Best Places to Stay in Edinburgh (Old and New Town)

Where to stay in Edinburgh – Old Town or New Town

This complete guide will help you to decide where to stay in Edinburgh, Scotland in 10 minutes. It will show you the best areas and places to stay (including recommended hotels and apartments).

Where to stay in Edinburgh – Old Town or New Town

Edinburgh is not only the capital of Scotland, but it’s also one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The city became a capital of Scotland in 1437. Its nickname, Auld Reekie (Old Smoky), comes from the constant burning of coals and wood in the city’s homes.

To see the best of the city, follow this itinerary for 3 perfect days in Edinburgh. It covers all the must-see sites including some awesome places for breakfast and dinner.

Edinburgh has a very distinctive look because of its dark sandstone buildings. The city is a wonderful mix of medieval, Victorian and Georgian architecture.

Where I stayed

During my trip to Edinburgh, I stayed near Calton Hill. I chose this area because it’s close to everything. It’s right between the Old and the New Town. Plus, Waverley Station is at walking distance. And after dinner, you can easily go and watch the sunset from Calton Hill (don’t miss it).

My favourite hotel in this area is Apex Waterloo Place. What I love about the hotel is that the rooms are fantastic with superb amenities. Plus everything is within reach.

If you plan a lot of day trips, I totally recommend staying near Waverley Station.

Most booked hotel in Edinburgh

In a hurry? Looking for a great hotel with a perfect location and a good rating?

Then check out Radisson Blu – it’s the most booked hotel.

Radisson Blu Hotel – Best for families and couples

9.0/10 Rating – See hotel images and 4,590+ guest reviews
Radisson Blu is centrally located in the heart of the Royal Mile, just a short walk from all main sites. Plus, the hotel features an indoor swimming pool, private parking and a bar.
Location: 600m from the castle Facilities: Spa and wellness centre, private parking on site Guests love: great facilities

The best area to stay in Edinburgh for tourists

Edinburgh City Centre consists of the Historical Old Town and the New Town. They are separated by the Princes Street Gardens and are at a walkable distance from each other. So, the main question is: Where to stay in Edinburgh for sightseeing – Old Town or New Town?

The Old Town is a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets stretched along the famous Royal Mile. Here you’ll find the most famous city’s attractions. The area still keeps the medieval spirit of the city. Thus, if you want history, go for the Old Town.

The New Town features neoclassical and Georgian architecture. Most of the buildings are from the 18th and 19th centuries. The area is full of sophisticated designer shops, antique shops, chic bars and restaurants. If you search for shopping and dining, choose the New Town.

However, for me, the best place to stay in Edinburgh for sightseeing is the Old Town, near the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is the main street that connects two royal residences – the Castle and Holyroodhouse.

Don’t forget to buy tickets for Edinburgh Castle in advance (the lines are very long).

This was the heart of medieval Edinburgh. Thus you can imagine that all the important buildings were constructed around the Royal Mile. Small alleyways and courtyards (called closes) extend the main street. You can’t make a single step without running into a famous landmark.

If you stay on the Royal Mile, you’ll able to reach the most famous attractions by foot within 10-15 minutes. No matter if you’re visiting the city for a weekend getaway or a longer trip, the Old Town is the best possible choice. Find a map of the best areas here.

Choose the Old Town of Edinburgh

If you want to be in the very heart of the city and close to everything. This is the best area to stay in Edinburgh if you are visiting the city for the first time.

Highlights
  • All the must-see sites are here: the Royal Mile, the Castle, St Giles’ Cathedral, Greyfriars Kirk, Holyrood Palace and much more.
  • Waverley bus and railway stations are also here. This is very convenient if you are planning any day trips.
  • Some of the landmarks are illuminated at night. Thus a walk late in the evening in the Old Town is a great way to see the beauty of the city at night.
  • Victoria Street, one of the most beautiful streets in Edinburgh, is in the Old Town.

Edinburgh Castle

Recommended hotels near Edinburgh Castle

The best family hotels near the Castle

Radisson Blu Hotel – Most booked

9.0/10 Rating – See hotel images and 4,590+ guest reviews
Radisson Blu is one of the most booked hotels near Edinburgh Castle. Location is more than perfect – in the heart of the Royal Mile, just a short walk from all main sites. Plus, the hotel features an indoor heated swimming pool (child-friendly), sauna and steam room. The perfect base to explore Edinburgh for families.
Location: 600m from the castle Facilities: Spa and wellness centre, private parking on site Guests love: great facilities


Fraser Suites – Closest to the castle

8.6/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,960+ guest reviews
Fraser Suites combines a homely atmosphere with a top location – only 350m away from the castle and just steps down to Waverley. Every room is equipped with a kitchenette, so you can easily make your own coffee, tea or snacks. Some of the rooms feature amazing city views.
Location: 350m from the castle Facilities: WiFi, iPod dock, 24-hour front desk Guests love: location and city views

The best couple hotels near the Castle

Apex City – Best rated

8.9/10 Rating – See hotel images and 3,280+ guest reviews
The Apex City Hotel is situated 200m away from the castle. It’s a perfect base to explore the city as you can walk anywhere. In addition, location is convenient for the transport links at Waverley Train Station.
Location: 200m from the castle Facilities: WiFi, private parking on site Guests love: location, good breakfast


ibis Centre Royal Mile – Most booked

8.8/10 Rating – See hotel images and 3,370+ guest reviews
Ibis South Bridge Hotel offers a central location at a great price. Rooms are quiet and comfortable, a typical size for the city. The breakfast features organic and free-range food. Plus, there is a 24-hour bar!
Location: 500m from the castle Facilities: WiFi, restaurant, 24-hour front desk Guests love: location, professional staff

Luxury hotels near Edinburgh Castle

Radisson Collection Royal Mile  – Most booked

9.0/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,580+ guest reviews
Radisson Collection Royal Mile is a modern 5-star hotel, less than 250m away from the castle. The spacious rooms feature classic Scottish design and striking views of the city. The restaurant on site offers excellent gluten-free choices.
Location: 250m from the castle Facilities: WiFi, private parking on site Guests love: exceptional staff


The Witchery by the Castle – Closest to the castle

9.4/10 Rating – See hotel images and 290+ guest reviews
The Witchery by the Castle is one of the most lavish hotels in the city. Located only 50m away from the castle, this 5-star hotel features unique luxurious rooms. If you look for a special place to stay with your loved one, don’t look further.
Location: 50m from the castle Facilities: WiFi, restaurant on site Guests love: opulent themed rooms

Apartments in the Historic Old Town

Old Town Chambers – Most booked

9.4/10 Rating – See apartment images and 1,400+ guest reviews
5-star luxury serviced apartments that offer a home-from-home experience. Location is more than ideal – right next to the Royal Mile.
Location: 400m from the castle Facilities: WiFi, public parking nearby Guests love: attentive staff, boutique apartments


No. 1 Apartments – George IV Bridge

9.2/10 Rating – See apartment images and 510+ guest reviews
These stylish apartments are next to the famous Harry Potter’s birthplace – The Elephant House. Easy access to the castle and the Royal Mile.
Location: 400m from the castle Facilities: WiFi Guests love: convenient location




Booking.com


Royal Mile

Hotels near Edinburgh Waverley Station

Waverley Station lies between the Old and the New Town. If you’re planning to explore Scotland by train, this is the perfect location.

Planning a trip to Stirling Castle or the Highlands? Then see how to get there in the article about the most popular short trips from Edinburgh.

Check out these hand-picked hotels near Waverley Station to find the place for you. All of them are located less than 5 minutes away from the railway station.


The Scotsman Hotel – Best for families

8.8/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,780+ guest reviews
The hotel is just a few steps away from Waverley Station. The elegant 19th-century building of the hotel features modern and spacious rooms.
Location: 50m from Waverley Facilities: WiFi, restaurant on site Guests love: spacious rooms, responsive staff


Motel One Princes – Best for couples

9.2/10 Rating – See hotel images and 4,600+ guest reviews
Motel One Princes overlooks the beautiful Princes Street Gardens. Its design combines sumptuous candelabras with velvet furniture. The second-floor bar reveals amazing views of the famous Princes Street.
Location: 160m from Waverley Facilities: WiFi, 24-hour front desk Guests love: stylish rooms


Motel One Royal – Most booked

9.0/10 Rating – See hotel images and 6,850+ guest reviews
The motel is not only close to Waverley Station but also just a few blocks away from the Royal Mile. It’s the ideal choice if you search for a place near the station, yet close to all attractions.
Location: 150m from Waverley Facilities: WiFi, 24-hour front desk Guests love: comfortable rooms, central location

Old Town

The best place to stay in Edinburgh for nightlife

Both the Old and the New town have main nightlife areas. It all depends on what are you looking for.

Looking for nice spots for dinner? Then check out the best places to eat in Edinburgh. This food guide will show you where to try the best haggis and Scotch pie.

Cowgate and Grassmarket

Cowgate and Grassmarket in the Old Town are full of bars and pubs, as well as many restaurants all within walking distance. The area is great for large groups.


Apex Grassmarket Hotel – Most booked

8.5/10 Rating – See hotel images and 3,460+ guest reviews
The hotel is right in the middle of Grassmarket area and a just a few minutes walk to the Royal Mile. Close to many restaurants, pubs and supermarkets. Some of the rooms feature awesome views of the castle.
Location: on Grassmarket Street Facilities: WiFi, swimming pool, private parking on site Guests love: castle view, great pool

George and Rose Streets

George and Rose Streets are the main nightlife areas in the New Town. If you prefer fancier bars and gourmet restaurants, the New Town is the perfect place for you. The area is filled with trendy bars and designers stores.

As the name suggests this part of the city is newer than the Old Town. Yet, it is not quite new. The New Town is built around the 18th century and it is a splendid example of the Georgian architecture. It is a walkable distance from the Old Town. The area is also close to Calton Hill and Dean Village.


ibis Styles – Best rated

8.9/10 Rating – See hotel images and 2,810+ guest reviews
Overlooking at St Andrew Square, this hotel is a great base to explore the New Town. It’s close to restaurants, bars and the Edinburgh castle. The contemporary rooms feature traditional Scottish design.
Location: on St Andrew Square Facilities: WiFi, 24-hour front desk Guests love: helpful staff

Where to stay in Edinburgh at Christmas

Edinburgh turns into a medieval fairytale wonderland during the Christmas time. There are three main Christmas Markets – the Scottish Market on George Street, the European Market in the Mound Precinct and Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens. All of them are in or around New Town.

Also St Andrew Square hosts an oval ice rink. Thus if you are in the city for the Christmas markets, choose a place in the New Town.


Frederick House Hotel – Best for families

8.5/10 Rating – See hotel images and 3,070+ guest reviews
Located on George Street, this 4-star lovely hotel is centrally located to all Christmas markets. The elegant rooms are comfy and spacious.
Location: next to George Street Facilities: WiFi, 24-hour front desk Guests love: elegant rooms


Hotel Indigo – Princes Street – Best for couples

8.7/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,380+ guest reviews
Located next to the ice rink at St Andrew Square, this hotel is a great base to explore the Christmas Markets. The modern rooms feature high ceilings and original windows. It’s the perfect place to stay for a romantic Christmas in Edinburgh.
Location: next to St Andrew Square Facilities: WiFi, restaurant and bar Guests love: huge beds


The Principal – Luxury stay

9.1/10 Rating – See hotel images and 3,880+ guest reviews
If you look for a spacious and luxury room with a classical design, then Principal George Street Hotel is the place for you. Housed in a Georgian townhouse from the 18th century, the hotel offers everything you need for an unforgettable stay.
Location: on George Street Facilities: WiFi, bar and restaurant on site Guests love: excellent rooms, incredible staff

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About the author
Avatar Milena Yordanova
I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.

2 Replies to “Best Places to Stay in Edinburgh (Old and New Town)”

  1. We stayed at Apex City Hotel and we can’t wait to go back! It’s super central with parking – perfect for our short break. And the view of the castle from our room was simply gorgeous!

    1. Hi Teresa,
      I’m glad you had a great time in Edinburgh!

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