Time Out lists Edinburgh as the best city to visit in the world, but do us Edinburgers agree?

This week, Edinburgh made it to number one on Time Out’s annual list of best cities to visit in the world.

Greyfriars Bobby Pic: Ian Rutherford
Greyfriars Bobby Pic: Ian Rutherford

On the travel guide’s list of 53, number two was Chicago and Colombia's Medellin was at three, with Glasgow coming in at four. Last year’s number one was San Francisco.

To reach this decision, they surveyed over 20,000 people globally, and 2022’s focus was on nightlife, art and food and drink, among other things. That’s in contrast to the pandemic themes of community spirit and resilience of the last two years.

Thus, we can expect more people taking selfies on Circus Lane, polishing Greyfriars Bobby’s nose to see if the doggy genie will appear, trying to find Dean Village, and queuing outside Mary’s Milk Bar. We will NEVER get to experience their smoked paprika and peanut butter gelato now.

ST Giles Cathedral Pic Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Mustn't complain. We signed up by living in the best city.

We crunched our own numbers to decide if we agree with their findings.

1 95 per cent of those surveyed by Time Out thought the city was beautiful. We concede. Of course, our UNESCO World Heritage Site is more than just the beautiful and atmospheric Old and New Towns, the sweep of Victoria Street, St Giles’ Cathedral at dusk, bohemian Stockbridge and the vista from Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat. We also have some increasingly questionable architecture, with a few rather ugly student flat blocks and new complexes like Haymarket Edinburgh that are, post lockdown, being built faster than even the Doozers on Fraggle Rock could muster. And let’s just sweep the Golden Turd under the rug. Or flush it. Whatever.

2 Apparently, 93 per cent of residents in the Time Out survey described the city as walkable. That’s very true, and that, along with all the hills, is the reason that Edinburgers have buns that are as hard as girders. If you are a cyclist, you will know this better than most. Pedalling up The Mound is worse than doing Mont Ventoux. Making it as far as Makars Gourmet Mash Bar deserves the yellow jersey. Also, we love Lothian Buses, even if the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will mean total gridlock and sweating and cursing while sitting on a number 27 for hours.

Rainbow over Dean village in Edinburgh, Scotland

3 Food and drink. As part of the list, Edinburgh-based Time Out writer, Arusa Qureshi, wrote about the local food scene, with the following destinations mentioned: Eleanore, Bonnie & Wild, Ka Pao, Cocorico, Ocelot and the soon-to-open Port of Leith Distillery, as reasons to visit the capital. Excellent calls. There were a lot to choose from, as Edinburgh has the highest restaurant density than any other city in the UK. We also love newbies The Palmerston, Heron and The Spence at Gleneagles Townhouse. But so many oldies too. Don’t forget them.

4 Time Out were told that 88 per cent of locals said it was easy to ‘express who you are’ in the city. Indeed, we think it’s welcoming overall. Edinburgers put up with some pretty dire street acts on the Royal Mile. Anyone who can thole amateur juggling and card tricks deserves a sainthood.

5 We beat Glasgow. Does the old rivalry still exist? Nah. We’re just pleased that we can visit the fourth best city in under an hour.

Rainbow over Dean village in Edinburgh, Scotland
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