Do you know your Old Town from your New Town? Do you know where to go for the best coffee in town? Do you like staying in the bustling city centre or a leafy suburb? We have the answer to all these questions and more in our ultimate guide to Edinburgh! Discover the best places for lively nightlife, fun for all the family, or where to truly experience the enchanting history of the city. Whatever you enjoy, find out which areas to visit on your stay in the Scottish capital.
Edinburgh’s picturesque Old Town dates back to the 12th century when Malcolm Canmore built a castle, and then a chapel for his wife Queen Margaret within it’s walls (the chapel still exists within the current Edinburgh Castle and is the oldest building in the city). The abbey at Holyrood was then built by Queen Margaret’s son David I, and a thriving neighbourhood developed along the thoroughfare between the two (now known as the Royal Mile). The residents, choosing to stay close the Castlehill, built tall narrow buildings organised in closes and wynds, an iconic characteristic that remains today. Not only are the Castle and Holyrood Abbey obligatory stops on any trip to the capital, the Old Town provides endless entertainment for all ages as you discover and explore the maze of alleyways and cobbled streets. The Grassmarket is perfect for a lazy afternoon pub crawl, whilst the Royal Mile itself is bursting with charm and things to see and do. The Old Town is the place to really feel inspired by Edinburgh’s magic and mystery.
The Old Town is the perfect place to base yourself during any visit to the city. Staying with Old Town Chambers you will be right at the centre of all the action, enjoying all the comforts of luxury 5-star apartments whilst immersed in the enchanting atmosphere of this ancient city. Discover more about Old Town Chambers luxury serviced apartments: https://www.lateralcity.com/property/old-town-chambers
This area was originally named ‘Brounysfelde’, or Brown’s Fields, after an early land owner was granted permission from Robert II to build Bruntsfield house on a plot of land within the barony of Colinton. The house was home to a number of land owners over the years, most notably the Lauders of Haltoun, who occupied the property for over 220 years. Eventually around 1900 most of the estate was laid out for tenements, many of which can still be seen in Bruntsfield and Marchmont today. Now, Bruntsfield is a leafy and tranquil suburb, packed full of independent boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops, ready to be explored! Despite only being a 15-minute walk to the centre of the city, inhabitants of Bruntsfield enjoy a much more sedate pace of life. The area has a friendly, neighbourly feel and it’s perfect for exploring with the whole family.
Staying in the cosmopolitan suburb of Bruntsfield provides the best of both worlds. Being just a short walk from the city centre, you are never far from the beating heart of Edinburgh. After a busy day sight-seeing return to Merchiston Residence to some welcome tranquillity. Discover more now: https://www.lateralcity.com/property/merchiston-residence
Although Leith has now been fully absorbed into the main city, the area still retains its own unique identity. Leith is most famous for its history as Edinburgh’s main port and the important role it played in the ship-building of the 19th century, but it was also the area from which Mary of Guise (Mary Queen of Scots mother) ruled Scotland as Queen Regent. After the Second World War and the decline of the ship-building industry, the area of Leith fell into a state of disrepair. Mass regeneration however, has seen Leith blossom into a vibrant and exciting neighbourhood again, whilst never forgetting it’s industrial heritage. Leith is now a foodie haven with more than its fair share of fine dining, gastro-pubs and independent speciality restaurants. This buzzing locale is popular with the city’s young professionals and as such The Shore and Leith Walk have seen a proliferation of cool drinking spots too.
The New Town was conceived in the mid 17th century when the Old Town became over-crowded and more space was needed for the inhabitants of the growing city. James Craig won a contest in 1766 to design a ‘New Town’ beyond the Nor’ Loch (Princes Street Gardens). His design was a simple symmetrical grid with street and civic spaces being named appropriately patriotic titles; George Street after King George III, Queen Street after his wife Queen Charlotte, and Rose and Thistle Street after the emblems of England and Scotland respectively. The New Town was expanded further between the 1760s to the 1830s and the street layout seen today is very much like the original design by Craig. Today, the area is a hub of shops, restaurants and bars. For those who enjoy the finer things in life, the boutiques and cocktail bars of George street and the surrounding thoroughfares are quite a draw. The leafy St Andrew Square at the east end of George Street is the ultimate destination for any luxury lovers – home to Multrees Walk, Harvey Nichols, and a number of well-established bistro-bars that have made the move north from London, this is a must visit for any looking to experience the sparkling side of the city.
If you love a lively atmosphere and want to be close to the glamour of the New Town, The Edinburgh Grand is the perfect place to stay for you! Opening soon on St Andrew Square, luxury apartments don’t get much more desirable than this. Find out more: https://www.lateralcity.com/property/the-edinburgh-grand
The suburb of Stockbridge gets its name from the old Scots word ‘stoccbrycg’, which literally means timber footbridge. The current stone bridge was built in the early 1800s to allow traffic across the River Leith. After the 1760s, as the New Town expanded northwards, the villages along the river including Stockbridge and the Dean Village were eventually connected to the city. Stockbridge developed into quite the bohemian community and was home to many artists, musicians, writers and poets. Famous residents have included the likes of famous painter Sir Henry Raeburn, and Scottish poet James Hogg. Stockbridge has retained an element of this free spiritedness and definitely feels like a country village as opposed to a busy city suburb. Wander around the Sunday food and craft market, discover some wonderful gifts in the plethora of sweet little boutiques, or sample some great artisan coffee from the various independent coffee shops. Stockbridge also has more that it’s fair share of great places to eat and drink so is definitely a must-do for those keen foodies in the family!