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Where to stay in Edinburgh: an expert’s guide

Elegant, cultured Edinburgh – Scotland’s history-infused capital is a striking sight to behold, a city draped across rocky crags that punctuate the landscape. The city centre is cleaved into two parts: the alleyways and narrow, steep closes of the medieval Old Town, and the sleek, Georgian-infused confidence of the New Town. However, this is a tale of more than two cities: beyond the centre, independent-spirited Stockbridge and nautically charming Leith offer entirely different perspectives.

Where to stay in Edinburgh

Whether you plan on exploring Edinburgh Castle, scaling Arthur’s Seat or hunkering down in an old pub with a wee dram of whisky, this is a city where you’ll want to stay a while. Luckily, Edinburgh has more places to stay than anywhere else in the UK aside from London, with something for every budget, from smart self-catered apartments that feel like a second home to lively hostels tucked down atmospheric side streets.

Wherever you choose to stay, book well in advance, especially over Hogmanay and during the summer when prices and the squeeze on rooms peaks during August’s Edinburgh Festival. Inspired by the upcoming new edition of The Rough Guide to Scotland , here’s our pick of where to stay in Edinburgh.

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The Royal Mile

Edinburgh’s well-worn thoroughfare from the Castle to Holyrood Palace is central to any visitor’s itinerary. Subdivided into four streets – Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street and Canongate – The Royal Mile is home to museums, churches, pubs and restaurants. Yes, it’s a magnet for tartan-stuffed souvenir stores but this is also Edinburgh at its most fascinating. Radiating off The Royal Mile is an atmospheric warren of narrow closes, steep lanes and hidden vaults, the architecture a topsy-turvy blend of blackened sandstone facades, rubblestone tenements and merchant houses.

For a stylish second home: Old Town Chambers

Tucked down a narrow passageway just off The Royal Mile, Old Town Chambers – a collection of stylish, luxury serviced apartments – are set in a thoughtfully restored fifteenth-century building enlivened with modern comforts such as Nespresso machines and an on-site gym.

For listed-building luxury: Nira Caledonia

Set across two gorgeous Georgian townhouses, the rooms at Nira Caledonia vary in size but all share a commitment to luxury, comfort and a gently contemporary style. The fantastic restaurant uses locally sourced produce, while the best of central Stockbridge is only a short walk away.

For boutique-style beauty: The Raeburn

The ten lovely rooms at The Raeburn are centred on a popular restaurant and bar that hums with locals. Boutique style is the order of the day here: rooms are modern but feature plenty of thoughtful touches from flashes of tweed and tartan to GHD straighteners, stand-alone baths and a menu that proudly namechecks its local suppliers.