Edinburgh Tip: How to find a budget hotel, and more!

Posted in: Edinburgh


Edinburgh by night, a gorgeous scene from Calton Hill. Photo by Andy Hayes
Edinburgh by night, a gorgeous scene from Calton Hill. Photo by Andy Hayes

With the pound dropping significantly against world currencies, it’s a great time to check out the British Isles! More specifically? It’s about time you got your kilt to Edinburgh!

Sure, accommodations can still be a bit of a budget-buster, especially in those year-round tourist hot spots like Scotland’s capital city, but with a few local Cheapo tips, you’ll be enjoying old world charms with money to spare.

First things first – What not to do

There are two times of year when you cannot get cheap accommodations in Edinburgh:

– Hogmanay (that is New Year’s Eve to you non-Scots)
– August. Yes, the entire month. Have you heard of the Edinburgh Festival?

If you absolutely must join us for one of these two events (and why wouldn’t you?), book in advance to get a reasonable price. Say, six to nine months in advance. Really.

So, what are the great budget hotels?

One of my personal favourites is the Edinburgh Central, a member of the Scottish Youth Hostels program. It is one of the few hostels in the world that’s rated higher than some 3 or 4 star hotels – with ensuite rooms, a bistro with fresh and tasty breakfast fare that even attracts some locals, and all of the typical amenities you would expect in a good hostel. With rock-bottom rates, the Edinburgh Central is centrally located on the top of Leith Walk, just a ten minute walk to the busy Prices Street, but also surrounded with local pubs and kitsch restaurants.

I had guests in September (2008) who stayed near me here in the Old Town at the brand, spankin’ new Holiday Inn Express – Royal Mile. It’s not on the Royal Mile but only one block away; it actually sits on the Cowgate, which is full of late-night pubs and clubs, but thankfully the noise never drifts down this direction. The rates are reasonable, especially considering the top-notch facilities and very friendly staff.

Lastly, I would suggest checking out the Premier Inn Edinburgh. It is near Haymarket Station in the West End, a ten to 15 minute walk into the center of town. This part of Edinburgh is great for food and drink; there is also plenty of that timeless Georgian architecture for enjoyment.

How about some great, unexplored neighbourhoods?

The great thing about Edinburgh is that it is so easy to get around, either by walking or taking one of the efficient and inexpensive buses. There are a couple of great areas to check out that have budget accommodation options. Unfortunately, these neighborhoods are often overlooked by tourists:

Newington. This is just south of the Old Town and sits in between Holyrood Park and the Meadows. The main street here, Clerk Street, is full of fun costume shops, boutique restaurants, and nearby you can find a really great wine and whisky shop, The Great Grog. The further away from the city centre you are, the better the deal you’ll get. So, this is a great budget-friendly option with flair.

Stockbridge. Most people think of the trendy, posh side of Stockbridge, but a closer look reveals that this neighbourhood extends up into Inverleith Park, as well as west along the Water of Leith. Get away from the main street and you’ll find a deal.

If you go…

My absolutely favourite part of Edinburgh is the Water of Leith. Catch Bus #26 or 31 and have the driver let you off at Roseburn Terrace. Join the trail here and walk the scenic, peaceful two to three miles back into Stockbridge, where you can finish off the stroll with a coffee or a nice glass of wine in a nearby café.

Tell me, Cheapos: What’s your top tip for Edinburgh?

Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and one of Edinburgh’s top local Cheapos. For more travelogues and inspiring travel ideas, visit his website called Sharing Experiences.

About the author

Meredith Franco Meyers

About the author: Meredith earned an MFA in fiction writing at The New School in New York City. Her feature stories and articles have appeared in Ladies' Home Journal, American Baby, Self, Bridal Guide, Time Out New York, Fitness and more. She joined EuroCheapo in summer 2007.

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12 thoughts on “Edinburgh Tip: How to find a budget hotel, and more!”

  1. Read all the interesting comments above.

    On several occassions I’ve got some very steep discounts just for asking. I think the biggest problem with British people is we don’t bargain like in some other cultures.

    Normaly I make a short list of 2-4 places then call them. When I speak to some it’s easier to ask for a discount. Most of the smaller guest houses will give you a discount. All it requires is a few minutes on the phone. Have fun and enjoy bargaining.

  2. Some good tips there, i think some of the hostels in Edinburgh offer great value, places like smart city have excellent facilities and city centre locations and prices start usually around £15 each. Staying in the surrounding areas is a good idea, places like Leith are really improving with regeneration projects going on. The bus service in the city is also really efficient with usually a bus every few minutes and only £2.50 for a all day buss pass for Edinburgh!

  3. I stayed at the Dene Guest House in November for about 32 pounds single w/o bath, a great deal by any standard. Perfect location at the foot of New Town, near Leith Water Path and many restaurants and stores, including a Pan Asian place. they even let me charge it in USD. Thx.

  4. Just a note- the above photo (which I recongnized, much pleased with myself) is Calton Hill, not Carlton Hill. I love Edinburgh & your website. It’s very useful.

  5. Pingback: Cheap Edinburgh Scotland Accomodations, Edinburgh International Festival

  6. Good stuff, Andy.

    Unless you like being crammed in with thousands of others, I’d recommend not going to the “official” Hogmanay party. It’s over-crowded and the freedom to move on the Royal Mile is much preferred. You can get a great view of the fireworks all over the city from in front of the castle.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Andy. I don’t have any affiliation with these hotels, and we’ve not included prices because it really depends on your time of travel. As Edinburgh is such a small city, the various festivals and events really cause a wide fluctuation on the rates. As I mentioned, visitors really need to research and book in advance to get the best value for money.

  8. @ Andy of HoboTraveler.com – thanks for the comment! We’ll include an updated post on Edingburgh down the line that includes more specific price info.

    Keep on hoboin’!

    – Pete

  9. I am a perpetual traveler for over 10 years, I have been to Europe about five times, but most the time in the developing world. This title had a good chance, but there were no prices given, so I have no way to make any judgements. Feels like a list of Hotels you wish to help. I often think a budget for most travelers is the amount of money they have in the bank, when that is gone, the leave.

    A cheap Hotel in the USA is 22 US.
    A cheap room in Europe is from 15 – 25 dollars, the Baltic states are cheaper, and I had a private room in Paris for 25.
    Asia is about 5
    Africa is 8
    South America and Central America is 5
    Middle east is about 8
    Mexico is up to 12, truly overpriced country.

    Hostels are normally overprices.

    Thanks from Andy of HoboTraveler.com Travel Blog and HoboHideOut.com Hotels


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