Updated 2 months ago

Edinburgh is a vibrant and historic city, with a broad cultural spectrum of expats. You can expect to have an exciting time living here, with a high quality of life. Here is what you will need to expect when you first touch down at Edinburgh Airport.

Travelling from Edinburgh Airport

Prepare yourself - Edinburgh is known for its changeable weather! As you step off the plane, the city’s windy, mild and sometimes drizzly climate will likely be the first thing to hit you.

Thankfully, Edinburgh locals are much sunnier than the weather. Scots are famous for their friendliness, so don’t be afraid to ask for directions. It’s rare to find someone who speaks another language fluently, so be ready to have conversations in English.

Edinburgh’s airport is small and easy to navigate, and as it’s only eight miles from the city centre, it won’t take you long to reach your accommodation. Scotland’s capital has a very efficient public transport system, so your onward journey will be straightforward.

You may have heard of the Edinburgh trams. These currently run from the airport to York Place to the East End of Princes St, and this is a good mode of transport if you are staying in areas such as Balgreen, Murrayfield, Haymarket, or the West End. An adult single-journey from the airport to the city costs £6. Alternatively, the Airlink 100 and Skylink 200, 300, and 400 buses cover the length and breadth of the city, with buses every ten to 30 minutes. A taxi will take around 25 minutes and cost between £15-£20

What to expect living in Edinburgh

If you have ever visited Edinburgh as a tourist, then you may be familiar with the traditional side of Edinburgh: bustling crowds down the Royal Mile, bagpipers on street corners, and shops packed with tartan goods and Scottish whiskies. This is not the Edinburgh you will experience in your day-to-day life in the city. Actually, as you head further from the city centre, Edinburgh is a relaxed, reasonably quiet city. It is a very green city, with plenty of parks and green spaces.

You will see a range of different residential property types across Edinburgh. These include traditional tenement flats in areas such as Marchmont, modest detached houses in Corstorphine, modern flats in Leith, Victorian villas in Morningside, luxury townhouses in the New Town, and a range of new housing developments in the suburbs of Gilmerton and Niddrie.

Settling into life in Edinburgh

Wherever you are in the city, it will be easy to purchase groceries when you first arrive. Large superstores such as Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys can be found in the outer areas of the city. Popular bargain supermarkets Aldi and Lidl also have several locations across Edinburgh. If you are staying within the city centre, then you can purchase supplies at shops including Tesco Express, Sainsburys local and Scotmid, as well as small local corner shops. These smaller stores offer a surprisingly comprehensive selection of groceries, though it is advisable to shop at a large supermarket where possible to save money. Additionally, stores such as Poundstretcher and Poundland are useful for stocking up on cleaning and other household supplies and can be found across Edinburgh.

If you enjoy eating out then you are in luck - Edinburgh has one of the highest numbers of restaurants per head in the UK. Scottish people definitely don’t live on haggis - Edinburgh’s gourmet offering is a melting pot of different cuisines. In the city centre, you will find popular chain restaurants, as well as gourmet dining options from local chefs. Exploring your neighbourhood’s restaurant selection will likely be one of the most enjoyable aspects of settling into the city. Expect to pay between £10 and £25 per person for a one-course meal.

There is a huge takeaway culture in Scotland. Wherever you live in Edinburgh, you will find an array of Chinese, Indian, kebab, Thai, fish and chips, and pizza takeaways. The city is also not short of pubs and coffee shops. Take time to step out and explore your new home as there is plenty to do and see. Just don’t expect sunshine and warm weather!

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