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:
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.