A Student’s Guide to Edinburgh
Scotland’s capital city is one of the finest student cities in the UK. Edinburgh is quite a small city in terms of its central area, making it easy to find your way around and familiarise yourself with your new temporary surroundings. The city’s cobbled streets are increasingly cosmopolitan too, so combine that with a vibrant student population and you can be sure of an exciting university lifestyle.
The only real kicker about student life in Edinburgh is that the cost of living here is a little more than other student-focused cities in Scotland and the north of England. Nevertheless, if you’ve got your heart set on living and studying in Edinburgh, make sure you read our student guide to all that’s fun in ‘Auld Reekie’.
Main attractions in Edinburgh
- Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens is simply the perfect place to escape the stresses and strains of everyday student life. If you’ve spent hour upon hour in the library, this place is a great place to switch off and unwind in the surroundings of some magical scenery. These world-renowned gardens are close to Inverleith Park and are potentially walking distance from the city centre if you don’t mind stretching your legs for a half-hour walk. For even more spectacular views, why not scale the extinct volcano, Arthur’s Seat to experience breath-taking panoramic views of the capital and enjoy some great exercise in the process.
- One of the top tourist attractions in the whole of Scotland, let alone Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Castle is a must-see for any new student resident to the city. The castle dominates the city centre skyline and is a fascinating way to spend a free afternoon alone or with your housemates. Word of warning – Edinburgh is very popular with American and Asian holidaymakers, so consider visiting the castle in the autumn-winter months to avoid walking around like sardines!
- If you consider yourself a fanatical foodie, head on down to the hipster suburb of Stockbridge and its vibrant Sunday street food market. There are different cuisines on offer every weekend here, with the chance to buy fresh hot meals as well as unique ingredients for use in your own cooking to wow your housemates during the
Restaurants in Edinburgh
- As Edinburgh is recognised as a student city, there are many cheap eats available to keep you and your bank manager happy. Fresh and healthy Mexican food can be found on the cheap at Illegal Jacks, where you can order hefty burritos crammed with all sorts of meats – including haggis! For those craving south-east Asian tastes, you can get authentic Thai street food from the cosy Ting Thai Caravan, with indulgent Pad Thai noodles the order of the day. If you’re looking for somewhere nice to take the ‘rents when they come to visit, you can do worse than head to one of the many restaurants along bustling George Street.
- Nearer to the university campus sits Malones Irish Bar, which offers cheap and cheerful bar food and snacks, including a two-course lunch menu that’s unreal value.
- The Three Sisters offers two-for- one pub meals every day of the week, while the Nile Valley Café is near the University of Edinburgh’s buildings, serving a unique menu of Middle Eastern fare.
- Of course, Edinburgh wouldn’t be a student city without the obligatory greasy spoons to cure those early morning hangovers! If your head is throbbing before that all-important lecture, pop to Snax, which serves up hearty full Scottish breakfasts at student-friendly rates.
Nightlife in Edinburgh
- Soaring weekend drinks prices in Edinburgh city centre mean that students tend to frequent the city’s bars and nightclubs during midweek for the better deals.
- Although the main nightlife can be found along George Street, we prefer to recommend the student-friendly venues along The Cowgate – famed for its rock-bottom drinks and live music. If you’re into your craft beers, BrewDog is an excellent place to start the night too. In terms of nightclubs, The Liquid Room and Sneaky Pete’s are the best for indie lovers, while Lava & Ignite and City still lead the way in terms of pop and chart tunes.
- Edinburgh also has a pretty vibrant house and drum & bass scene, with Silk and Why Not? running student nights on Thursdays and Mondays respectively. The Lane also hosts many touring DJs throughout the student year.
- Finally, every August sees Edinburgh come alive thanks to its world-renowned Festival Fringe, which remains the world’s biggest arts festival. Here, you get everything from world-class comedians to cabaret acts; many of which perform in random small venues throughout the festival. Only at the Edinburgh Fringe would you get to see big-stage comedians and comediennes in tiny backstreet pubs! If you’re staying in Edinburgh in between terms over the summer months, it’s an absolute must-visit.