The basics
THE UK: Destination Guides

City guide: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Learn all about Edinburgh, famous for its annual Fringe festival, and why you should study there...


What is Edinburgh like?

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is very famous for its festivities all year long. At least 13 million people visit every year to admire the amazing views this city has in store for them. The city also welcomes a student population of over 62,000 every year. Situated alongside a setting of grandiose architecture, the city of Edinburgh is wonderful, secure and compact, where you’ll find almost everything in walking distance - creating an ideal environment for students.


The old city of Edinburgh has history lurking at every corner. Tall-pointed Georgian and Victorian stone buildings scale steep winding streets all throughout the old town of Edinburgh. Many tourists flock to the Royal Mile which stretches from Edinburgh Castle to the Holyrood Palace. Culturally rich pubs and shops with their famous shortbread cookies and haggis, line the entire mile including famous landmarks like St. Giles Cathedral and Scottish parliament. Traditionally dressed bagpipers perform on the Royal Mile creating an authentic Scottish experience as a faint bagpipe can be heard just about anywhere.


Like most of Scotland, Edinburgh has a temperate maritime climate which is relatively mild despite its northerly latitude. Winter daytime temperatures rarely fall below freezing and are milder than places such as Moscow and Newfoundland which lie at similar latitudes. Summer temperatures are normally moderate, rarely exceeding 22 °C.



What can you do in Edinburgh?

There are an abundance of activities in Edinburgh:  you get to experience the largest, most influential arts, comedy and performance festival on the planet, the annual ‘The Fringe Festival’ which runs throughout August. International seasonal festivals ensure that there is always something happening and that all tastes are satisfied.


The Scots are known for the sport of golf. Try it and see if you’re a Tiger Woods-in-the-making. With world-renowned courses like St. Andrews, it is worth a try while in Edinburgh.


Climb Arthur’s Seat and revel in the unrivalled views from this ancient volcano as you get the full view of Edinburgh, 251m high.


Even more incredible views await you along with a look at Scotland’s crown jewels and precious artefacts at the Edinburgh Castle.


If you’re a Harry Potter fan, Edinburgh was J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for her work. You can take a walk through the cemetery where she got her character names from, the street that Diagon Alley was based off of, the school Hogwarts is modelled after, and the cafe where she started the entire series.


Edinburgh hosts the largest New Year’s Eve party each year, Hogmanay with music performances from some of the biggest music artists and other events in the countdown until midnight.



Where can you study in Edinburgh?

  • The University of Edinburgh is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and is ranked seventeenth in the world.
  • Heriot-Watt University lies on 380 acres of beautiful parkland and was established as the School of Arts of Edinburgh in 1821.
  • Queen Margaret University was founded as a school of cookery and domestic economy for women but has since grown and absorbed many different colleges.



Read more:

Scottish universities have seen an increase in the number of applications from non-UK students in 2012, according to UCAS. Find out why Scotland is such a great destination for students.

Another famous destination in Scotland is Aberdeen; find out more about what this city has to offer.

Learn more about the UK education system and how to apply to study in the UK.


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About Author


Alyson Blech recently graduated with degrees in Public Relations and Media Studies, along with minors in Journalism and Art History from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Alyson has lived in Iowa her entire life, but decided to cross the pond to gain internship experience in London, England. In her spare time she obsesses over dogs, pizza and zumba.


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