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Moving to… Edinburgh

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Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most enchanting cities. It’s full of culture and history and is a popular tourist hotspot with more than three million visitors each year. But what’s it like for people living in the city affectionately nicknamed Auld Reekie? Edinburgh is a regular fixture in ‘top UK cities to live in’ polls, and anyone moving here will find a vibrant place full of life. 

Read on and find out everything there is to do and see in the capital of Scotland.

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A brief history of Edinburgh

The earliest settlement in Edinburgh was in 8,500bc when evidence of a Mesolithic campsite was found. It became the capital of Scotland in the 15th century, with the country joining the United Kingdom in 1706. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the city became an industrial centre and continued to grow in printing, brewing and distilling. 

Where is Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is located on the east coast of central Scotland, in Lothian on the southern shore of Firth of Forth. The city is nearby sprawling countryside, hills and coastline and is 45 miles from Glasgow and 93 miles to Aberdeen.

Moving to Edinburgh

The architecture in Edinburgh, which is reflected in the homes, is one of the city’s strong points. There’s an eclectic mix of housing, with neoclassical 18th-century terraces in the New Town and Georgian townhouses and 19th-century builds in Newington and the affluent Marchmont. 

Buying in Edinburgh

The average house value in Edinburgh is £343,060. However, paid prices are lower at an average of £310,917. Detached homes fetch in the region of £603,519, while terraced houses achieve £393,127, and a flat tends to sell for £246,588. Property prices have increased by 4% in the last 12 months and by 27% in the last five years.

There’s a varied selection of estate and letting agents in Edinburgh, with chain and independent options available to help you find a home. 

Renting in Edinburgh

One-bedroom homes rent for an average of £1,150 per month in Edinburgh, with two-bedroom properties fetching in the region of £1,500 per month. For larger homes, expect to pay an average of £1,900 per month.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Cost of living

If you’re moving to Edinburgh, you can expect to pay very slightly higher prices than the UK national average when it comes to everyday living. A meal for one person is around £15, while a cappuccino is about £2.80 and a pint of milk is £1. 

Utility bills, however, are lower in Edinburgh, with the average price around 143 per month for electricity, heating, cooling, water and waste disposal (UK average £155). Broadband is about £30 per month. 

Life in Edinburgh

Open spaces

Edinburgh is home to 32 parks, including scenic attractions like Princes Street Gardens and Holyrood Park. The city forms part of Midlothian county, which has plenty of countryside locations to explore outside Edinburgh.

Transport links

You will find excellent transport connections in Edinburgh, with Edinburgh Waverley the primary rail hub offering direct links across Scotland and the rest of the UK. Tram services are also available in the city, making it easy for you to get around. 


From luxury brands to high street stores, Edinburgh features many impressive shopping options. Princes Street, the Royal Mile and Victoria Street are some of the most popular shopping destinations, while St James Shopping Centre has all your retail needs under one roof. 


World-class cuisine is on offer in the city, giving residents and visitors an array of options. The Table has a unique concept where a single chef cooks modern European cuisine for just 10 people. Try Maison Bleue, an eclectic bistro with French, North African, and Scots dishes if you’re looking for something more traditional.


There’s a popular nightlife scene in Edinburgh with plenty of nightclub options, including Sneaky Pete’s, which offers a live music bar and dance club. Alternatively, head to one of the many pubs and bars dotted around the city.

Art & culture

Soak up the culture in Edinburgh with visits to the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Museum on the Mound, the National War Museum and the Museum of Edinburgh. 

Things to do

A visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse (the Queen’s official Scottish residence) is a must. Other landmarks include the enchanting Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town featuring cobbled streets, lanes and underground tunnels.

What’s not to like?

As one of the UK’s most vibrant cities and somewhere with a famous university and plenty of tourist attractions, Edinburgh probably isn’t suited to anyone looking for a quiet life. 

Who lives there?

Edinburgh has a population of more than 480,000 and a median age of 39. 

Typical broadband speeds

The average broadband speed is 77mbps in Edinburgh, which is even faster than the UK national average of 67mbps.

Crime rates

The overall crime rate in Edinburgh averages around 451 crimes per 10,000 people. 

Moving to Edinburgh?

Get a rounded opinion about the homes in Edinburgh with Move iQ’s property report, which provides an in-depth analysis of specific properties as well as details about the local area of Edinburgh.  All you need is a postcode to find out everything you need to know before you move!

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Last Updated: December 14th, 2021

Phil Spencer

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