Moving to Edinburgh: A Stashbee Moving Guide

Moving to Edinburgh, or just doing some research? Our guide contains the most important need-to-know information.
Moving to Edinburgh has long been the go-to choice people moving to Scotland. Once nicknamed "Auld Reekie" (Old Smokey), long gone are the days when Edinburgh was cloaked in coal and peat smog.

Now, people around the globe dream of moving to Edinburgh for its cultural history, events, education, economy, and natural beauty. Not to mention Scotch whisky.

Tempted? Or already decided? Let’s a closer look at what living in Edinburgh is really like.

Key Facts

  • Population - 548,000
  • Average salary - £33,000
  • Average house price - £323,701
  • Average monthly rent - £2,332
  • Main train station(s) – Edinburgh Waverley
  • Closest Airport – 8 miles
  • Average price of a pint of beer - £4.50

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Edinburgh Cityscape At Sunset

Finding a Place to Live in Edinburgh 

If you’re looking for bargain basement, sorry, but moving to Edinburgh city centre might be above your budget. The majestic Georgian housing that defines central Edinburgh is often priced at a premium.

That doesn’t rule out the many vibrant suburbs:
  • Granton, Trinity, Stockbridge and Leith on the north side
  • Portobello on the east side
  • Marchmont and Southside (large student populations due to the University), and Bruntsfield and Morningside on the south side
  • Dalry, Fountain Bridge, Gorgie and Polworth, which all have more affordable options for buying or renting, on the west side


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Is the Cost of Living High?

Given how desirable living in Scotland is, unsurprisingly it is not cheap to live in Edinburgh. So the cost of living is something to consider if you’re moving to Edinburgh.

Average property prices in Edinburgh in 2022 were £323,701 to buy or £2,332 per month to rent a house or flat. By comparison current UK averages are £296,000 to buy and £1,175 per month to rent. Ouch!

Council tax ranges from £919.17 to £3,377 in 2022-23, compared to the UK average at £1,493.

Edinburgh boasts many pubs, both new and old. On average, a pint will set you back £4.50 in Edinburgh. The UK average is £3.95, though Edinburgh still nowhere near London prices.

Colourful Edinburgh Street

Moving to Edinburgh for Work?

Global brand names like Amazon, Tesco, McDonald’s, PwC and JP Morgan are HQ-ed in Edinburgh.

There are also major employment opportunities in education, the health and social care services, local and national government, finance, hospitality, retail and tourism.

There’s no shortage of full time, part time, flexible, permanent and temporary job opportunities during high and low tourist seasons.


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Being a Student in Edinburgh

You’re not likely to be short on company if you’re moving to Edinburgh to study. It’s home to over 55,000 students across its six well-reputed HE colleges:
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Royal College of Surgeons
  • Scotland’s Rural College
The above average cost of living is perceived to be one of the main cons of being a student in Edinburgh.

Despite the cost, you can still have an unforgettable experience of university life and everything the city has to offer. Just make sure to take full advantage of the gigantic range of student discounts!

What are the Schools in Edinburgh Like?

The standard of primary, secondary and further education is high in Scotland’s capital.

Some of Edinburgh's schools rank amongst the best in the UK: Boroughmuir, George Heriot’s and St Mary’s Music secondary schools, and Fettes College.  

If you’ve got children of school age, you might want to check out schools before moving to Edinburgh.

The city operates a catchment area policy. This means that every child is given priority admission to a school closest to home. There’s nothing stopping you from applying to other schools further afield. That said, your child will be further down the queue than children who live closer.


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Scotland’s Cultural Heart

Edinburgh is home to some of the most striking architecture, impressive art galleries and museums, literary history, whisky heritage and performing arts festivals in the world.

When you live in Edinburgh, the spectacular sight of Edinburgh Castle on the skyline will never lose its wow factor. It’s no wonder it’s one of the UK’s most visited tourist attractions.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is known around the globe as a mecca of comedy. If you're visiting for the first time, it's well worth timing your visit to coincide with the festival.

Take a shopping spree down Princes Street and chill out with a wee dram on the Royal Mile. Moving to Edinburgh puts a whole wide world of tartan-clad possibilities on your doorstep. 

Edinburgh Castle

Experience the Great Outdoors

Are you more of a nature lover than a city slicker? Then moving to Edinburgh might just be the best thing you’ve done in years. It’s a luscious explosion of gardens, meadows, parks and verdant green space.

There are over 13,200 different types of flora at the Royal Botanic Garden, and a wide range of  cultural events hosted all year round.

Head to Holyrood Park for a climb up Arthur’s Seat. The awe-inspiring views when you get up there take in the entire city as far as the Firth of Forth. 

If you want to fill your nostrils with briny air and get some sand between your toes, head on over to one of the many beautiful nearby beaches: Portobello, Silverknowes, Cramond.

View Over Edinburgh

Is it Easy to Get Around on Public Transport?

The great thing about the city centre is that it’s completely walkable. So, you don’t actually need to use public transport for getting around centrally. You’ll be fine on foot or bike.

 Edinburgh Trams run a handy route between the city and the airport. First and Lothian Buses have got you covered in the city and the suburbs 24/7.

Edinburgh Waverley is the main train station for rail travel. Scotland meets the world at Edinburgh Airport, eight miles from the city centre. It’s a single terminal, but a very busy one

There you have it, an elementary guide to moving to Edinburgh. It’s not the cheapest option on the planet, but you’re guaranteed a priceless experience in many amazing ways.

If you think you might need storage when making your move to Edinburgh, take a look at the thousands of storage spaces available on Stashbee.

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Updated 13th Apr 2023

Written 10th Mar 2023