Where Are the Best Areas to Live in Edinburgh for Students

edinburgh royal mile

Edinburgh is a city of unbridled charm, history, and culture, where the modern urban lifestyle blends seamlessly with medieval architecture. For the savvy student seeking an inspiring locale full of academic energy, Edinburgh offers a wide variety of neighbourhoods, each with its own unique character and conveniences. Navigating the options can feel overwhelming, but with careful consideration, you can find the perfect area to call home during your time as a student. Here, we’ll detail Edinburgh’s top locales, discussing their appeal and practicality, so you have all the information you need to make an informed choice.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Student Accommodation in Edinburgh

Before we showcase the best neighbourhoods, it’s important to understand the parameters that make an area ideal for student living.

Proximity to Universities

One of the biggest considerations should be how close an area is to the city’s academic heart. Within Edinburgh, you’ll find prestigious institutions like the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, and Edinburgh Napier University. Living near your campus can save you precious time and commute costs, making the academic and social experience more convenient.

Public Transport Accessibility

Edinburgh’s well-connected public transport system comprises buses, trams, and trains, making it a breeze to traverse the city. Access to these services is a must, especially for students who want to explore beyond their local area or need a reliable way to get to class, and home at the end of a day.

Safety and Security

The peace of mind that comes with residing in a safe neighbourhood is invaluable. Look for areas with low crime rates and well-lit streets, so you feel secure as you move about your daily life.

Cost of Living

Living on a student budget means being mindful of expenses. The cost of rent, groceries, and social activities can vary significantly across different areas of the city. Don’t forget to explore the currency of the student-friendly establishments around each locality.

Top Areas for Students In Edinburgh

With these considerations in mind, we unveil our list of the best areas for students within the Scottish capital.

The Old Town and South Side

The Old Town captures the city’s medieval spirit, with its cobblestone streets and historic landmarks. It’s also home to the University of Edinburgh, right in the heart of the action. A short walk will take you to the South Side, where quieter residential streets provide a reprieve from the bustling Royal Mile.


  • Proximity to the University of Edinburgh
  • Rich cultural experiences and vibrant student scene
  • A mix of cosy pubs, trendy coffee shops, and diverse eateries

The Meadows and Bruntsfield

Next to the University, The Meadows and Bruntsfield offer scenic green spaces and a diverse array of amenities. These areas, widely popular amongst students, blend the residential with the commercial, providing students with the best of both worlds.


  • A relaxed, village-esque feel
  • A variety of independent stores and ethnic eateries
  • Close-knit community and active volunteer opportunities

Morningside and Newington

Further south, Morningside and Newington create a student-centric community, known for its thriving student population and cultural happenings. These neighbourhoods offer a range of housing options and a rich social life.


  • A large collection of thrift stores and charity shops, ideal for student budgets
  • Diverse student community and cultural events
  • Close to the University’s King’s Buildings campus

Leith Walk and Easter Road – The Blend of Old and New

Beyond the immediate proximity of the universities, Leith Walk and Easter Road present a vibrant mix of traditional Edinburgh architecture and modern developments. This area has become increasingly popular among students for its affordable living options and its rich, diverse community.


  • Affordable housing compared to city centre locations
  • A lively atmosphere with an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and bars
  • Excellent transport links to the city centre and universities

Haymarket and Dalry – Convenience Meets Culture

To the west of the city centre, Haymarket and Dalry offer students a blend of convenience and culture. With a railway station that acts as a gateway to the rest of Scotland and ample local amenities, these neighbourhoods are perfect for students looking for an easy commute and a lively local scene.


  • Proximity to major transport hubs, including bus and tram routes
  • A diverse range of dining and entertainment options
  • Relatively affordable accommodation options

Stockbridge and Canonmills – The Quiet Charm

For those seeking a quieter, more upscale environment, Stockbridge and Canonmills deliver charm in spades. Known for their beautiful New Town streets, artisan boutiques, and tranquil waterways, these areas offer a peaceful retreat from the busyness of student life.


  • Beautiful settings and a serene atmosphere
  • High-quality local amenities, including boutique shops and gourmet eateries
  • Close to green spaces like the Royal Botanic Garden and Inverleith Park

Making the Most of Your Student Life in Edinburgh

Choosing the right neighbourhood is just the beginning. To make the most of your time in Edinburgh, it’s important to engage with the community and take advantage of the opportunities around you. Here are some tips for living your best student life in this historic city:

  • Get Involved in Local Events: Edinburgh is renowned for its festivals, including the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe. Participating in these events can enrich your experience and provide a fun break from studies.
  • Explore Beyond Your Neighbourhood: Each area of Edinburgh has its charm. Spend time exploring different neighbourhoods to get a full sense of what the city has to offer.
  • Utilise University Resources: Universities in Edinburgh offer a wealth of resources, from career services to student wellbeing and social clubs. Make use of these to improve your academic and social life.

Edinburgh, with its blend of history, culture, and modernity, offers a unique backdrop for your academic journey. By carefully selecting your accommodation and immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant life, you can create a memorable and rewarding experience that extends far beyond the classroom.

Tips for Academic Excellence in Edinburgh

Navigating student life in Edinburgh also means taking care of your mental and physical well-being. The city is not just a hub for academic pursuits; it is also a place where you can find a vareity of activities to support your health and happiness.

  • Stay Active: Edinburgh boasts an array of public parks and green spaces, like Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat, providing the perfect backdrop for jogging, cycling, or even a serene walk to clear your mind. The city is also home to various sports clubs and gyms catering to different interests, ensuring that keeping physically active is both convenient and enjoyable.
  • Mind Your Mental Health: The academic pressures and the challenge of managing life in a new city can be challenging. Edinburgh’s universities and various local organisations offer support services, including counselling and mental health workshops, to help you navigate these issues. Engaging in mindfulness activities like yoga, which are widely available in the city, can also be beneficial.
  • Build Your Social Network: Creating a supportive network of friends and acquaintances can significantly elevate your student experience. Joining university societies, clubs, or engaging in community volunteer work can not only enrich your social life but also contribute to your personal development and employability skills.
  • Budget Wisely: Living in an active city like Edinburgh requires smart financial management to enjoy all that it has to offer. Keeping tabs on student discounts, exploring budget-friendly eating options, and learning to manage your finances early on will ease your life and allow you to partake in more activities without stressing over expenses.

Remember, your time as a student in Edinburgh is not just about academics; it’s a broad experience encompassing learning, growth, and self-discovery. By striking a balance between your studies, personal well-being, and social activities, you can make the most out of your student life in this enchanting city.

Your Edinburgh Adventure Awaits

While we’ve highlighted some of the top student neighbourhoods, there’s no substitute for personal exploration. Each area has a distinctive roster of features that may resonate with different students. It’s important to visit these locales, talk to current residents, and get a feel for what could become your home away from home. Should you require temporary storage or secure space for your belongings during the hunt for your student flat, Storage Vault is here to provide peace of mind and convenience.

Armed with a wealth of knowledge about Edinburgh’s best areas, it’s time to explore and discover the neighbourhood that’s perfect for you. Your student years are among the most formative, and where you choose to live could have a significant impact on that experience. May your search for the perfect Edinburgh home be as invigorating as your academic pursuits!

For more advice or storage solutions, get in touch with Storage Vault at 0800 802 1822 or visit here.

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