A Guide to Student Life in Edinburgh

A Guide to Student Life in Edinburgh

Posted in Student Experiences, Student Life on May 31, 2019 by

University Finder

If you’re unsure about where to spend your university years, torn between cities that each offer the promise of an exciting and inspiring experience, why not consider Edinburgh? A vibrant city, full of culture, activity and stunning scenery and home to a world class university. Here are some of the reasons why you should make Edinburgh your university city of choice.

The location

If you’re put off by travelling long distances, then there’s no need to worry. Great transport links offer easy access to Edinburgh on the East Coast Mainline, with the journey from London only taking 4.5 hours. Alternatively, it is easy to fly to Edinburgh from most airports in the UK, making it just a quick trip home in the holidays. Edinburgh is also ideally positioned near the beautiful Pentland Hills, the beach at Portobello and it is a great base for you to access the rest of stunning Scotland.

The scenery

Recently ranked ‘the most liveable city in the world', Edinburgh is packed with a fantastic mix of green spaces, higgledy-piggledy cobbled lanes and lively main streets, making it the perfect destination for those seeking a balance between tranquillity and the hustle and bustle of busy city life. The New Town and the Old Town offer a diverse mix of elegant Georgian architecture, old buildings and narrow alleyways, all set against the impressive backdrop of Edinburgh castle, perched atop a giant volcanic rock.

The universities

Edinburgh boasts a thriving student community and a variety of educational institutes. Whether you’re looking for academic repute, impressive career paths or working with esteemed specialists, Edinburgh will certainly be able to cater for you.

The University of Edinburgh offers around 500 degree programmes, so there is certainly plenty to choose from. Consistently ranked in the top 50 universities in the world and ranked the second-best student city in the UK, Edinburgh University is a prestigious institution to spend your student years. Outside of your degree, you can join numerous societies, from sports societies to the Gin Society, or even the Quidditch club.

Edinburgh Napier University places a significance on future employment and proudly offers schemes such as the Santander Universities SME Internship Scheme. The university also is working very hard to widen participation, it does everything it can to make education accessible, particularly supporting young carers and deprived postcode areas.

Edinburgh is home to another university – Henriot Watt. This university has three campuses around the city, with one being its renowned business school. The other two being engineering and applied sciences. Henriot Watt specialises in business, engineering and design, as well as the physical, social and life sciences. It is a top 350 worldwide university and a great place to be taught by leading academics at the forefront of their specialism.

Things to do

Edinburgh is steeped in history and culture and plays host to several exciting festivals throughout the year. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and of course, Hogmanay, are all emblematic of the city’s cultural heritage and the dynamic entertainment scene. For something less chaotic, climb Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill; they both boast gorgeous views across the city and surrounding countryside, and they are perfect spots to watch the sunset. Discover more about the history of the city by exploring Palace Holyroodhouse or take a tour of The Real Mary King’s Close.


Whilst Edinburgh might be home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is still a huge university city, so it knows how to have a good time. The nightlife scene in Edinburgh is a distinctive mix of both traditional and trendy. If you fancy something more chill, there is an endless selection of pubs and bars like Frankenstein and The Three Sisters, but if you’re looking for something more upscale, try Tigerlily or The Voodoo Rooms. Of course, there are countless clubs to suit every music taste; from live music at Sneaky Pete’s, to chart music at Lulu.

Food & Drink

Eating out in Edinburgh is a culinary delight, with an array of bars, cafés and award-winning restaurants. If you’re in need of a caffeine fix, why not try the coffee at Brew Lab for the perfect Flat White, or watch the world go by in the window seat of The Milkman. Edinburgh caters for all budgets and all tastes. In the evening, sample the cocktails at The Dome or dine at Dishoom or Ting Thai Caravan.

It is safe to say that Edinburgh has it all, so why not consider spending your student years in one of the most popular cities in the world.

  • By Bethan Clark