Whether youíre a first year in halls gearing up to start looking for your first flat or an experienced third year with two years of private accommodation already under your belt, hereís a quick guide to which area of Edinburgh is best for you.
Edinburgh has no shortage of student accommodation, with plenty of different areas to suit every budget and lifestyle. The one universal issue with student accommodation in Edinburgh is the lack of houses available, which means that itís pretty tricky to find any places with more than six bedrooms (and even those are few and far between). Itís a bit of a numbers game when trying to decide how big a flat youíre going to search for, and therefore which of your friends youíre going to live with! Iím always jealous of my friends at other universities who live in huge houses for ten, but, on the plus side, at least youíll always be close to the other three or four mates you live with (I think thatís a plusÖ!)
Studenty areas can be split up by their orientation with the Meadows. South of the Meadows are Marchmont and Bruntsfield. These areas are really popular with students, although thereís also a lot of young families (watch out for the pushchairs in the stairwell when youíre viewing a flat, they will NOT appreciate your parties waking their baby up every Friday night!). There are pros and cons to both these areas. Marchmont is closer to university and that extra ten minutes can mean everything in freezing January. Bruntsfield has more cafes and little boutiques (although you can only physically buy so much from so many card shops in one year) and is also closer to bigger supermarkets (Tesco and Waitrose), although Marchmont canít be beaten for all its independent fruit and vegetable shops. A 3 bed flat in either of these areas would normally cost £900-£1100 a month.
Alongside the Meadows to the east and West are Tollcross and Newington respectively. These areas are both based along busy roads so thereís less of a residential feel and the flats can be a bit noisy if theyíre right on the main roads. Newington is pretty much as close to university as you can get and is very handy for pubs and takeaways. Both areas are pretty good for getting home after a night out so you can save a lot on taxis to and from clubs. A guide price for a three bed flat in Newington is £800-£1000.
North of the Meadows and Princes Street is the picturesque New Town. Although more pricey than other areas the flats are often a bit more spacious. New Town has its appeal, with lots of independent cafes and art galleries. However, the cafes and restaurants arenít aimed at tight budgets. On the plus side, Princes Street is only a stoneís throw away, however, getting to university is a bit of a trek. Itís not too bad if youíre based in George Square, but getting to Kingís would take over an hour on foot. The 41 bus goes directly from New Town to Kingís Buildings, but the bus fare wouldnít be subsidised by the university, so this is an extra cost to add in. New Town is considerably more expensive than the rest of the city, with a three bed flat normally costing £1100-£1300.
These are probably the most popular areas, but itís always possible to get great accommodation further out of town. If youíre a keen cyclist and donít mind a commute in the morning, or just donít have many contact hours so donít need to be that close to university, itís worth looking at flats in Leith, towards Blackford or further down Dalkeith Road.
The view from letting agents and studentsÖ
Simon works for letting agents Factotum.
ďBasically the main rule is the closer you to the city centre the higher the rental price. However when it comes to student accommodation this is slightly different. Most flats of the three or four bed variety are specifically designed with students in mind. Therefore areas such as Marchmont and Bruntsfield are very popular. Some students do like to live in the New Town area and obviously this is a lot more expensive. Areas such as Leith will be a lot lower as will flats that are very sparsely furnished and possibly not at the highest standard.Ē
Anna is a third year undergraduate who lives in a four bed flat just off Charlotte Square in New Town. She pays £370 a month.
ďAlthough we donít live right in the centre of New Town we still get the Georgian architecture and large rooms. I think we get quite a lot of space for our money- it doesnít really feel like Ďstudentí accommodation! Our rent is also much cheape, I donít really think you can get anything less than £100 a week in central New Town. Flats there are also really competitive to view and sign a lease for. We looked at one last year that had gone before the viewing even began! Plus, we donít have to walk up a big hill to get to Princes Street or UniversityÖ
Matt is a third year undergraduate who lives in a two bedroom flat near Dalry. He pays £175 a month.
ďMy girlfriend and I live with another couple we met on Gumtree, in a modern flat near Dalry. Although the fact that we're four people paying for a two bedroom flat is good, it also means that there are four people using one bathroom and kitchen, which isn't.Ē
Shira is a third year undergraduate who lives in a three bedroom flat between Marchmont and Newington. She pays £325 a month
ďI live in a new build ground floor flat, in a residential area but still close to university and shops. I like it for its location, its set up and the rent which is pretty cheap. The landlord is good and responsive. I havenít found any cons so far, except maybe being so close to first year halls next door!Ē
Check out accommodationforstudents.com for a one stop shop for all accommodation in Edinburgh- whether youíre looking for halls, a flat or flatmates. Have a look under the ĎTVí section to watch an exclusive video of Edinburgh University students being interviewed about their accommodation experiences!