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A Student Travel Guide to Edinburgh


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As winter interminably drags on and Christmas feels like a distant memory, why not break the midterm monotony by travelling around the UK? In the aftermath of a dreary spell of January exams, what could be better than hopping on a brightly decorated megabus and going cross country?

Following a cold and exam heavy lurch into the New Year, I decided to celebrate the beginning of my final semester as an undergraduate. After a year abroad spent discovering the hidden gems of France and Spain, I wanted to see what Britain had to offer, so I chose to visit one of most iconic student cities, whose mountainous skyline has inspired countless love stories: Edinburgh.

Famous for the Fringe festival and its rich Celtic history, Edinburgh is an undeniable must-see but more than simply being a tourist favourite, it is also famed for its popularity with students in the UK and beyond. After spending a few days traipsing through its winding cobbled streets, I collated a list of the best student-friendly haunts the Scottish capital has to offer with the help of an Edinburgh student.

Bars, pubs and clubs:

Coupled with its stunning architecture, Edinburgh’s union (Teviot) offers an intimate setting and cheaper drinks. The union, built in 1889, is the oldest in the world and is also open to non-students hoping to enjoy a drink in its stylish Loft Bar or a meal in its restaurant, the New Amphion. Teviot also has its own night club venue for students in need of a night out, without wanting to splash out.

The Scottish capital has much to offer by way of bars: Dragonfly, Villager and Bar Kohl whose carefully crafted cocktails come in Alice in Wonderland style teapots.  For party bars, head to Bar Salsa or The Oz Bar.

If you fancy a pub experience in Edinburgh, The Cellar Monkey, The Southern and The Last Word are well worth a visit!

In terms of clubbing, few student cities can boast the varied night life on offer in Edinburgh. For cheap and cheesy fun, head to Hive, for a more sophisticated but perhaps more expensive clubbing experience, visit Bongo or Cabaret Voltaire (more commonly known as Cab Vol). El Barrio offers inexpensive drinks and a wide selection of Latino music.

Restaurants and cafes:

Edinburgh’s eclectic selection of eateries will certainly not disappoint: from the Ting Thai Caravan, Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight, The Mosque Kitchen for canteen food, Henderson’s for vegetarian food, to the Teviot for reasonably priced pizza and burgers, Edinburgh is teeming with restaurants for any palate.If you’re in need of a hangover cure following a heavy night in Hive, pay Snax a visit for a cheap and cheerful breakfast.

Craving gourmet tea and cake? Peter's Yard, Elephants and Bagels, Kilimanjaro Coffee and the charming Elephant House, where J.K Rowling penned Harry Potter, are not to be missed.

Vintage shopping:

Despite a wealth of tourist shops and chains, Edinburgh is also a veritable treasure trove for the veteran vintage shopper. The Frayed Hem is a gold mine of vintage goodies and it’s worth foraging in Armstrong’s to find hidden gems concealed amongst the clutter. It’s worth looking up vintage fairs before your trip to Edinburgh and make sure you don’t leave the city without heading down to Stockbridge, with its host of vintage and second hand book shops.


It’s impossible to think of Edinburgh without thinking of its spectacular castle that ominously overlooks the city from the Castle Rock. The castle has sheltered many Scottish monarchs such as Mary Queen of Scots and is steeped in an exciting history of conflict. Be sure to time your visit well to hear the clatter of the cannon at one o’ clock.

Edinburgh is also host to numerous museums such as The National Museum of Scotland, with its vast panorama of Scottish history, and art galleries that are generally free, such as the Scottish National Galleries that can be found across the city.

For fans of David Nicholls' One Day, St Arthur's Seat is definitely worth the 30-minute uphill walk, for its stunning summit views of the city below.

Make sure to find time to visit the Scottish Parliament to admire its quirky architecture and exhibits. 


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