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Sunday December 29, 2019

Where to live in Edinburgh: Students

Moving to Edinburgh as a student is one of the best decisions you could have made. With a student population of around 55,000, students make up just over 10% of the city’s population. This means you are well catered for in terms of amenities and with more purpose built Student Villages being built, your options for quality accommodation are growing year on year.

Edinburgh is a compact city, so chances are you won’t need to worry about public transport. Foot patrol and peddle power are the norm here which is great for your budget and a bonus for your health and wellbeing. A big driver for where you rent will be which of the three main Universities you are attending with each having more popular areas for their students based on access routes to the campuses.

An important thing to bare in mind is the length of your lease in Edinburgh. Student leases can either be for the full year or term times only, so excluding the summer months. As you know the Fringe festival is a massive money spinner for Edinburgh which makes term time leases a very attractive option to landlords so they are free to rake it in over August!

This may suit you if you plan on returning home over the summer but the problem with part leases is always what are you going to do with your stuff? Moving it all home just to move it all back can be a total pain so you could turn to one of the removal companies in Edinburgh who offer student moves and storage.

The removal company will collect your items, store them over the summer for a small fee and then drop them off to your new accommodation when you return in September. This is a service we offer so feel free to get in touch or check out our prices here.

So, without further ado let’s take a look at some of the most popular student areas.


When you think of student accommodation in Edinburgh the first place you think of is Marchmont. Right next to the Meadows and a stone’s throw from George Square campus, Marchmont is the perfect location for students wanting a shared flat in a peaceful and traditional setting.

Clean wide, open streets are dotted with some of the best deli’s, organic food stores and boutique shops in Edinburgh. Every street has a notable coffee shop and you are never more than 100m away from a metro supermarket. It really does have everything you need which is why it is also popular with a lot of young families giving this area a very youthful vibe.

When not studying the meadows are your playground where you will find many a BBQ sizzling in Summer, regular outdoor fitness classes and even a quidditch league…yes this one really does have to be seen to be believed!

Marchmont is dominated by students so you are never more than a few doors away from a house party, but at the same time it is predominantly residential so also offers tranquillity which makes it popular among older students needing to knuckle down in 3rd and 4th years.

Accommodation in Marchmont is Victorian and Edwardian tenements boasting generous proportions with large rooms and high ceilings. Be warned though as this traditional charm comes with a hefty price tag…energy bills. Large single glazed windows and no modern insulation means these flats are cold. So only live here if you are prepared to wear lots of layers or everyone in the flat agrees to pay their share of the heating bills!

Another thing to watch out for is a lot of canny landlords will have converted what would have been the living room into an extra bedroom. Nothing illegal in this but it does mean your only communal space will be the kitchen. While the kitchens are usually pretty massive, it’s not ideal so it pays to seek out one with the living room intact.


Av. rent for a 3 bed: £1,585pcm

Av. rent for a 4 bed: £2,254pcm

Ideal for: University of Edinburgh & Napier University students in later years


Newington shares a lot of similarities with Marchmont but is a slightly cheaper offering. Accommodation is still predominantly tenements, but they are a bit more tired and the area in general is not quite as picturesque as the wide and quiet streets of Marchmont.

In fact, quiet is probably the opposite of what Newington stands for! Sandwiched between the two main routes into the city and access to the hospital, there is a fairly constant soundtrack of sirens blaring. However, this just adds to the liveliness of the area with many trendy bars, pop up style restaurants and coffee shops lining South Clerk Street which means there is always somewhere to go.

Newington is right next to George Square campus and still has the meadows right on its doorstep with the added bonus of Arthurs seat on the other side. So, although it’s fairly lively, a quiet escape to the serenity of these valuable green spaces is no more than a two-minute walk away.

Being positioned on the main routes in from the South means transport links are fab. If you don’t fancy walking into town (only a twenty minute walk max) dozens of buses serve the route so you would never have to wait more than five minutes if that.

Alongside traditional tenement flats there are also some more modern 80’s built blocks along Causewayside that are a cost effective option. Yes, they are not pretty but with lower ceilings and proper insulation they are a hell of a lot cheaper to heat!


Av. rent for a 3 bed: £1,530pcm

Av. rent for a 4 bed: £1,900pcm

Ideal for: University of Edinburgh students in early years


Dalry offers cost effective, yet pretty central, student accommodation for those attending Heriot-Watt. It is serviced by the 25, 34 and 45 bus routes which are essential for getting to the out of town campus. Dalry is only a ten minute walk to the west end and fifteen minutes to the city centre so great for nights out and shopping.

It’s a predominantly residential area that for a long time was considered a little rough around the edges. However, as city centre properties become more expensive, Dalry has become a key market for first time buyers and investors which is all helping to improve the area.

It doesn’t have the charm of Marchmont or Newington but it does have a young vibe to it and is well placed for city centre amenities as well as all the eateries on Lothian Road and entertainment at Fountain Park.

Accommodation is traditional plain fronted tenements of smaller proportions than the likes of Marchmont which all contributes to lower rents and lower running costs.


Av. rent for a 3 bed: £1,475pcm

Av. rent for a 4 bed: £1,800pcm

Ideal for: Heriot-Watt students in all years

Leith Walk/Broughton

A growing student area is the top of Leith Walk and Broughton following several massive student developments that have brought boat loads of students to this neck of the woods.

It’s perfect if you prefer proximity to the shops and bars over the library and while it is an easily doable walk up to George Square, the main bus route from Leith Walk up to South Clerk Street means you won’t be waiting more than five minutes for a bus if you’re cutting it fine for a lecture.

Amenity wise you can’t really go wrong with the city centre five minutes away. There are metro supermarkets as well as full size supermarkets in the Tesco and Lidl in Broughton which gives you plenty pf options. And finally, you will be right next to the brand-new St James development that will knock this area out of the park! Reality is this landmark project will put up the prices of any accommodation in this area once finished so get in while you can, or cough up and pay for the privilege when that day comes.

This area is very popular with first time buyers and young professionals so has a quieter residential feel to it and reduces the concentration of students which makes it more suited to students in later years who have perhaps lived the old town/south side life and are focusing more on getting over the university finish line. Three bedroom properties are in abundance in this area so fairly well priced. However, four bedroom properties are harder to come by and tend to be fairly grand so work out an expensive option in this area.

Accommodation will be tenements that are of a similar or higher standard than Newington but without the grandeur or Marchmont.


Av. rent for a 3 bed: £1,410pcm

Av. rent for a 4 bed: £2,520pcm

Ideal for: University of Edinburgh later years

*all prices correct as of December 2019