Edinburgh or London: Which One Is Better?

Edinburgh vs London

In this article

Both Edinburgh and London are vibrant, dynamic cities with a rich history and amazing landmarks and attractions. These places are popular with tourists who visit in huge numbers every year. London can even be easily compared to New York in terms of its popularity with travelers from all around the globe.

But there are two unique characters in them. London and Edinburgh provide extremely different vacation experiences and deliver two distinct views of the UK.

Will you choose the huge, expansive city of London with its renowned landmarks, iconic sights, and well-known streets? Or how about Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, which is compact enough to be easily explored on foot and is rich in Scottish history?

Edinburgh vs London: The best way to decide which place is better for your taste is by comparing their cost of living, historical sites, lifestyles, and job opportunities. See which city has better public transportation or better food. In this article, we will provide you with all this information and help make your choice easier.

Edinburgh and London: Main Pros and Cons

Both London and Edinburgh have many advantages:

  • Excellent music scene
  • Popular and good place for family
  • Famous historical sites and museums
  • Amazing beauty
  • Ideal place for couples and romance
  • Urban life
  • Suitable for budget and travellers

Edinburgh vs London Cons
Good public transport
Expensive living costs
Quality food and cuisine
Unsafe areas for lone travelers

In London, good public transport, as well as quality food and cuisine, can be singled out as advantages. For Edinburg, these are the highlighted disadvantages.

London's drawbacks include its expensive cost of living and its unsafe areas for lone travelers.

Cost of Living in London vs Edinburgh

There are differences in the cost of living between these two cities. Edinburgh is cheaper and people need less money to afford living there. The same applies when London is compared to Birmingham, Manchester, or Liverpool. Even comparisons with Dublin show that London is more expensive.

Detailed cost comparisons in various aspects are given below.

Accommodation Costs

In central London, renting an ordinary apartment costs between 1,750 and 3,500 pounds, while for a one-bedroom apartment, the tenant has to pay from 700 to 1,200 pounds. In the outside city center, rent for a one-bedroom flat is from £1,300 to £1,800, rooms up to £1,000.

Tenants in Edinburgh may readily find accommodations in the historic city center for between £650 and £1000 per month for a nice one-bedroom apartment and between £300 and £500 for a room.

Transportation Costs Compared

In London, transportation costs are very expensive. The cheapest monthly transport card costs somewhat more than £130 per month, whereas a monthly bus ticket in Edinburgh costs between £40 and £45.

Price of Food, Drinks, and Eating Out

With the exception of London's more upscale stores like Whole Foods and Daylesford, grocery pricing in both cities are almost the same.

Here are a few examples of average meal costs reported by prior visitors to London:

  • Lunch at Starbucks is £13;
  • Tea costs £6;
  • Pastry is £5;
  • Sushi Dinner for One is £18.

Here are some samples of typical food and lunch costs in Edinburgh:

  • Breakfast costs £8.5;
  • Dinner at Filling Station £10;
  • Lunch for Two £15;
  • Sandwich £1.85;
  • Cheese & bread £7.23;
  • Thai Restaurant Dinner for 2 persons £25;
  • 2 Coffees and Scones £5.8.

Edinburgh vs London: Size and Population Comparison

With a total size of 1,572 km2 and a population of 9.78 million, London is the largest metropolis in the UK. Comparatively, Edinburgh has a substantially smaller land area (264 km2) and a population of only 500,000.

Due to Edinburgh's small size, visitors may easily go around on foot while taking in the attractions. While going throughout London's enormous territory requires far more time and money spent on cabs, buses, and tubes.

Edinburgh Crime Rate vs London: Which City Is Safer?

In general, Edinburgh is a safer city than London. The overall level of crime is about 29% in Edinburgh, while in London it is about 63%. Property robbery occurs in 28% of cases in Edinburgh and 45% in London. Drug dealing and street gangs occur the most with 49% in Edinburgh and 58% in London.

Safety in Edinburgh vs London
Overall level of crime
Property robbery
Drug dealing and street gangs

Local Transportation Options

Over 700 bus lines and river bus routes, as well as an overground and DLR network with excellent connections, make up London's public transportation system. While the cost of a monthly Oyster card varies based on the zone in which one lives, tram tickets are reasonably priced and are decided by the destination.

There are a few public transportation choices in Edinburgh. For those who don't have a car, the best method to enter the city from the outside is via bus.

Edinburgh also has trams, but people prefer the bus system, which is very regular. They mostly walk through the city on foot, and the bus station is about 10 minutes from Edinburgh's High Street.

What Are the Local Food Scenes Like?

The food scene of Edinburgh is well-known. Four of the city's restaurants have received Michelin stars, and it continues to gain popularity. There are eateries to suit every taste and price range, many of which specialize on Scottish cuisine that uses Angus beef, locally caught fish, and wild pheasant. Scotland has more than 130 whiskey distilleries, many of which are located in or close to Edinburgh. Scotland is also the world's top producer of gin in addition to whiskey.

London has as many as 66 restaurants with Michelin stars. Despite being a bigger city than Edinburgh, this is still a remarkable number. The Ritz and Claridge's are just a couple of the many restaurants established by famous chefs. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is excellent and offers traditional British dishes. For those who don't like fine dining, there are markets for some of London's greatest street food. For example, Borough Market and Camden Market, or Dalston Food Market which has better prices.

People and Culture in Edinburgh vs London

London is one of the world's cities with the most diversity. Around 250 languages are spoken there every day, and one-third of the city's almost 9 million inhabitants relocated here from somewhere else. The highly competitive culture is one of the things that makes London so special. This city is utterly contemporary, set against the backdrop of centuries of British history. Travelers can explore the vibrant arts, fashion, music, and cuisine scenes at the various theaters, pop-up events, galleries, and other venues across this dynamic city.

Edinburgh's population is still primarily Scottish, despite a sizable community of foreign residents and students. Additionally, Scotland's capital is an excellent location to learn about and experience Scottish culture. The inhabitants are kind and inviting and enjoy the opportunity to talk about their nation. Travelers can visit one of the three National Galleries, the National Scotland Museum or go while one of Edinburgh's renowned festivals is going on to learn more about Scottish culture.

Which City Is Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

London is teeming with world-class landmarks and historical and architectural treasures. Visitors can see Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Tower of London before heading over to Buckingham Palace to witness The Changing of The Guard. Apart from modern marvels like The Shard or The Gherkin, London has interesting streets full of black telephone booths, black taxis, and pubs that have been there for centuries.

Even though Edinburgh's attractions are less recognized, they are nevertheless rather beautiful. Millions of people come to spot Edinburgh Castle from the 12th century and hear the cannon as the clock strikes one. It is interesting for travelers to explore the historic tunnels and dungeons that run underneath the city, and visit the Scottish Crown Jewels at the Royal Palace.

Additionally, in Edinburgh, tourists can walk along Princes Street to the Royal Mile, they can see the atmospheric streets of the Old Town and St. Giles' Cathedral. Edinburgh offers a wide variety of attractions for history aficionados, fans of architecture, art, and Scottish culture.

Entertainment and Nightlife: Where Will You Have More Fun?

In Edinburgh, which is referred to as the Festival City, there is often something amazing going on every month. There are so many events taking place in August that they are all together referred to as The Edinburgh Festival.

There are many varied possibilities for an evening out thanks to the vibrant artistic and creative environment. In addition to underground nightclubs, Edinburgh also has cabaret theaters, folk bars, classical music concerts, comedy clubs, and venues for live music. Everyone will find something here, from upscale cocktail bars to student dives where the drinks are cheap.

London not only has amazing nightlife, but it also has entire districts dedicated to it. Travelers may visit Mayfair for traditional cocktails, Soho's fashionable bars, or multicultural Shoreditch. Those who like live music in alternative clubs can visit Camden. London has countless live music venues, theaters, and comedy clubs.

In this aspect, London definitely wins.

Job Opportunities and Salaries: Which City Takes the Win?

London offers many more career opportunities than Edinburgh, especially in the financial sector. Numerous individuals consider it to be the world's financial capital since it employs close to 700,000 financial services professionals in related professional services.

London professionals change jobs far more frequently than their colleagues in Edinburgh.

The fact that many businesses carry out many very similar activities also contributes to market fluidity.

Retail banking, asset management, third-party administrators, life & pensions, employees with transferable skills and experience - their similarities encourage individuals to move about easily.

On the other hand, by most standards, Edinburgh is a major financial center in Europe. Banking, pensions and life assurance, investment management, and asset servicing are some of its areas of special competence. Many very sizable operations. Then there are services like general insurance, brokerage services, and corporate finance all of which are supported by a large network of suppliers and expert advisers.

In keeping with this, company expansion plans and employee growth appear more well thought out than in London, where a more boom and bust climate might still prevail.

Salaries in these two cities are very different. However, London pays far more for highly compensated specialized jobs.

The average career starter wage (business, digital marketing) in Edinburgh is £15,000–21,000, compared to £18–25,000 in London. Already, after a few years of expertise, the salary in Edinburgh remains between £20 and £24,000, but in London it might range between £28,000 and 40,000 per month, depending on the sector.

Still, London is the winner when it comes to business opportunities because it offers a better chance for a rewarding and fulfilling career.

London vs Edinburgh Weather: What's the Difference?

Both cities have four distinct seasons and a moderate environment. The summer season is in July, and the winter season is in January because both cities are in the northern hemisphere. However, weather conditions are very different in London and Edinburgh.

London has a more favorable climate. During the summer months, the temperature in this city reaches 25° c, while in Edinburgh it does not exceed 17° c. Winter in London can be cold with temperatures around 4° c, but it's still a bit warmer than in Edinburgh where it's around 3° c.

Although London is generally a warmer city than Edinburgh, with more sunny days throughout the year, during spring more rain falls in this city (45 mm) than in Edinburgh (40 mm).

The Bottom Line: Is Edinburgh or London Better?

Due to its size, London outshines Edinburgh in most categories. But both cities are beautiful and recommended to visit. Neither of them lacks in terms of history, culture, delicious food, or exciting nightlife. But the arguments for choosing between them are obvious.

If you don't mind the weather and are seeking a serene and beautiful location with lots of hiking and walking options nearby, Edinburgh is a fantastic choice.

London is a great place if you seek job opportunities, want to visit popular destinations, and like a warmer climate!

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


Yes, Edinburgh is cheaper than London.
Yes, Edinburgh is generally a colder city than London.

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