If you’re moving into a new area this September, or are going to be new to Edinburgh altogether, I thought I’d share some of the areas I’ve lived in and my favourite hotspots in each one:
Year 1: Brae House, Abbeyhill
I was given Brae House down in Abbeyhill, one of the University’s self-catered options. I initially decided against Pollock Halls, the classic Edinburgh first-year catered halls, because I prefer to have the freedom of being able to eat what and when I want. The general consensus on Pollock Halls seems to be that it’s a great place to make friends but the food gets repetitive real quick. If you care at all about food – I’d say go self-catered.
Abbeyhill is located just behind Holyrood Palace at the base of the Royal Mile. It’s a 30-minute uphill walk to George Square, and this got so old so fast. But it kept the pounds off and walking past the palace every day was a treat.
- There’s a beautiful lake tucked away at the base of Arthur’s Seat / Holyrood Park.
- Kilderkin on Canongate has a £1 pizza deal on Mondays (a firm favourite).
- There’s a 24hr McDonald’s about a 10-minute walk away (very dangerous for the waistline though).
- Meadowbank Shopping Park is just a five-minute walk away and has a huge Sainsbury’s, Poundland, TKMaxx and B&M, which is really convenient.
Year 2: Bruntsfield/Tollcross
This whole area is just so calm and lovely – I definitely prefer it to Marchmont and the whole are just feels super homely. Walking through the Meadows every day was also a real treat when the Cherry Blossoms were out (although I don’t miss the mud).
- There are so many cute gift shops all along Bruntsfield Place and they make for amazing afternoon wanderings.
- For the cinephile, there are some sweet independent cinemas on this side of town, such as the Dominion (they have couches!) and the Cameo Picturehouse.
- Amazing eats for under a fiver: Taquito down Home Street serve the biggest, best burritos in Edinburgh (in my opinion anyway). Khartoum Cafe on Gillespie Place do delicious wraps and salads, and The Little Fox Deli do great sandwiches as well.
Year 3: City Centre
We moved into the heart of Edinburgh in my third year and in terms of convenience, I would say that the North Bridge area really takes the cake. It is a 10-minute walk to George Square, to Princes Street, and to the train station. I did miss seeing the beautiful Meadows every day, but the location really can’t be beaten.
- Cabaret Voltaire does a weekly pub quiz on Wednesdays which is free AND they have free cake (win-win-win).
- Cockburn Street is littered with nice cafes and small gift shops.
- Market Street is my personal favourite though – there are numerous galleries to browse through, and walking into the Arches is just such a lovely little corner. Definitely check out Gannet & Guja for amazing sandwiches (I rate the customisable Banh Mi), Baba Budan for delicious, homemade doughnuts, and Tempo Tea Bar for the best bubble tea in town.
And there we go! This is also my last blog post of the year sadly – what an absolutely amazing journey it has all been. Thank you guys for going on my fourth-year adventures with me, it’s been so much fun. Good luck to those joining us in Edinburgh in the upcoming year – you are going to love it!