Pickin’ yer (collective) brains

If you’ve been to Edinburgh, where did you stay and would you recommend it? We’re looking at our first trip to Scotland and need suggestions. If you don’t want to post publicly about your experience but still feel like sharing, feel free to e-mail one or both of us.

11 thoughts on “Pickin’ yer (collective) brains”

  1. headbang8

    Edinburgh has a special place in my heart.

    Are you planning to go next year, for the Festival? I spent two months living in Edinburgh when I was a young man, as part of a theatrical troupe that took a revue to the Edinburgh Fringe. Needless to say, my experiences may be different from yours!

    We stayed in Leith, in dorm rooms at the Nautical College. It’s where they train merchant seamen. (No jokes, please)

    The place was popular with visiting bagpipe bands from around the world, attending the Tattoo. They would march onto the football field for practice at around 7.00 am. We were a comedy troupe, whose curtain didn’t rise until midnight, and we partied after that, so you can imagine this was a source of irritation.

    Edinburgh was built atyop an extinct volcano–where the castle is. In the 1700s, the old town atop the volcano was so crowded–and so difficult to service by the newly-emerging technology called railways–that they built the New Town below, with the Princes Gardens in between. Either is a great place to stay, but I favour the New Town, with its grand Georgian buidings.

    Because many visitors come for the Festival every summer, and stay for an extended period, there is an overabundance of apartments for rent on a short-stay basis. If you don’t mind spending £80 or so a night, you can pick up quite a nice 1-bedroom place in the low season. Many of them are in Georgian town houses, and the rooms have tall ceilings and grand proportions

    For example, here’s one in the New Town.

    and another, more expensive one

    and a cheaper one, better located

    Failing that, there are plenty of B&B’s in the burbs/countryside surrounding Edinburgh. For example

    Do a distillery tour while you’re there.

  2. Sam

    It’s been about 7 years since I was there regularly, but as a walking tourist, the best places to stay were any of the small ‘zimmer frei’s’ on Craigmillar Park. It’s not that far from the city center, castle, etc and the rates were great, at least half or less of the major chains. Of course, the cons are that these are all little family run bedsits and all have their particular ‘charms’. This can range from the shared bathroom per floor to an eternally inebriated older woman at the front desk. There are finer hotels nearer the city, but the prices increase the further you go in. Again, this is at least 7 years out of date.

  3. Sam

    The Northumberland Hotel was decent and is actually a full hotel, not the zimmer frei type. I can’t remember the names of the other ones because I always used to book nothing and then just wander through and see which one had a room available.

  4. cliff1976

    Hey, Sam and Headbang, thanks for the tips! We’re big on self-catering, where possible.

    We’re planning on going in about 6 weeks (bought the airfare today), so the festival you mentioned, HB8, is out of our scope. £80 is right up our alley. We’ll be reliant upon local public transportation, so the countryside is not really an option either. But if we like the looks of the town, we might come back next year with plans to rent a car and explore that, too.

  5. Sam

    Hi Cliff and Sarah,

    I just checked and the Northumberland quoted me a rate for a couple for 1 day next week at GBP37…. so if you are willing to take a taxi for the 1.6 miles to the city center, you could save a bundle and enjoy more of the fine dining in Edinburgh.

  6. cliff1976

    Wow, I guess they like you next week a lot better than they like us for four days in November. GBP460 is what they quoted me (GBP115 a night).

    You got dirt on the hotel management or something?

  7. Sam

    Hmm, seems to be something with your dates. I just looked at 4 days starting the 6th of November with their book online tool from their website and was quoted GBP225. Regardless, you should look for hotels in the area around their and up around ‘The Kings Buildings’ (It’s the University), those were always cheapest when I was there.

  8. CN Heidelberg

    We stayed at Ballantrae West End.
    We didn’t have any problems with it. It was convenient to the airport bus and we walked to the old town, although there were buses too.

  9. Dave

    I went to Scotland a few years ago. B&B’s were ubiquitous and (at that time) pretty cheap. When traveling outside Edinburgh, we found places based on signs in town, not pre-planning. (I don’t remember any names, though). Make sure to visit at least one Scotch distillery :-)

  10. Penny

    I lived there for 3 years in the late 90’s…. loved it…
    When you are there try and get to the comedy club on Georges steet…It makes a really lovely evening..although some of the acts are very new so can be a bit hit or miss…they also serve not bad snacks!
    Will talk to Chris and get some more ideas…he lived there for 7 years…..

  11. cliff1976

    Meine Güte! Lots of good ideas here — thanks, y’all!

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