People & Communities
CASE City Guide: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Edinburgh: capital of Scotland, home of finance, the infamous Edinburgh Festival and Hogmanay parties. With a population of just under 500,000, many of whom are students, the city is lively and welcoming without being too big to navigate.

Princess St GardensMeet your guide
Suzi Grime, Development Manager, at Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools

Interesting or unusual event venues
There are so many unique venues in the city:

  • Heritage Portfolio provide a variety of stunning venues for different group sizes. All of their venues are for private use; so the degree of formality is up to you.
  • The Caves is another popular private hire venue with a unique atmosphere that is located in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. 
  • The New Club is another great place to meet with prospects or even host a small gathering. 
  • Gusto has a great mezzanine level for small reunions and is reasonably priced. Smart/casual attire is required in this city centre restaurant. 
  • Tiger Lily, a cocktail bar and restaurant, is great for afternoon teas and small groups. Large booths as well as long tables are available. It has a fantastic boutique hotel as well. 

If these venues aren't what you're looking for, Suzi is happy to advise on other venues in the city.

Favorite hotels
Most city centre hotels are best because you can get everywhere from there by bus. A few examples include:

  • The Balmoral is a five-star Rocco forte hotel right in the city centre, which provides excellent service and has great private dining. 
  • For those on a budget, the Premier Inn on Princes' Street is perfect as it's inexpensive and easy to access. 
  • Tiger Lily is a boutique hotel on George Street, city centre.
  • Travelodge has 11 hotels across Edinburgh (most in the city centre) and all are clean, quiet and inexpensive. 

Best times to visit
August is a very busy month as the Edinburgh Festivals crossover during the month. Venues and accommodation would be difficult to achieve at short notice but this could be the perfect month to visit with some planning. Edinburgh also hosts the famous Hogmanay celebrations and street party in Princes' Street Gardens and on the street itself in December.

Easiest way to get around
Edinburgh's bus service (Lothian Buses) is rated as one of the best in the UK with buses going in every direction every few minutes during the daytime. You need to have the right change, however, as no change can be given. The EdinBus app will help you with routes and timings. Edinburgh also has a novelty tram that runs from the airport to the city centre. Black cabs are very expensive compared to most other UK cities and private hire cabs are not recommended. There are two mainline train stations in Edinburgh, Waverley and Haymarket, from which you can travel throughout Scotland.

Local customs
Standard Western practice is acceptable as far as business cards and dress are concerned. People are very friendly here and will talk to anyone—so expect conversations on public transport and whilst getting around. Edinburgh is a very international city and has no specific customs but accepts well those of others. You will see plenty of men in kilts if you are here during a weekend. This is considered acceptable attire even at black-tie events. Cashpoints often dispense Scottish bank notes which look very different to UK ones, although they spend the same.

Gift suggestions for hosts
It is not seen as necessary to bring gifts to the host, but it is widely practiced. Anything ‘Scottish' is unadvisable but items local to your specific country or institute would work well, e.g. high-quality, branded merchandise.

Final words of advice, welcome
Bring waterproofs, especially in summer. Also be prepared for lots of up and down hills as Edinburgh is built on seven hills. If you have any free time, Arthur's Seat is worth a wee walk. You get an amazing view of the city, although you'll need trainers or sturdy shoes as it's a bit too rugged for flip flops. In the city centre, Mary King's Close is a great tour of the old city, which lies underneath the current city. You'll learn quite a lot about Edinburgh's bloody history here. There are also some great pubs—Deacon Brodies on the Royal Mile has an amazing ceiling and Jekyll & Hyde on Hannover Street is very unique. If you are here in April, it's worth checking out the Beltane Fire Festival on Calton Hill, inspired by pagan spring fertility celebrations. And don't forget the amazing Edinburgh Fringe festival where you could see the next up and coming comedians perform for a pittance.