Edinburgh’s mysterious medieval streets build intrigue with every step, no matter how many times you have visited the capital. You might have browsed these gorgeous streets countless times on social media, but did you know you can stay on some of them?
After a long day wandering around its weaving wynds and cobbled corners, you’ll need picture-perfect accommodation too.
1. The Grassmarket
The Grassmarket was once a very important marketplace for traders and a central meeting place and gossip spot for locals.
Street secret: This spot was also where public hangings were held and is now rumoured to be one of Edinburgh’s most haunted places.
Stay: Apex Grassmarket, 31 – 35 Grassmarket. A hotel with amazing views looking up the castle and an unbeatable location right in the thick of Edinburgh’s culture and nightlife, you’ll find yourself just opposite the amazing pubs on the Grassmarket and a short walk from the castle and Princes Street.
2. Princes Street
Princes Street is like no other city’s main street – can you name somewhere else with an age-old castle, impressive fountain and gothic monument opposite the high street shops and restaurants? When the sun shines, relax in the shadow of the castle in the glorious Princes Street Gardens.
Street secret: The Balmoral clock, a key landmark of the capital, is 3 minutes faster than real time! Some say this is to stop people missing their train at Waverley. Also, JK Rowling wrote the final chapters of the last Harry Potter book in a suite in the hotel.
Stay: The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street. A stay here is the ultimate special treat – with its grand elegance and Scottish charm. The hotel is complete with a whisky tasting room, incredible breakfast space and don’t miss a dinner at the incredible Number One restaurant.
3. Castle Street
So you might not be able to stay overnight in Edinburgh Castle, but Castle Street is the next best thing!
Street secret: Weaving down to Princes Street, on this street, you could not be closer to all the action. Did you know Edinburgh Castle is haunted by a lone piper and was once home to an elephant? It is also thought that a dinner party at Edinburgh Castle inspired the Game of Thrones episode, The Red Wedding.
Stay: Edinburgh Castle Apartments, 28 Castle Street. On Castle Street, this selection of beautifully luxurious serviced apartments in the heart of the New Town, with their garden-facing rooms, studios and penthouses, offers guests ultimate relaxation. High-quality furnishings, incredible views of the cityscape and luxurious bed linen will make your stay even more special, as will the latest in-room technology including LCD Smart TVs for relaxing nights in.
4. Bristo Place
This street, leading to the University of Edinburgh campus and its vibrant pubs and restaurants is a fabulous base for exploring the curious corners of the Old Town.
Street secret: Here, you’ll find Bedlam Theatre. Originally the site of an asylum, this place full of stories! Nowadays it’s an eclectic student theatre.
Stay: Hotel du Vin, 11 Bristo Place. With an outdoor restaurant and beer garden, you can while away the hours here before exploring this fascinating part of the city.
5. South Bridge
This bridge was built in the 18th century to link the Old Town with the University buildings to the south of the city, constructed after North Bridge.
Street secret: There is a series of vaults beneath South Bridge, which were used by local businesses and even to store criminal proceeds, allegedly including the bodies of people killed by Burke and Hare for medical experiments.
Stay: Ibis South Bridge, 77 South Bridge – This stylish hotel has an outdoor courtyard and over 200 modern rooms. Overlooking the winding streets of Edinburgh, this hotel is the perfect position for exploring the city.
6. George IV Bridge
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Parallel to South Bridge, this bridge is a mixture of restaurants, public buildings and spans over the Cowgate, so you can watch the city’s happenings from above.
Street secret: Greyfriars Bobby, who has a dedicated statue on George IV Bridge, was a very loyal dog. The Skye Terrier guarded his owner’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years back in the 1800s.
Stay: No.1 Apartments, 23 George IV Bridge – Many of the serviced self-catering apartments offer castle views, as well as your own sitting room and cooking facilities so you can make yourself at home.
7. Raeburn Place, Stockbridge
Just north of Princes Street, Stockbridge is a great base for your stay in the capital. Lined with independent boutiques, cafes, delis, you’ll feel like a Stockbridge local within minutes! The Sunday Stockbridge Market is well worth a wander, for delicious treats and crafts.
Street secret: The first ever international rugby match (Calcutta Cup) between Scotland and England took place at Raeburn Place in 1890. Also, the original Mrs Doubtfire lived and ran a shop in Stockbridge which inspired the name of the book, and then the movie.
Stay: The Raeburn, 112 Raeburn Place. Luxurious and romantic, this former Georgian family home has recently had a makeover. With a roof terrace and 10 stylish bedrooms, it might be a struggle to leave.
8. West Coates, West End
This street, with its close proximity to Haymarket train station, is a lovely wide road leading out west to Corstorphine and Edinburgh Zoo, skirting past some of the prettiest West End crescents and the impressive Donaldson’s School, an 1851 building by William Henry Playfair and former school for the deaf.
Street secret: Did you know there is a knighted penguin at Edinburgh Zoo? Sir Nils Olav was given the honour from the Norwegian Guard in 2008 because of his outstanding service and good conduct.
Stay: The Dunstane Houses, 4 West Coates. For an elegant country house feel combined with a boutique hotel experience, these two Victorian townhouses are bound to please. With 35 cosy and stylish bedrooms spread across the Dunstane House & Hampton House, the influence of Orkney will strike guests straight away. The hotel’s owners hail from the isles just north of the Scottish Mainland.
9. The Shore, Leith
This trendy area has been through a lot of changes in the last century. It became an official part of Edinburgh in 1920, and Leith was catapulted into the spotlight by Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. You’ll find great bars, restaurants and waterfront spots to enjoy here.
Street secret: The first bottles of fiery Dutch Jenever were traded into the Port of Leith. Leith’s dockside location allowed for easy access to raw materials and exotic spices, as the Scots traded with the Dutch in exchange for wool and other supplies. Leith is also thought to be a pathway for pirates at the time too!
Stay: Malmaison Leith, 1 Tower Place (1 min from The Shore) – Wake up inside a fabulous hotel after a night out exploring Leith. With French-inspired cuisine, cocktail bar and stylish rooms, a relaxing stay in one of the city’s coolest areas is all yours! Keep an eye out for great deals on rooms and dining.
OR… Fingal, Alexandra Dock (5 min walk from The Shore). For a luxury option you’ll never forget, book a stay onboard Fingal, a ship that has made her final destination on the Leith Waterfront, with 23 cabins, sun deck and all the glamour and style of a superyacht.
10. The Royal Mile
A wander down the cobbled Royal Mile, or High Street, is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the Old Town and its magical vibe.
Street secret: The Heart of Midlothian outside St Giles’ Cathedral is the site of a former prison where executions were carried out – it is now traditional to spit on it for good luck!
Stay: Cheval Old Town Chambers, Roxburgh Court, 323 High Street. Weave down a quiet lane off the Royal Mile and it might surprise you to find these chic luxury spaces. The Old Town Chambers offers a few options: a choice of spacious studio apartments, a 15th century townhouse tucked away on Advocate’s Close and glamorous penthouses overlooking the capital. Indulge in lavish breakfasts or dine-in boxes, supplied by the Edinburgh institution and merchant Valvona & Crolla.
11. Bruntsfield Place
Bruntsfield has a real neighbourhood feel even though it’s only a few minutes from the city centre, and overlooks a lush leafy green space, Bruntsfield Links. This was once home to several golf clubs, the oldest being the Royal Burgess Club which traces its roots back to 1735.
Street secret: Many moons ago, outlaws and Edinburgh outcasts made this area their home. It was not a place to be caught after dark, but the Scottish nobility once used it for their hunting ground, when deer and wild boar were plentiful.
Stay: The Black Ivy Hotel & Restaurant, 4 Alvanley Terrace (3 min walk from Bruntsfield Place over Links). A boutique hotel specialising in local luxury, with lovely rooms, stunning decor, seasonal menus and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Explore Edinburgh with our itineraries: