Living in Edinburgh

Find out why Scotland's capital is regularly voted as one of the most desirable places to live in the world.

Edinburgh is large enough to offer something for everyone but small enough to feel like home. It is a modern, sophisticated and beautiful European city, with a diverse multicultural community and is ranked 6th best student city in Europe and 13th in the world (QS Best Student Cities 2025).

Edinburgh is a city often praised for being beautiful - with its many parks and gardens around town and aesthetically aged Old Town (the oldest region of the city of Edinburgh) it's not hard to see why.

Edinburgh often ranks as one of the top cities for people to live, work, and study in, and has recently been named as the UK's most attractive city to live and work in a study commissioned by the Royal Mail.

Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since the 15th century, its old and new towns are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage sites. The city is built on and around a long-extinct volcano now known as 'Arthur's Seat' which gives the city a unique and spectacular landscape. Edinburgh University was founded in 1582 and is the sixth oldest University in the English-speaking world.

Edinburgh has hundreds of pubs, restaurants and clubs which cater for a huge variety of tastes and budgets. Being the capital of Scotland, some bars in Edinburgh can be on the pricier side for drinks but many bars offer student discount making it a lot more affordable.

Edinburgh is a culturally vibrant city which plays host to the world's largest arts festival plus scores of other smaller festivals. It also has several world-class art galleries and theatres.

In August, the Capital is transformed by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the largest arts festival in the world. People come from everywhere in the world to see comedy, drama, music, and entertainment here in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh is home to countless sports groups and organisations including two professional football teams, a professional Rugby Union team and a commonwealth length swimming pool. Edinburgh University also has one of the best sports and gym facilities amongst UK universities.

List of Edinburgh University sports societies

Edinburgh sports facilities:

If you like to spend time in nature you don't have to go far, Edinburgh is surrounded by countryside and the Pentland Hills Regional Park is only half an hour away from the city centre. The Scottish Highlands are home to some of the last few areas of true wilderness in Europe and can be reached in about 3 hours from Edinburgh by bus, car or rail. Scotland also has an abundance of opportunities for adventure and water sports.

Edinburgh also gives access to the outdoors through the Meadows – the central park of Edinburgh that is the hub for barbeques, sports, and sun (pictured right).

Edinburgh is very competitive in terms of cost of living compared with other UK cities.

As it is the capital of Scotland, it does have its more expensive parts of town but it is a lot more affordable than its English capital counterpart. 

Cost of living estimates