With its distinctive architecture, hilly landscape and fantastic arts scene, Edinburgh is like no other city in the UK. Perhaps best known for its annual Fringe Festival in August, the world’s largest arts festival, the city also has large food, film, science and book festivals, and a fantastic nightlife.
Built on seven hills, Edinburgh is home to some of the UK’s best views within city borders. Arthur’s seat, an extinct volcano, is a hike through steep, rocky terrain, and looks over the city towards the coast. You can also climb Calton Hill, which is located directly in the city centre.
Edinburgh is home to Heriot-Watt University, an internationally ranked university(314th in the world by QS World University Rankings 2019-2020), and the incredibly prestigious University of Edinburgh, which was ranked 20th in the world by QS World University Rankings 2019-2020, along with 4 other universities.
Here are some affordable food options near Edinburgh's city centre.
Nile Valley Cafe - A stone’s throw away from the University of Edinburgh, this cafe serves delicious Sudanese and Middle Eastern cuisine at a reasonable price. There are numerous dishes to try here alongside their signature Sudanese coffee, such as falafels, baba ghanoush wraps and spicy Egyptian lamb molokhia.
Gaia Delicatessan - This small Italian delicatessen/cafe is best known for its homemade Italian dishes, including pastas, cheese and antipasti. Have a relaxing cup of coffee and a homemade panini for breakfast here before shopping at their deli.
Kampung Ali - Remind yourself of home at this lovely Malaysian restaurant, which serves large bowls of laksa and generous portions of nasi lemak. Try their roti canai, which goes for only £3.50, high for local standards but certainly reasonable in Edinburgh.
Ting Thai Caravan - This Thai restaurant serves many delicious dishes, notably their marinated chicken gai cha plu and their nom tok nua, a unique, spicy take on Thai beef salad. Prices range from only £4-9, with portions and prices going up at night.
Edinburgh Farmers Market - This award winning weekly market sells fresh, seasonal produce every Saturday. The market boasts a large variety of meat products, with venison, organic beef, chicken, lamb and pork being on the menu. Many artisan products are also sold here, such as organic beer, handmade chocolates and freshly baked crusty bread.
Stockbridge Market - Stockbridge market is notable for its large variety of artisan stalls, selling anything from homemade dog treats to jewelry and cheese. There is also a delicious selection of street snacks here, selling treats like molten marshmallows and handmade crepes.
Edinburgh has a 24 hour bus service running, as well as a modern tram system. Edinburgh Airport is located only 8 minutes from the city centre, making flights fast and convenient.
Instagrammable Places in Edinburgh
Places to take amazing photos in Edinburgh
Both alluring and intimidating, Edinburgh Castle dominates the city skyline with its imposing presence on Castle Rock.
Image Credit: Instagram @arniegvisuals
Royal Botanic Garden
The Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden is one of Europe’s most beautiful, and is a verdant treasure filled with more than 13,000 species of plant.
Image Credit: Instagram @patrickfenn
Once stricken with poverty and decay, Dean Village is now a tranquil area within the city, and a perfect place to go for anyone seeking some time away from the city without having to go far.
Image Credit: Instagram @rebeccakelly1931
One of Edinburgh’s seven hills, Arthur’s Seat makes for an incredible vantage point of the city.
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This colourful street filled with adorable, independent shops was the inspiration for Harry Potter’s diagon alley.
Image Credit: Instagram @franciberetta89
Go on a Road Trip
Travel further outside Edinburgh for graduation trips or mini-vacations.
The East Lothian Beaches - While Edinburgh has its own beach at Portobello, there are larger ones in East Lothian. The first bus trip is just under an hour to reach Aberlady, followed by short walk to reach the north side of Aberlady Bay.
Loch Ness - The Scottish Highlands are closer to the city than one might think, and there’s no better place to visit there than Loch Ness. Cruise its waters, visit the nearby Urquhart Castle or take part in Whisky tastings. The trip will take up the whole of your day(including an early morning), but it’s well worth it.
The Pentlands - While part of this range of hills is technically within Edinburgh, they still stretch over 30km out of the city to the South West. The range contains an artificial ski slope, numerous farms, lochs and even a military training zone.