Edinburgh Neighborhood Guide
All dramatic vistas and imposing Gothic buildings, Edinburgh is a place that never fails to impress. From the summer comedy festival to the New Year’s Hogmanay celebrations, there’s always something happening to get the city abuzz with excitement. Here are our picks of the best neighborhoods to explore in Edinburgh.
The historic heart of the city, Old Town is where you’ll find the Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. It’s the most picturesque part of town too, with cobblestone streets and alleys—known as closes—leading off the Mile. Besides the castle, other area attractions include Camera Obscura, the Real Mary King’s Close, the Palace of Holyroodhouse (official residence of Queen Elizabeth in Scotland), and more.
Facing the Royal Mile on the opposite side of Princes Street Gardens is Edinburgh’s New Town, a stately collection of streets lined with Georgian buildings. Here you’ll find some of the city’s top restaurants and bars, plus shops and cafés. With a handful of theaters and cinemas, New Town is also the place to be for on-stage or on-screen entertainment.
Stockbridge started life as a village on Edinburgh’s outskirts, and still retains its charm. The neighborhood is popular with young families and professionals, who stroll Raeburn Place on weekends shopping for organic produce and stopping for coffee at stylish bars and cafés. Head to Stockbridge for a local’s experience of the city.
Just north of New Town, Leith has acted as Edinburgh’s port for centuries—the original harbor here dates back to the 14th century. On the neighborhood’s Firth of Forth, you’ll see a different side of Edinburgh. In recent years, the formerly run-down buildings along the waterfront have been progressively renovated and transformed into welcoming pubs and restaurants offering local ales and fresh seafood. For an unusual experience, step aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, used by Queen Elizabeth to sail around the world on state visits.