5 Top Tips for Student Life in Edinburgh

From how to get around the city to where to live, our guide for Edinburgh students covers all the essentials.

1. Getting around Edinburgh for students

Although Edinburgh is a hilly city, it’s easy to get around on foot or by bike.

The University of Edinburgh campus is reasonably close to the city centre, and Edinburgh Napier University’s campuses are no more than a short bus ride away.

If you need to take public transport, the Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses websites provide handy information on routes and timetables.

edinburgh student guide

2. Things to do for students

The Scottish capital is an exciting place for students – it’s historic, beautiful and there’s so much to experience there. Here are some of our top picks:

Tourist attractions

Some of the top cultural spots in the city include Edinburgh Castle, Scott Monument and Palace of Holyroodhouse – just to name a few!

Check out the THIS IS EDINBURGH website for more attractions.

Outdoor areas

Or if you prefer the great outdoors, there’s an inactive volcano in Edinburgh’s centre called Arthur’s Seat, which is 251 metres above sea level and offers great views of the city.

Also, check out the Meadows – a huge green space near the University of Edinburgh’s central campus. Perfect for those summer picnics!

edinburgh student guide


For arts lovers, Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival and is held every August. There are several must-visit galleries as well, such as the National Galleries Complex, the Portrait Gallery, and Modern Art One and Two.

3. Eating out on a student budget in Edinburgh

From fine dining to fried Mars bars – Edinburgh’s food scene caters to a variety of tastes.

Across the city you’ll find a diverse range of international eats that cater to different budgets. In fact, the city has more restaurants per head than any other UK city, with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.

Throughout the year there are a few great food festivals too – such as Foodies Festival (the UK’s biggest food festival), the Edinburgh Food Festival and the Edinburgh Vegan Festival. 

4. Shopping

Edinburgh covers also every shopping need – from affordable high street shops to designer outlets.

The main shopping district in Edinburgh is on Prince’s Street – most of the city’s main department stores, such as House of Fraser and Debenhams, can be found here.

You’ll also find a great selection of shops in Ocean Terminal, which is located on the shorefront at Leith Docks.

5. Where to live 

As a student-friendly city with great universities, there are a few areas across Edinburgh that are particularly popular with students.

Some of the best areas for students are Holyrood, North Edinburgh and Leith, Old and New Town, and Haymarket.

Looking for student accommodation in Edinburgh? Find and compare the best rooms with Student.com.