Moving to Edinburgh
An overview of Edinburgh
Edinburgh is Scotland's hilly capital. Its Medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town sit snug in the centre of the city, with its 11th-century castle towering over the buildings. The streets are lined with quirky independent shops and restaurants, and the city really comes to life during the night time – especially during the summer, when Edinburgh is taken over by The Fringe Festival.
However, if it’s peace and quiet you’re seeking, there are also plenty of cute cafes and peaceful parks to hide away in.
If you’re thinking about moving to this captivating capital, you’ll see that it only takes a step away from the tourist traps to find the real city that its 524,930 residents call home.
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The cost of moving to Edinburgh
The cost of moving to Edinburgh will vary from person to person. Mainly, the cost will depend on two key factors: where you’re moving from, and how much stuff you’re moving. If you are looking to move the contents of a three-bedroom house (roughly 875 cubic metres of stuff) from London to Edinburgh, you should expect to pay roughly £1,533. This fee includes:
- Packing services/materials
- Dismantling/reassembling of furniture
- The fee for distance travelled
The drive from London to Edinburgh is around 402 miles, and most removal companies charge £1 per mile. (Source: comparemymove, 2020).
The amount of money you’ll end up paying for the move will also depend on the removal company you hire, your moving date, and whether you opt for any supplemental services, such as packing and assembly.
Cost of living in Edinburgh
Similarly, the cost of living varies from person to person. Like any other city, the price of property, council tax, and sometimes even food in Edinburgh will fluctuate, depending on the neighbourhood you settle on.
To give you a rough idea of how much money you’ll be spending, we’ve outlined prices for a few food and entertainment items below:
|12 large eggs||£2.47|
|1kg of local cheese||£4.64|
|A loaf of bread||£1.22|
|Good quality red wine||£8|
|Basic dinner out for two||£34|
|2 tickets to the cinema||£19|
|A pint of beer||£4.82|
Data from Expatistan
Bills in Edinburgh will also fluctuate, depending on your lifestyle – if you’re a bit trigger-happy with that pesky thermostat during the chilly months, expect a slightly more expensive bill than normal.
Your electricity bill, on the other hand, might be a pleasant surprise. According to NimbleFins, the average cost of electricity in Edinburgh is 17.8p/kWh, which is slightly cheaper than the UK average of 18.75 p/kWh.
Council Tax in Edinburgh
As for council tax? How much you pay depends on which band your house is in – in Edinburgh, this varies from £892.39 – £3,279.55 per year.
Property prices in Edinburgh
Currently, the average price for a property in Edinburgh is £303,243. In terms of property types, flats are likely to cost an average of £236,268, whereas a terraced house will be a bit pricier at £390,678.
So, if you’re moving to Edinburgh from somewhere in the south of England, you might be looking at similar property prices – or even better! For comparison, buying a house in London will put you back roughly £666,264, whereas Manchester will only cost you £200,069 – think of Edinburgh as a nice middle ground.
Considering renting instead? The average asking rent price in Edinburgh currently stands at £1,451 per month, which sits nicely in the middle ground between the north and south of England. Plus, considering 75% of buildings in Edinburgh are listed properties, we wouldn’t say that’s too bad.
Can you still move to Scotland in lockdown?
Thankfully, we’re still able to move house within the UK during the lockdown. In fact, now might be the best time to move, with UK house prices predicted to fall by up to 5% in 2021 – fuelled by rising unemployment and the end of the government’s stamp duty holiday.
Of course, you should take necessary precautions whilst moving, in order to avoid spreading the virus. The UK government advises that people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house, unless absolutely necessary.
As for viewings? These are also still going ahead, but will be following the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.
For anyone unable to meet face to face – or feeling too uncomfortable to do so – you’re in luck, since many estate agents are offering services online. Viewings can now be done virtually, properties can be vacated during viewings, and properties will be thoroughly cleaned before someone else moves in.
The government website also suggests that, if you are about to enter into a legally binding contract, you should discuss the possible implications of COVID-19 with a legal professional to avoid any risky promises.
When it comes to crossing the border between Scotland and the rest of the UK, the rules become even tighter. Thankfully, the Scottish government has stated that one of the exceptions for crossing the border is for “moving home (including viewing a property), or for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for.”
Public transport in Edinburgh
Since Edinburgh is quite a compact city, you should be able to get around easily on foot most of the time. If you’re unable to do so, or want to avoid scaling the notoriously hilly streets, you have a few other options.
- Buses – The city has a very useful bus service that runs throughout the day and night, including a regular 24-hour service to Edinburgh Airport
- Trams – The tram system runs 14 kilometres through Edinburgh – from York Place in the city centre to Edinburgh Airport – in roughly 35 minutes. It’s wheelchair accessible (ramps and lifts are provided at the stops along the route) and wifi friendly
- Taxis – With over 1,000 black cabs trawling the streets of Edinburgh, you’ll be able to hail a taxi at most times of the day and night. The majority of taxis can carry up to five passengers, and are wheelchair accessible
Working in Edinburgh
According to Total Jobs, the average salary in Edinburgh is £20,536 – far lower than the UK average of £30,800. This may sound like a lot less, but thanks to the cheaper living costs in some areas of Edinburgh, it balances out nicely.
If you’re hoping to work in Edinburgh, there are a lot of industries to choose from. The largest employer in the capital is NHS Lothian with over 20,000 employees, followed by Edinburgh City Council with 19,000 staff, and the University of Edinburgh with around 12,000 employed across its campuses.
The largest private sector industry in Edinburgh is financial services. Some of the city’s largest employers include the Lloyds Banking Group, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Standard Life, and Scottish Widows – combined, these four companies employ around 30,000 workers in the city.
With over 1,500 hotels and restaurants in the city, tourism is another major industry in Edinburgh. In fact, as much as £3.5 million is generated by the tourism industry in Edinburgh every year – around a quarter of the Scottish total.
The city is also one of the largest scientific centres in Scotland, and as a result, is home to a large number of medical and pharmaceutical companies on the outskirts of the city centre.
The best neighbourhoods in Edinburgh to live in
- Stockbridge – Stockbridge’s pretty pockets of greenery and charismatic cobbled streets would be enough to win anyone over. Here, you can stroll down Georgian streets, lined with a plethora of traditional pubs and restaurants – all just a stone’s throw away from Princes Street, the high street hub.
- Bruntsfield – Located just outside the city centre, this neighbourhood is perfect for anyone wanting a mixture of the city-life buzz and a quiet neighbourhood. Plus, with The Meadows practically round the corner, you’ll have lots of green space to explore. Get ready to bask in the mildly warm sunshine that the Scottish summer has to offer.
- Leith – Before you picture the Trainspotting-era Leith, hear us out. Over the past decade, this neighbourhood has undergone a huge transformation – without losing any of its local character. If an afternoon of strolling along the port and popping into local independent stores sounds right up your alley, Leith’s for you. It's also fast become one of the best places to buy property in Edinburgh – mainly thanks to its affordability.
What's Edinburgh like?
“There’s something truly magical about Edinburgh – if it’s not the electric vibe whilst walking amongst fellow festival-goers in the summer, it’s the snow-laden Christmassy vistas in the winter. And while the property remains pricey in the city, Edinburgh flats have so much charm and character to them – making the price totally worth it, in my view. There's also a plethora of amazing shops to explore – you’re sure to find a new-found treasure on every corner.” – Beth, from Shropshire
Things to do in Edinburgh
Explore Edinburgh’s nightlife
Edinburgh’s nightlife scene is a unique blend of old and new – if you’re on the hunt for a traditional pub, head on down to Old Town, whereas the trendier, more modern bars are mostly situated next door in the New Town area. If it’s a relaxed pint in the sun you’re after, the courtyard at Three Sisters will have just the vibe you’re looking for. Alternatively, if you’re itching for a post-pandemic night out, we recommend you make your way over to Hive, Why Not, or Cabaret Voltaire.
Edinburgh is rich in history and culture, which means you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to sightseeing. Explore all the nooks and crannies of Edinburgh Castle, hike your way up to Arthur’s Seat, or climb the 287 steps of Scott Monument.
Take a day trip to the beach
Edinburgh sits right on the coast of Scotland, and is home to a handful of beautiful beaches. During the summer months, you can catch a train to Portobello – a gorgeous, traditional seaside suburb, which is only three miles away from the city centre. Just a heads up, though – you might want to bring a jumper.
Check out all the galleries
From oil paintings to abstract installations, Edinburgh’s galleries have it all. The Scottish National Gallery is home to one of the best collections of fine art in the world, displaying masterpieces by the likes of Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Monet. Photography gallery Stills has made a name for itself in the city over the years, hosting thought-provoking exhibitions since 1977. And over at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, you can experience (and take part in) over 100 illusions.
Dip into some local delicacies
There are so many restaurants, cafes, and bars to try in Edinburgh. But if you’re moving to Auld Reekie, it’s a rite of passage to try at least some Scottish cuisine. We’re talking haggis and tatties, black pudding, and (of course) deep-fried Mars Bars.
Push your way through the sweaty crowds at The Fringe Festival
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world's largest arts festival, which in 2018 featured more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues. The streets during the festival might well be crowded, but there’ll be something to entertain everybody, whether it’s a comedian doing standup, a children's performance, or even a glimpse of the world’s most pierced lady. And of course, it wouldn’t be the Edinburgh Fringe without a street performer on every corner!