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Living in Edinburgh
Scotland’s capital is an incredible hub of culture and events, perfect for students. The universities are University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot-Watt University.
Being in Scotland, there are a few obvious things you need to try. Find a man in a kilt, drink a dram of whisky, force down a fork-full of haggis (with a helping of neeps and tatties if you like), withstand the blare of some bagpipes, resist the urge to try and clamber up the two giraffe statues outside the Omni centre… Oh, and climb Arthur’s Seat. This massive hill is probably the first thing you’ll see as you approach the city. It’s the remains of an ancient volcano, but even if you’re slow it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to get to the top. It’s not often you get to see your city from this kind of viewpoint, so wear your sensible shoes, wait until the weather is good, and you’ll be rewarded with a phenomenal view from the summit.
If you’re a sports fan then you should definitely make it your job to get over to the Murrayfield Stadium, just behind Roseburn Park. There you can watch the national rugby union team and, literally just round the corner, the Edinburgh Capitals, the city’s ice hockey team in the Murrayfield Ice Rink.
Edinburgh hosts so many festivals every year that it’s going to take some serious willpower to stay in your room and study. The city is the cultural hub of Scotland, and has a great mix of modern and traditional events. You could exercise your brain at the International Science Festival, check out the fireworks and bagpipers up at the castle, watch a Viking longship go up in flames at the Hogmanay celebrations, and say hello to Dolly the cloned sheep in the Edinburgh museum (admittedly she might not wave back).
When that’s all finished, maybe you can catch a show. Egged on by the huge success of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it’s not hard to find a theatre showing something you’d like to see. A quick way to suss out some of Edinburgh’s hidden gems is to get hold of a magazine called ‘The Skinny’. It contains culture reviews and updates of everything that’s going on, including more niche entertainment, so you can work out how best to spend your time.
Top three Festivals:
- Edinburgh Fringe: People pay through the nose to get to Edinburgh during this, the world’s largest arts festival, but for you it’s just a step outside the door! Leave extra time to get around as the city’s population will double while it’s on, and you’ll probably get distracted by an impromptu street performance anyway.
- International Book Festival: Well you are a student, aren’t you?
- Beltane Fire Festival: This updated take on an ancient celebration marks the start of the summer and features, you guessed it, an awful lot of fire. Get in there quick because tickets go like lightning.
Food and Drink:
- Illegal Jack’s: A South West Grill (a kind of Mexican/Scottish fusion. We promise you it works!) where you can either keep it cheap and cheerful or splash out on an epic steak. Have you ever tried a haggis burrito?
- Kebab Mehal: This very affordable Indian restaurant and takeaway comes with an official thumbs-up from the locals.
- The Bow Bar: Don’t be fooled by its simple exterior, this is a ‘proper pub’. Still serving Scottish beer, ale and whisky in the traditional way, coming here is like downing a pint of history.
Read Edinburgh Reviews
It is a capital city so the cost of living is a little above average - and the same goes for food. Although, there are normally always student deals and apps that bump down the price of eating out. Public transport is great. You can get a bus anywhere in the city for £1.50 and to be honest, it is easy enough to walk too if you prefer walking! There are different clubs/pubs to suit everyone. If your in to dress and heels - George street! If your up for wild hip hop nights - cow gate! If you just want a chilled pub - grass market! It's great. Princes street is so close and it has every shop a girl needs!
Stay south of Princes St, and the prices are student friendly. Plenty of places to eat with a variety of prices and cuisines. Nights out are brilliant, whether it's the Big Cheese at potterrow on Saturday, downing chilli shots at Vodka Revs, or even shisha at Hanam's overlooking the Grassmarket on their terrace. Shopping is good; their Primark even looks quite nice! And buses are the main way of getting around (£1.50 for a single), but you can walk just about everywhere/ get a bike.
Edinburgh is just the best. I knew the city well before moving for uni but it can still surprise you! Nights out are just the best and everyone is so friendly. Everything is easily accessible with good transport links. Also for spending all of that student loan, the shops are great, just don't spend all you're time in them you are there to study haha
I love Edinburgh so much! It is the perfect student city in the way that there is something for everyone, and you have loads to do when you're there. It is a capital city, so there's tons going on. A big music scene, lots of galleries/museums, some lovely parks, plenty of shops (highstreet and more vintagey) some awesome pubs and bars, plus plenty of clubs! Obviously you get all of that in lots of cities, but the thing about Edinburgh is it's beauty. Both the old town and the new town have beautiful architecture with lovely old buildings, cobbled streets, little market squares etc. (there's a great farmers market every Sunday in new town!). Plus you have Arthur's seat, which I think is awesome. Just a giant hill in the middle of the city! You get a fab view of the city and surrounding mountains from the top, and it looks beautiful from below with holyrood park surrounding it. It's almost like a snippet of the countryside thrown into the centre!
High cost of living, but that's just what comes with living in a capital city. There are plenty good places to eat out, as well as many bars and clubs. Shopping isn't the best here, you'd be better taking a trip to Glasgow, but it's still good enough. Public transport is excellent and reliable with very regular buses throughout the city.
Edinburgh is a fantastic place to live, I don't think I could have picked a better place to go for my first experience of living away from home! It's a safe city, and although it's fairly sizeable it doesn't stifle you the way somewhere like Manchester does. The university (of Edinburgh) is incredible - and wherever you go in the city, it looks like Hogwarts!
It's an awfully long way from home, and my partner.