From education to employment

Edinburgh is the best student city in the UK: Here’s why!


Deciding where to spend the next few years of your life as a student is an important one. This will be where you will make some of the best memories as you enter the next stage of your education. At university, you will meet new friends, visit new places, evolve new skills, and grow as a person. To make the most out of your course of choice, you should be in a city that will help you flourish.

In 2018, the Scottish capital of Edinburgh was voted as the best city for students to live in across the world. Last year, Edinburgh was also featured in the top 20 cities. These top 20 cities are more likely to draw entrepreneurs, skilled employees, and encourage both new businesses and large organisations to perform well.

Here, we look at the top 7 reasons why Edinburgh is the best city to live in the UK as a student.

Wellbeing and greenery

As we mentioned before, Edinburgh has been ranked as one of the best cities to live in. Landing a spot on this list is multi-factorial – Edinburgh scored well for wellbeing, lifestyle, healthcare, and being the greenest city in the UK as well as having good air quality. Wellbeing and green spaces are important considerations as a new student – you can make a steady transition to an independent adult. When your exams and assignments are around the corner, you can take to these relaxing places to unwind and connect with nature. They also prove to be great hangout spots with your friends when the weather is nice.

A great place to launch your career

According to Knight Frank, Edinburgh has the highest levels of graduate retention in the UK outside of London. This means that more students from the Scottish capital (53 per cent of 43,281 students) stay there to get work after finishing their studies and graduating.

Knight Frank Edinburgh partner Simon Capaldi commented:

“People living and working in Edinburgh benefit from the city’s high standards of living – something which doesn’t come with the same price tag as other UK cities.” He continued: “The city also benefits from a highly educated talent pool, with a graduate population of nearly 50,000 and 47% of final year students who plan to remain in the city.”

Similarly, these opportunities prove great to find work experience alongside your studies if that is what you’re planning on doing to boost your prospects.

Cultural events

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August is the world’s largest arts festival – 2019 had 59,600 performances including comedians, and only gets bigger and better each year.

Edinburgh is also hailed for its wide range of festivals, art galleries, cinemas, museums, and theatres, providing plenty of fun all year round.


There is a sense of inclusivity in Edinburgh that has evolved from the likes of the Fringe Festival, welcoming acts and guests from all over the world, championing difference, and giving a platform for people from all walks of life to truly express themselves. Embedding creative cultural inclusion into the city makes a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for students moving to a new place to start their studies.

Great student areas

Edinburgh is a stunning city to call home and has previously been voted the fourth most beautiful city in the world – following Paris, Florence, and Rome. Built from distinctive architecture across seven hills, there is something for everyone looking for different lifestyles.

There are several distinct districts of Edinburgh. Students looking for bustling urban life can find this in the city centre, Fountainbridge, or Haymarket. Those looking for quaint village landscapes can settle in Old Town and New Town. There are other popular spots such as Leith, an up-and-coming location on the coast.


One of the reasons Edinburgh was voted one of the best cities to live in is due to the low crime rates and levels of personal safety. While it is important that you still pay attention to your surroundings anywhere you go, according to Edinburgh News, around 90 per cent feel safe.


Most importantly for some, Edinburgh has a fantastic nightlife and restaurant scene. There are plenty of reasonably priced places to eat and drink, as well as a selection of vegetarian and vegan eateries. For the party people, Edinburgh has one of the highest densities of pubs and bars per square mile in the UK.

There is a range of clubs playing different music for those with a varied taste: dance music, 70s soul, punk, rap – you name it.

Deciding on your university location of choice is an important decision so that you have the best few years of your life. Factoring in opportunities, fun things to do, affordability, and bustling nightlife, Edinburgh certainly makes for a smart choice. If you don’t get into your first choice of university or course, or if you have changed your mind, be sure to explore your options, including Edinburgh Clearing courses.

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