Famous for its festivals, cobbled streets and castle, Edinburgh - or Auld Reekie as it's known to locals - is a small city with a big vibe. Although the city swells in numbers each August as the tourists flock in, its compact size and artistic feel makes it the idea student city.
Edinburgh University has the main union with a great bar and good prices, while student friendly pubs like The Chanter and Scream pub The Tron sell cards offering £2 drinks and other deals. Most clubs have student deals and cheap drinks are normal for the weekend at city centre clubs like The Hive and student favourite Cabaret Voltaire, while George Street provides a more extravagant night. Also worth a trip is underground venue The Ark for some of the best live music in Edinburgh.
Try Princes Street for your usual H&Ms, Primarks and other high-street shops as well as the Princes Street Mall. Further out, the Ocean Terminal has its own shopping complex and cinema. For something a bit different, try the Bruntsfield and Grassmarket areas. Particularly quirky favourites include Hannah Zakari's craft shop and Deadhead Comics.
Edinburgh can surprise you with something like Thai Lemongrass, a family owned restaurant quickly turning into a national chain. For a special occasion (or visit from the parents), head to The Grain Store on Victoria Street near the Royal Mile. It's not cheap, but well worth it for tradtional Scottish produce. Of course chip shops reign supreme, and Globetrotter and Concorde are two especially good places in central student areas. Always useful for filling up without passing the £5 mark.
Some are happy to just go the 60 miles to Glasgow’s SECC for the big gigs, but the Edinburgh Playhouse and Murrayfield also pull in the big names. Clubs such as the HMV Picturehouse and Cabaret Voltaire host smaller gigs. Edinburgh is a cultural hub and has many museums, galleries and cinemas. Head over to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Arts to find out who's pushing the boundaries. Alongside major cinemas, the independent Cameo, Dominion, and Filmhouse provide all that a student could ask for.
Student accommodation in Edinburgh isn't cheap, with rooms in shared houses averaging around £250-£300 at the lower end. Popular areas for students to live include the South Side, the New Town and the large arc to the south and west of George Street, including Tollcross and the pricier Marchmont. Like most of central Edinburgh, expect accommodation in these areas to be flat-based. If you're looking for a house, you'll be searching around the suburbs, which are a 25 minute journey into town.
Home to four major universities and the cultural hub of Scotland, Edinburgh is a remarkable place. The city has plenty to keep you entertained, whether it's arts and literature or drinks and bacchanalia.
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