Where first-year students in Edinburgh should live

PREPARING for university can be a hassle – especially when it comes to accommodation. Shopping around early for the best areas is recommended, writes Emma O’Neill

Students view a flat on Warrender Park Road in Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Finding a flat can be one of the biggest stresses for students going to university. They want a nice place for the best price – but also near suitable amenities.

Property manager Chris Chalmers, of DJ Alexander, knows most students want the best deals right in the centre of the city - but warns that these usually come by very rarely.

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Mr Chalmers said: “The best thing to do is shop around early. Most students start searching for the next year’s rental in January and February. If you start that early, you tend to find you have the pick of the market. Leaving it any later and you find that you’re picking from the best of a bad bunch. Most properties are let agreed by the end of February.”

Buccleuch Street, near Edinburgh University's Bristo Square. Picture: TSPL


Marchmont is a beautiful area next to the meadows and a 15 minute walk to the University of Edinburgh’s Bristo Square campus. It’s right in the thick of things, but that usually comes with an increased price tag. Being equidistant from both Edinburgh Napier and University of Edinburgh has put it high on the list of almost every student. Plus, its proximity to the city centre means that it has the best possible access to restaurants and pubs. Rooms in this area average around £120 per week, with most flats being four or more bedrooms.


Slightly further to the south of Marchmont is Morningside. Close to Edinburgh Napier, most of the homes here are in Victorian style - so expect to be sharing in big rooms with high ceilings. There are fewer pubs in this area, but an abundance of cafes for those morning hangovers might make up for that. The tree-lined streets, three miles from the city centre, make it a nice area to live in. And at an average of £95 per week, staying there won’t break the bank either.

The Shore, in Leith. Picture: Iain Sutherland


This is a popular area for students, being both near the University of Edinburgh plus the university’s Pollock Halls of Residence. It’s a five-minute walk to the main campus, and the high street is filled with shops and pubs, meaning you never have to venture too far out the door. Depending on how many people you’re comfortable sharing with, this can be a blessing or a hindrance. There are very few flats that have more than two bedrooms. Being a popular student area, you can expect to pay around £115 per week for a room.


Leith Walk has always had a bad name among some. But the area has been on the rise for a while, with most of the seafront having had a complete makeover. While it’s quite a bit away from the university campuses, the area has plenty of bus links that will ensure it’s no more than a 15-minute journey. Living in Leith will put you right on the doorstep of Ocean Terminal shopping centre, as well as a 24-hour Asda superstore – not to mention all the independent pubs and great restaurants in the area. The area has a lot of two and three-bedroom flats on offer, and at an average of £85 per month, it’s one of the cheapest areas to rent.


If you can find a flat in this gold dust area, don’t think twice before signing the contract. While a flat becoming available here is quite rare, it has been known to happen. Right in the heart of the city, you have your choice of pubs, resurants, and cinemas right on your doorstep. Prices are much better than you’d expect for this area, with a large five bedroom flat costing around £90 per room per week. The thoroughfare is a little smarter than it used to be, but it will still be noisy at weekends.