Everybody falls in love with Edinburgh. It is the capital of Scotland and a city full of history, culture, high employment and fun. Your children will know that J. K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter novel at a coffee shop in Edinburgh, you will know that it is the home of the world’s largest arts festival.
If you are considering moving to Edinburgh, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in Scotland’s first city.
Quick Edinburgh Facts:
- Population: Just over 500,000 (2017 estimate). Over 70% are White Scottish. Other residents of Edinburgh include people from Asia, Africa and other countries in Europe.
- Official Language: English (de facto) with Urdu, Cantonese, Mandarin, Polish, Italian and Punjabi among the other languages spoken in the city.
- GDP Per Capita: $52,993.11 USD
- Local Fact: Edinburgh Castle was built on an extinct volcano.
- Currency: Pound Sterling or Great Britain Pound (£, GBP). As of early 2017, $1 USD = £80, €1 EUR = £0.85, $1 CAD = £0.61, $1 AUD = £0.62
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to Edinburgh
- London – £300+
- Australia (Sydney) – £2,500+
- Ireland (Dublin) – £350+
- USA (New York City) – £1,050+
- Canada (Vancouver) – £1,700+
- New Zealand (Auckland) – £3,000+
- Hong Kong – £600+
- Dubai – £1,950+
- Singapore – £960+
2. Edinburgh Housing Costs
Edinburgh is quite an expensive city to live in by UK standards but not as expensive as London. Comparing it with major cities worldwide, it is quite a reasonably priced city. Prices obviously vary from area to area but the figures below will give you an indication of what’s available at what price.
Monthly Rental Prices in Edinburgh
- 1 bedroom flat (apartment) in City Centre: £550+
- 1 bedroom flat outside the City Centre: £400+
- 3 bedroom flat in City Centre: £1000+
- 3 bedroom flat outside the City Centre: £780+
Edinburgh Home Purchase Prices
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: £2,100+
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy outside City: £1,250+
Edinburgh Housing Cost Comparison
This is how rents in Edinburgh compare with other cities around the globe.
London is 12.38% more expensive
New York is 226.76% more expensive
Los Angeles is 115.55% more expensive
Toronto is 30.80% more expensive
Sydney is 117.20% more expensive
Paris is 37.06% more expensive
Dubai is 140.43% more expensive
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share a flat or house. Edinburgh has a great variety of accommodation on offer for those who want to save some money on rent. From large houses which are shared by like-minded people to purpose built flats which can be shared. Depending on your pocket, you can join a house share and have your own room, or share a room. Bathrooms will usually be shared, as there are very few rentals with ensuite bathrooms. Have a look on Edinburgh’s Gumtree page or SpareRoom or Easyroommate and find someone you can get on with to share the costs with you.
- Different areas – different prices. The most expensive areas in Edinburgh are New Town with its large Georgian houses and leafy streets, Belford, Murrayfield, Cramond, The Braids and Ravelston to name a few. Family friendly areas, such as Stockbridge and Morningside, are more affordable. Calton and Leith are up and coming areas which are cheaper than those mentioned above.
3. Edinburgh Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
Eating out in Edinburgh is a wonderful experience. It has food for everyone, from its four Michelin starred restaurants to its takeaway seafood places, you won’t be disappointed.
If you are a whisky lover, then Edinburgh is the place to sample an infinite variety of single malts. However, do note that with the recent decline in sterling, a lot of imported food has increased in price, which has obviously pushed up restaurant prices.
- Inexpensive Restaurant: £10.00 – £15.00
- Takeout Coffee: £2.20 – £3.00
- Bottle of Coke: £0080 – £1.65
- 1L of milk: £0.75 – £1.20
- Loaf of Bread: £0.62 – £1.45
- 12 Eggs: £1.50 – £3.00
- 1kg Chicken: £5.00 – £10.00
- 1kg Beef: £6.00 – £12.00
- 1kg Apples: £2.00 – £3.00
- 1kg White Rice: £0.80 – £2.18
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major cities in the world.
- New York restaurants are 28.34% more expensive and groceries are 62.63% more expensive than Edinburgh.
- Toronto restaurants are 15.02% cheaper and groceries are 2.08% more expensive than Edinburgh.
- Sydney restaurants are 4.27% cheaper and groceries are 30.11% more expensive than Edinburgh.
- Paris restaurants are 1.19% more expensive and groceries are 22.52% more expensive than Edinburgh.
- Dubai restaurants are 15.39% cheaper and groceries are 5.34% more expensive than Edinburgh.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Know your supermarkets: The UK has a large selection of supermarkets and other stores to suit every income level and palate. For those with a large food budget there is M&S, Waitrose, Whole Foods and Ocado (online only). For those on a smaller budget, there’s Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. The cheapest options include Aldi, Lidl, ASDA and Iceland. Edinburgh also has some excellent international supermarkets which are reviewed in this link international supermarkets.
- Find Cheap Eats:The Mirror, TripAdvisor, Hostel World and The Guardian all have their own guides to cheap eats in Edinburgh. There are restaurants to suit every palate.
4. Edinburgh Alcohol Costs
Edinburgh has a wealth of pubs, clubs and bars. Ranging from basic, welcoming pubs to high end clubs. For the whisky lovers, you will be blown away by the single malt whiskies to sample at every hostelry. The following is a list of basic prices of beer and wine from the supermarket and restaurants.
- Pint (0.6L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: £3.00 – £4.10
- Bottle of imported beer (0.33L) at a restaurant/pub: £3.00 – £4.50
- Pint (0.6L) domestic beer at a supermarket: £1.00 – £2.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: £1.00 – £2.00
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: £6.00 – £10.00
How to drink for less in Edinburgh
- Keep an eye on the local papers and websites for specials over weekends and public holidays. Try Happy Hour for up-to-date information.
- Lots of pubs have specials during the early evening and at weekends. One way to get cheaper drinks is to look at Groupon, they often have vouchers for cheaper drinks at selected pubs and restaurants.
- Scour the areas around Edinburgh University and other tertiary institutions to find the best alcohol deals. Students always find the cheapest places to drink.
5. Edinburgh Transportation Fares
Edinburgh’s transport system is managed by Transport for Edinburgh and is serviced by trams and buses. The upgraded tram service is excellent and even takes you to the airport. Lothian buses run 70 different services in Edinburgh, reaching every corner. Here are some example ticket costs.
- Adult Single – City Zone (excludes airport) – £1.60
- One day ticket for bus and train – £4.00
- Monthly season ticket for bus and tram – £45
- Yearly season ticket for bus and tram – £630
How to save money on public transport
- Buy a Family Day ticket – covers 2 adults and 3 children – £8.50
- Buy a Ridacard – the more you travel, the more you save.
- Buy a bike. There is good system of cycle lanes all around the city
- The city is not that big and exercise is always good.
6. Cost of Internet in Edinburgh
Internet in the UK is one of the few things that is cheaper than the US, Canada or Australia. Here are some sample broadband internet prices from early 2017 for unlimited downloads, based on a 12-month contract:
- Sky: £18.99 a month (Standard Broadband up to 17mb)
- TalkTalk: £20 a month (Standard Broadband up to 17mb)
- BT: £24.49 a month (Standard Broadband up to 17mb)
- Virgin Media: £32.25 a month (Fibre up to 50mb)
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
Edinburgh has a mild climate with average summer temperatures in July being 15°C and average temperatures in January being around 3°C. October is the wettest month with an average of 80mm of rain. Like most places in the UK, rain is always a possibility, so it’s wise to carry an umbrella or a fold up waterproof jacket.
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans: £38 – £75
- Summer Dress: £20 – £40
- Running Shoes (Trainers): £45 – £80
- Business Shoes: £50-100
- Short Doctor’s visit (15 mins): £65
- Deodorant: £1.44
- Shampoo: £3.47
- Toilet Paper (4 rolls): £1.50
- Gym membership: £20 – £50 per month
- Movie (cinema) ticket: £8 – £11
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in Edinburgh
Everyone in the UK drives on the left. Driving in Edinburgh isn’t a problem but parking is. Street parking is limited and car parks are expensive.
If you’re moving to Edinburgh from within the UK, you’ll be able to keep your license but need to update your address to your new Edinburgh one.
If you want to exchange your foreign driver’s license you have to follow the process here. Note that you will need to prove you took your driving test in a manual transmission car. If you can’t prove it, you’ll only be able to exchange your license for an automatic.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and operating a car in Edinburgh:
- Volkswagen Golf: £20,000
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): £1.10
- Registration fee (if any): £55 one time
- Other fees (if any): No more than £54.85 for an MOT fee, after cars are 3 years old.
Ways to save money on driving in Edinburgh
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Bla Bla Car and Lift Share are good places to start.
- Taxis can sometimes be a cheaper option, especially if you are going to have to park all day. Try Uber.
9. Taxes in Edinburgh
Scotland now controls its own income tax rates. To learn more about the different taxes – income, self-employment, business, capital gains etc, have a look at our moving to the United Kingdom guide.
Sales Tax, or VAT (Value Added Tax) is 20% in the UK and is added to most goods and services throughout the country. Unlike some countries, it is always included in the marked price.
Whether you own or rent your home, you will be subject to council tax based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. Learn more about council tax in Edinburgh at Edinburgh Tax.
Finally, if you decide to buy a flat or house in Edinburgh you’ll have to pay the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. While there’s no tax on the first £145,000 of your home value, the marginal rate increases to 12% on a value of over £750,000.
10. Flight Costs from Edinburgh
Edinburgh airport is a busy one. If you do make the move to Edinburgh, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of early 2017:
- New York: £167
- Los Angeles: £191
- Toronto: £179
- Vancouver: £315
- Dubai: £139
- Sydney: £391
- Melbourne: £408
- Cape Town: £378
- Hong Kong: £301
Other Tips on Moving to Edinburgh
The various prices and costs listed here should give you a good idea of the cost of living in Edinburgh. Here are a few added pointers to make your transition go smoothly.
11. Moving to Edinburgh Alone
Moving anywhere can be a lonely experience, but moving to a new city on your own can be extremely daunting. Here are a few tips about settling into Edinburgh.
- Meetups: Edinburgh has lots of free meetup groups you can find on Meetup.com or try Spice Scotland. Find groups of fellow gamers, walkers, entrepreneurs, football fans and more.
- Attend local events: Edinburgh always has lots going on. Find out what and where on sites like TimeOut, Skiddle, The List, What’s On and Edinburgh.org.
12. Moving to Edinburgh with a Family
Edinburgh is a great place to live when you have a family. There are so many activities to do and sites to see, you will never be bored.
- New parents (or parents to be): Check out the local NCT Courses and events.
- Live in a family friendly area: Have a look at Edinburgh family living which gives great information areas and schools in Edinburgh.
- Find things to do with the kids: Dayoutwiththekids, 10 Best, Culture Trip and TripAdvisor have lots of suggestions for a great afternoon or day out with the kids.
13. Moving to Edinburgh for Work
Edinburgh’s job market is vibrant and expanding. Edinburgh has the lowest unemployment rate in the UK. If you look at the job market and the cost of living in Edinburgh compared with London, you can see Edinburgh has high salaries and lower cost of living.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary:Salaries in Edinburgh are good and often on a par with London. Why not check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale.
- How to find work: Some of the stronger areas of employment in Edinburgh are renewable energy, tourism, technology, finance and the arts. The following sites are good places to start a job hunt Monster, Total Jobs, Gumtree, Reed.co.uk and Indeed. You may also want to google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to Edinburgh from Australia
The strong Australian dollar and high minimum wage and high wages in general in Australia mean that fewer Australian are moving to the UK. However, that being said, Edinburgh is a popular destination for those who do decide to move to the UK.
- Size comparison: As far as population size is concerned, Edinburgh, with a population of around 500,000, comes somewhere between the Gold Coast and Canberra in Australian terms.
- Join expat groups: Both InterNations and Expat.com offer ways of meeting up with other Australians in Edinburgh.
15. Moving to Edinburgh from Canada
There are a relatively small group of Canadians living in Edinburgh. If you’re considering making the move from Canada here are a few things to consider.
- Size: Edinburgh is slighter bigger in population than Kitchener, Ontario.
- Expat groups: Try Internations, Reddit and Meetup.com for information on expat groups which have the same interests as you. A wonderful way to meet new people.
16. Moving to Edinburgh from the United States
There is a small contingent of American expats living in Edinburgh. If you’re considering joining them, here are a few bonus tips:
- Size:Edinburgh has around the same population as Seattle, Washington.
- Expat groups:There are several expat organisations which will help you settle into your new environment and make friends. Have a look at Meetup, Internations, Expatica and Expat Guide to the UK.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to Edinburgh you can start by comparing moving quotes here.
Guides to moving and living in other UK cities