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Sunday December 29, 2019

Where to live in Edinburgh: Families

Once your family starts to grow and your first home is no longer practical, it’s time to start thinking about your next move. When it comes to buying a family home in Edinburgh there are three main considerations: How much space do you want (and will need in the future), how much can you afford and here’s the killer…which school catchment do you want to be in?

If you choose private schools the latter is less of an issue but for most it will be the key driver. You want to give your child the best start in life and with the quality of mainstream education varying so dramatically, your choice of postcode can be crucial.

The budget, and space you want, obviously go hand in hand but the best advice when moving to your first family home is to stretch yourself as much as you can to achieve the space you are going to need in 3 – 5 years’ time. Moving house is expensive in terms of fees, removals costs and stamp duty. On a family sized home in Edinburgh this could be considerable.
If you decide in 3 years time you don’t have enough space You will have to find tens of thousands extra for stamp duty alone on top of the purchase price for the larger property. So, try and push yourself and increase your budget to get that extra bedroom/ garden space or square meterage now because it will cheaper in the long run. You really want to avoid paying stamp duty twice, it’s dead money and doesn’t give you anything back.

When looking for a family home in Edinburgh you have a lot of options. This article features three exceptional areas that offer great schools, outdoor space, access to amenities and transport convenience. All three are a very worthy starting point in your search for the perfect family home in Edinburgh.


Morningside is a real jewel in Edinburgh’s crown. With an abundance of outdoor activities on its doorstep, or just a short ride away, it offers plenty to keep growing children entertained and active. This includes Hillend Ski slope, Blackford Hills, golfing and the Meadows. The dominion cinema, which is arguably one of the best independent cinemas in the country, will make family cinema trips a really special occasion and memories to cherish.

Morningside achieves a village feel whilst balancing a mix of high street names alongside independent boutiques, (plus a Waitrose!) on its lengthy main street. There’s not much it doesn’t cater for so amenity wise it can’t be faulted. Bus links are good to the city, but a real bonus is easy access to the bypass.

The main reason why moving to Morningside could be the best decision you make is because it is in the catchment area for Boroughmuir High School; the top performing state school in Edinburgh…by a long way. Boroughmuir is the 6th best performing school in the whole of Scotland with 71% of pupils achieving the equivalent of 5 or more Highers. To put that in perspective, the next best performing school in Edinburgh was Balerno Community High School with 53% achieving 5 or more Highers. So, there is quite a gulf between first and second.

As you can imagine state education of this calibre comes at a price and this is reflected in the property market. If you have a large budget a townhouse is an option here giving you the luxury of whole house living in the city with some outdoor space. However, large flats are also popular with ground floor commanding the highest premium due to garden access.
You could say in the life cycle of living in Edinburgh’s period properties you would start as a student in Marchmont, live your twenties and thirties in Stockbridge then move to Morningside with the Family! Each of these three areas share very similar identities and amenities so if you like what you like, you can have it all whatever your stage in life.


Flats: Average purchase price

3 bed: £488,286

4 bed: £577,000

5 bed: £ no data

Houses: Average purchase price

3 bed: £628,667

4 bed: £1,028,333

5 bed: £1,330,000


Lying to the north of the city centre, Barnton is one of the most prestigious and sought-after areas of Edinburgh. It is surrounded by open countryside and the close proximity to Cramond’s shoreline provides lots of opportunities for outdoor recreations. Amenity wise it is well served locally by shops at Davidsons Mains or for high street shopping, both the Gyle and Craigleith are exceptionally convenient.

It’s semi-rural and leafy suburb setting is very appealing to families who want the benefits of being close to the city but prefer more generous accommodation and plot sizes. Accommodation wise the area offers a choice of period villas, modern developments, bungalows, and one-off contemporary builds. So, something to suit all budgets and tastes.

Transport links to the Forth crossing means it is well suited for those needing to commute to Fife and beyond, while several main routes into the city centre via Ferry Road, Queensferry Road and Murrayfield provide good access to the north, east and west of Edinburgh.
Barnton is the catchment area for The Royal High School which came in as Edinburgh’s 4th best state school with 52% of pupils achieving the equivalent of 5 or more Highers. Although 4th best is perhaps a little deceiving given 3rd place also achieved 52% and the 2nd best was only 1% higher at 53%. You can see the full table at the bottom of this article for a clearer picture of this.


Houses: Average purchase price

3 bed: £465,636

4 bed: £560,778
5 bed: £800,000

*no flat purchases of this size registered in last 6 months


Corstorphine is a highly desirable residential area that has convenience in abundance. Edinburgh is not renowned for flowing traffic so being able to mitigate some of the commuting stress is priceless. Corstorphine provides easy access to the city centre via the west end, quick access to the M8, and direct access to the bypass for easier travel from west to east.

It has a thriving high street with a mix of known brands and local retailers, as well as the convenience of a huge Tesco and retail park just off the main road. Admittedly it’s not quite got the charm of say Morningside’s high street but then it also comes with a more affordable price tag for family living so all relative. The Gyle is a stone’s throw away offering even more retail convenience and we have to mention the proximity to the zoo for a fun family day out!

Corstorphine has a strong identity in terms of its accommodation with rows upon rows of traditional family villas, and a whole hillside of bungalows. The latter of which are now in huge demand and have become one of the fastest moving property types in Edinburgh! Corstorphine’s bungalows command a much higher price than the equivalent sized house so if you want one be prepared to act quick and bid high. As the demand for housing is a constant, Corstorphine is also benefitting from large residential developments on the outskirts which again provide another option for family living.

Education wise Corstorphine is in the catchment area for Craigmount High School which was the 5th best performing school with 51% achieving the equivalent of 5 or more Highers.


Houses: Average purchase price

3 bed: £329,030

4 bed: £470,647
5 bed: £513,000

*no flat purchases of this size registered in last 6 months
**average property prices based on previous 6 months registered sales data, rental prices correct as of Dec 19

2019 School Results Table

Below is the full 2019 results table for all state secondary schools in Edinburgh. This information will help you determine which areas to focus on when moving to Edinburgh, or within this great city.

Once you’ve determined which schools you want to target the simplest way to search for properties is via the ‘Search by school catchment’ tool on ESPC’s website. Simply enter the name of the school and you can then view all the available properties within the defined catchment area. Although it is worth noting that you should always check with the school/ local authority on the catchment area before making any purchase on the basis of this tool.

Man With a Van Edinburgh Ltd have been moving the residents of Edinburgh for nearly 20 years. If you would like a free removals appraisal please get in touch.