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8 Cool Neighbourhoods in Scotland’s Cities to Call Home

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View down Circus Lane in Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Circus Lane, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Scotland’s cities are worth visiting for more than just a day or two. Why not spend a whole week getting to know a new haunt? Behind each of these ancient cities, you’ll find the places to be for food, fun and culture.

Pick a neighbourhood and start calling yourself a local!

1. Finnieston, Glasgow

View of Hidden Lane in Finnieston, Glasgow

Hidden Lane in Finnieston, Glasgow © Glasgow Life

A visit to Finnieston is always a great shout on a night out to Glasgow, but wouldn’t it be nice to stay in the area for a bit longer? It is found on the north bank of the River Clyde, sandwiched between the city centre and the West End.

Why visit?

  • It’s one of Glasgow’s trendiest spots mixing bohemian chic with gothic architecture, charming cobbles and shops. Try Hidden Lane and De Courcy’s Arcade for some unique finds.
  • It’s known for the excellent foodie offering. Be sure to spend a lot of time checking out restaurants in the area.
  • The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum are located nearby.

Where to eat

  • Alchemilla
  • Ox and Finch
  • Six by Nico
  • Partick Duck Club

Find more places to eat in Glasgow 

Where to stay

  •  Radisson RED
  •  15Glasgow

Read our blog on quirky Glasgow streets with great places to stay

2. Old Aberdeen

View down the High Street in Old Aberdeen

High Street, Old Aberdeen

Aberdeen’s Old Town dates back as far as the Picts, with beautiful cathedrals and university buildings framing the north, and the easterly harbour looking out to the North Sea.

Why visit?

  • Catch the sunrise at Aberdeen Harbour, a spot known for dolphin spotting in the summer months.
  • Its ancient streets are home to a unique array of local businesses. On Great Western Road, check out Rosemary Planet for eco-friendly finds and locally sourced products. Grab a coffee and a cake at Almondine on Chapel Street.
  • Old Aberdeen is the location of several unique buildings, including St Machar’s Cathedral, King’s College and the Brig o’ Balgownie which dates to the 13th century. Wind up at Seaton Park, the perfect place to relax!
  • The Aberdeen Art Gallery is a fascinating place to while away the hours.
  • Learn more about the nautical heritage of the city at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum.

Where to eat

  • The Silver Darling
  • Angus & Ale
  • Foodstory Café
  • Moonfish Café

Find more quirky places to eat in Aberdeen 

Where to stay

  • Sandman Signature Hotel
  • Leonardo Hotel Aberdeen

Read our blog on quirky Aberdeen streets with great places to stay 

3. Stockbridge, Edinburgh

View of clocktower in Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Stockbridge is just north west of Princes Street and is one of the loveliest neighbourhoods in Edinburgh. It’s easy to reach from the city centre, but the area has a small village atmosphere that you’ll absolutely adore.

Why visit?

  • Wake up to artisan coffee from one of the Raeburn Place cafés. Stroll past the independent shops and boutiques or take a good book to Inverleith Park.
  • Explore the West End by taking the Water of Leith pathway to the National Gallery of Modern Art.
  • The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh always has something colourful to admire at any time of year.
  • The Stockbridge Market is on every Sunday throughout the year so you can pick up treats and products from lots of local businesses.

Where to eat

  • Scran & Scallie
  • Good Brothers Wine Bar
  • Hector’s
  • Hamilton’s

Find more quirky places to eat in Edinburgh 

Where to stay

  • The Raeburn
  • Nira Caledonia

Read our blog on quirky Edinburgh streets with great places to stay 

4. Old Town, Stirling

High street in Stirling city centre

City centre, Stirling

Staying in a smaller city is a smart choice if you want to enjoy a stress-free type of city break. For one thing, it’ll only take two minutes for you to get your bearings! In Stirling, enjoy views of the mighty hilltop castle, wander cobbled streets and gaze out to legendary landscapes. This is the old stomping grounds of Rob Roy and William Wallace – if they liked it, maybe you will too?

Why visit?

  • Stroll down ancient streets and admire places like the Church of Holy Rude.
  • Pick up a wee pressie for yourself from Contempo on King Street, a cute little shop offering unique handcrafted gifts from Scottish artists.
  • Explore the dark  history of the Stirling Old Town Jail before enjoying some of the best vistas in the city from the Observation Tower.
  • Stirling is a great base for lots of other adventures too like trips to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

Where to eat

  • Darnley Coffee House
  • The Portcullis
  • Brea
  • Fletcher’s
  • Friend of Mine
  • The Birds and Bees

Find more places to eat in Stirling 

Where to stay

  • Stirling Highland Hotel
  • Hotel Colessio

Read our blog on quirky Stirling streets with great places to stay

5. City centre, Dundee

Image of records on display in Le Freak Records, Dundee

Le Freak Records, Dundee

Cool and creative, Dundee has always been full of bright ideas. After all, the easterly city is famous for inventing marmalade, the Beano and Grand Theft Auto.

Why visit?

Jute, jam and journalism were the major industries here once upon a time. Nowadays, Dundee has lots of other interests – design, contemporary art, medicine, to name just a few. You can discover them all from wherever you stay in this compact city on the River Tay.

  • Catch a moment of peace and quiet in the gorgeous University of Dundee’s Botanic Gardens to the west of the city.
  • At Wild Shore Dundee try a new adventure activity, such as cable wakeboarding!
  • Shop at Le Freak Records on Perth Road and Assai Records on Union Street.
  • Find the trendiest designer eye wear at Spex Pistols. It’s a fun shop to visit, even if you don’t need to wear glasses!
  • Catch a must-see exhibition or enjoy a delicious lunch at V&A Dundee.
  • Learn all about the history of the jute-making industry in Dundee at the Verdant Works.

Where to eat

  • Bird & Bear
  • Draffens
  • Abandon Ship
  • Blue Room

Find more places to eat in Dundee

Where to stay

  • Invercarse Hotel
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Malmaison
  • Sleeperz

Read our blog on quirky Dundee streets with great places to stay

6. City centre, Perth

Shopfront of Boo Vake in Perth

Boo Vake, Perth

The “Fair City” of Perth is centuries old, but in fact, it’s one of Scotland’s newest cities. You’ll find two green spaces and a picturesque city centre filled with attractions, restaurants and historical stories weaved throughout. It’s easy to feel right at home in the city centre, with everything you want to do within easy walking distance.

Why visit?

  • The highest of five hills to the east of Perth, Kinnoull Hill is perfect for photographers and sunset seekers.
  • Take home some new interior décor pieces from the contemporary homeware shop, Boo Vake.
  • Get a cultural fix at the Perth Museum & Art Gallery and The Fergusson Gallery.
  • For shows, music and evening entertainment, check out the programmes for Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall.
  • Admire the sculptures along the River Tay Public Art Trail which meanders across the city.

Where to eat

  • 63 Tay Street
  • Breizh
  • Paco’s Restaurant
  • The Bothy

Find more places to eat in Perth

Where to stay

  • Parklands Hotel
  • The Townhouse

Read our blog on quirky Perth streets with great places to stay

7. The Riverside, Inverness

A couple look at a book in Leakey's Bookshop, Inverness

Leakey’s Bookshop, Inverness

Located just across the River Ness from the city centre, The Riverside is a fabulous base for an Inverness adventure. This is the perfect spot for exploring city centre attractions and for venturing out into the Highlands for day trips.

Why visit?

  • Discover  the Inverness Botanic Gardens. Find some peace and quiet, and explore leafy pathways and the Tropical House – the ‘hottest spot in the Highlands’.
  • Head to Leakey’s Bookshop and find a fabulous second-hand read for your holiday.
  • Climb to the top of the Tomnahurich Cemetery Hill. Laced with history and folklore, it’s also known as the ‘Fairy Hill of Inverness’ and has amazing city views.
  • Delve into the fascinating history of the Highlands at the Highland Archive Centre. There are records here dating from the 14th century.
  • Keep an eye on the Eden Court Theatre for evening entertainment and shows returning to this gem of a theatre.

Where to eat

  • The Mustard Seed
  • Rocpool
  • Scotch & Rye
  • Velocity Café

Find more places to eat in Inverness

Where to stay

  • Ness Walk Hotel
  • The Castle B&B

Read our blog on quirky Inverness streets with great places to stay

8. The Maygate, Dunfermline

In May 2022, Dunfermline became Scotland’s eighth city after being awarded city status as part of HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Start your visit in the Maygate, part of Dunfermline’s medieval Heritage Quarter, and visit the independent shops and bustling cafés located next to some of the city’s most historic buildings.

Why visit?

  • Pay a visit to Abbot House. This beautiful Grade A listed house dates back over 500 years and is called the “Pink House” by locals. There’s a gift shop, workshop, artist’s studio, coffee shop, Go Escape room and education centre. Visit the 17th century Walled Garden originally cultivated by Lady Anne Halkett, a herbal apothecary and midwife famed for her healing powers.
  • The Secret Door is a treasure trove for antique hunters. This little shop was in the national spotlight recently when it featured in an episode of BBC One’s Antiques Road Show.
  • Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries was the first library built by Dunfermline-born Andrew Carnegie, the American industrialist and philanthropist. It has a museum, exhibition galleries, children’s library and a mezzanine café with views of Dunfermline Abbey and the Heritage Quarter.

Where to eat

  • Café Fresh
  • La Menta
  • Amorist Bistro Bar

Find more places to eat in Dunfermline

Where to stay

  • 1703 Dunfermline
  • The City Hotel

Find more places to stay in Dunfermline

Find out more about Dunfermline

Have you taken a city break recently in Scotland? Share your #VisitScotland or #ScotlandIsCalling memories with us!

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