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Edinburgh City Guide

By Jordan Browne


Edinburgh is a city steeped in history.

With a population of 550,000 in the city and 820,000 in the larger urban area, Edinburgh is the second greenest city in the UK with around 50% green space and 75% of the city’s buildings are listed as of national importance. It also has more trees per head of population than any other UK city.

Things you didn't know about Edinburgh

Edinburgh is home to the world’s only knighted penguin, Sir Nils Olav, who lives in Edinburgh Zoo. As well as penguins, it also holds title to the Edinburgh fringe festival, which is the world’s largest arts festival and its castle is built on an extinct volcano (and it’s not the only one…).  

Edinburgh is also responsible for sparking the imagination of JK Rowling who wrote many of the Harry Potter books whilst living in the city. You can still visit some of the coffee shops and hotels, such as Elephant House and Balmoral Hotel, where JK Rowling wrote some of her novels. For real Potter fans, there’s even a Potter trail you can take. 


In Edinburgh, you can choose whether to rent or to buy a property. 

Renting your house or flat in Edinburgh 

Average rental rates in Edinburgh do vary, but as a rough guide, the typical cost of renting in Edinburgh is around £1,191 per month for two-bed accommodation and £813 for one-bedroom properties.

Buying a home in Edinburgh

If you prefer to buy, you’re likely to need a deposit of between 5 and 20% of the total cost of the property. Once you’ve found a property, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage which is likely to require you to have been in steady employment, or to at least show proof of employment. For this reason, it can make sense to rent for a while before buying whilst you get to know the area and get settled in your new job. 

If you’re thinking about buying in Edinburgh, on average you can expect to part with around £322,775 for a two-bedroom house.

UK’s visa requirements

If you’re a British national, you’ll have an automatic right to work within the UK. The UK left the European Union in 2020 and free movement ended on 1 January 2021. However, while the relationship might be changing, EU nationals and beyond are still just as welcome as they've ever been. You can click here to see if you need a visa to work in the UK.

The Cost of Living in Edinburgh

On top of any rent that you pay, you’ll need to budget around £140 per month for council tax, another £153.85 for electricity, and then any entertainment, TV licence costs etc. Edinburgh is the 110th most expensive city in the world. 

Edinburgh had the highest density of restaurants in the UK with a variety of budgets. A basic restaurant lunch menu will cost around £15. Bread will cost £1.02p compared to £1.18 in London, whilst for a mid-range bottle of red wine, you can expect to pay £8.50.  Fuel costs roughly £1.54 per litre. 

Salaries in Edinburgh

The average salary in Edinburgh is £35,000. However, if you’re in the technology industry, you’re in the right place as the average technology industry salary in Edinburgh comes in at £51,227, behind only London, Reading and Bracknell- the UK’s digital corridor. 

Commuting and Public Transport around Edinburgh

Public transport in Edinburgh is unmatched in the UK. It is extremely accessible for all and the use of bus journeys is capped at £20 a week. From the centre, it takes only half an hour to get to the Royal Botanic Gardens in the north of the city, the Kings Theatre in the Southwest, or Grange Square in the Southeast. 

Alternatively, Edinburgh has a good network of 75km of off-street paths for cyclists, making pedalling around Edinburgh a fun and healthy option. 

There’s a tram that runs from Edinburgh airport to York Place in the East End of the City Centre that stops at Princes Street and at the Haymarket Train Station, and a few other places.  


In the UK, schooling can be state, or private. 

Unless home-schooled, all children between the ages of 4 and 18 are obliged to attend school but state schools are free of charge. 

State schools in Edinburgh tend to be split into; Primary School, for children from Reception to Year 6 (Age 11), Secondary School, for children from Year 7 to Year 11 (age 11-16), and Sixth Form for ages 16 to 18. At each of these levels, education follows the National Curriculum. Schools are assessed by Ofsted and the results of the assessments can be found on the Ofsted website

State schools can be: 

Community schools – These are run by local authorities who get involved in everything from employing the staff, to owning the land and building, as well as determining admissions criteria. 

Foundation schools and Trust schools – Often these are owned by a charitable trust with a third party. These are run by their own governing body which employs staff and determines their own admissions criteria. 

Voluntary aided schools – These tend to be linked to a faith or religion and, like a Foundation school, have an independent governing body that determines admissions and employs their own staff. 

Academies – Academies are independently managed schools that cater for students of all abilities. Academies are established with sponsorship from business, faith or voluntary groups in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) and the local authority.

Free schools – Free schools are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council, which means the school has more control over how they operate. They are ‘all-ability’ schools, so don’t use academic selection processes like grammar schools do.

As an alternative to the state school (or comprehensive school) system, Private schools are also available for students. These are fee-paying and can cost anywhere from £10,000 per year to £35,000 per year. 

Global Companies in Edinburgh

This summer, one in every 5 jobs advertised in Edinburgh was in the technology sector. Currently, tech vacancies make up 12% of all available jobs in the UK.

Birthplace to unicorns Skyscanner, FanDuel and FNZ, Edinburgh’s tech jobs increased by more than 3 times the UK average between 2014 and 2017 and has continued to grow since. 

Skyscanner, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Amiqus Resolution, Beezer and Trakz Labs are just a few of the tech companies that have chosen to make Edinburgh their home. 

Out of the Office

There’s so much to see and do in Edinburgh in your spare time. Even just exploring the city with its listed buildings, historic university and cobbled streets can be breath-taking. Just 3 and a half hours’ drive away are the Scottish Highlands, so you can take a day trip to see one of the most beautiful places on the planet or stay closer to home and take a stroll up one of Edinburgh’s two extinct volcanoes. Alternatively, take a whisky tasting tour or visit one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite picture houses, The Cameo. 

Some recommended sights to visit are:

Calton HillPortobello beachLeith waterwaysDean village/StockbridgeEdinburgh CastleHolyrood House PalaceParliamentBotanical gardensMeadows and Royal Mile


Dovecot studiosEdinburgh’s FruitmarketCollective Centre for Contemporary ArtNational museum of ScotlandScottish national portrait museum

We have some fantastic opportunitites in Edinburgh so, if you would like to discuss a potential career move, please contact me Jordan Browne on or on +44 (0)118 907 7035 or Leon Morrison on or on +44 (0)208 400 2483.

Additional sources:,the%20company%20achieve%20unicorn%20status.