly neighbourhood restaurants. It specialises in indulgent top-to-tail cuisine, artisanal local produce, and a highly curated wine list. Go on, you’ve earned it.
Bruntsfield is the epicentre of relaxed style in Edinburgh. You could easily while away a day in this neighbourhood, starting with a lazy brunch in the sunny window seat in Honeycomb & Co and finishing with modern Scottish cuisine and a cocktail at the characterful Henrick’s Bar. If you’re looking for a souvenir of your visit that’s rather more interesting than a novelty tartan keyring, Bruntsfield is home to plenty of boutiques showcasing local designers and a treasure-trove of upscale charity shops filled with one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. Prefer Dickens to Dior? Pop into award-winning independent store The Edinburgh Bookshop to find your next gripping holiday read.
Bruntsfield is also undoubtedly where to stay in Edinburgh if travelling with children. The long green expanse of Bruntsfield Links and the Meadows provides plenty of room to burn off some excess energy. It’s not just the little ones who’ll appreciate this area; on a sunny day, there’s nothing like heading to the Meadows with a picnic blanket, a crisp bottle of champagne, and some delicious nibbles from 181 Delicatessen.
Speaking of nibbles…staying in a Plum Guide property in Stockbridge means not just the perfect home-away-from-home, but also the benefit of Sunday breakfast in bed. Well, almost. Once a week, the main street is taken over by a bustling market selling Scottish produce, cured meats, freshly baked bread, artisanal cheeses, and a staggering array of pastries; grab a cup of coffee and a bag full of treats to start the day off right. Aside from the food market, leafy Stockbridge is home to gorgeous Georgian architecture, a number of cocktail bars and a river walkway along the Water of Leith. Keep an eye out for otters and kingfishers as you stroll along the banks. For a little retail therapy, pop into the Golden Hare (which was awarded the title of Best Independent Bookshop throughout the whole of the UK and Ireland in 2019) and browse the work of up-and-coming Scottish artists at the Laurel Gallery - you never know, you might find a contemporary masterpiece.
On saying that, if you love discovering new artists and relish a chance to wander through a truly idiosyncratic neighbourhood, Leith is without a doubt the best area to stay in Edinburgh. Put aside all thoughts of Trainspotting; in the past few years Leith has reinvented itself into a sophisticated neighbourhood, without losing any of its signature charm. It’s known as the most vibrant, creative area of the city, and staying in a Plum Guide home here offers a glimpse into life in Edinburgh’s coolest cultural hub. Visit The Biscuit Factory (three guesses what this warehouse building was once used for) and Coburg House to admire the newest exhibitions and art events - at Coburg, you can even meet the artists who work there and see them in action during open studio days. End the day at Nobles, a magnificent Victorian building transformed into a bar and restaurant, where you can dine on modern Scottish fare beneath stained glass windows.
Fine, this one is a bit of a cheat, seeing as the old town isn’t exactly a neighbourhood as such. But if you want to be in the beating heart of the city - and why wouldn’t you? - it’s the only place to be. As the name implies, it’s the oldest surviving part of Edinburgh; the historic Grassmarket square has been a city hub since at least the 1300s. Some things never change, and centuries later this is where to stay in Edinburgh if you want to roll out of bed and get straight to pounding those cobbled streets. Oft-photographed Victoria Street is alive with small independent shops and eateries, and if you have some Harry Potter fans in your party, they’ll be enchanted by a trip to the Elephant House Cafe where JK Rowling herself is said to have worked on the novels. The Old Town also encompasses the magnificent Edinburgh Castle - and although you won’t find that particular property on Plum Guide, you’re sure to discover something equally as luxurious (with, perhaps, slightly fewer turrets).