Edinburgh : Scotland


What It Is Like to Retire in Edinburgh

Edinburgh (Ed’-in-burra-a) is the easternmost of Scotland’s two largest cities (the other is Glasgow). The 2015 population was 489,000.  The city is situated on the Firth of Forth, a fjord that runs into the North Sea to the east.  It is quite old with almost mind-numbing history.  There have been invaders (Vikings, Romans, etc.) and conquerors (England). The setting is quite remarkable, with either end of the city set on extinct and ancient volcanoes (the Edinburgh Castle which sits atop the largest of which).  Ice age glaciers scoured through and created a deep valley between them, and that is where the city’s residents mostly reside.

There is the Old town surrounding  the Castle that dates well back in times A.D., and the “New” town which was one of the first planned cities in the world, laid out in 1776.  The latter is laid out on a grid with ample parks, public areas, and views both of the River Forth and Old Town.  The city is the capital of Scotland and as such hosts an enormous array of institutions including Parliament, the National Museum, National Gallery of Art, etc.  The city is quite cosmopolitan with people of all ages out and about.  With a great public transportation system, Edinburgh could make a most interesting and convenient place to retire.


Where to Retire in Edinburgh and Home Prices

As is the case with major cities there are any number of places to live. In a flat downtown, in a small neighborhood out of the center, or even in a private home. You will probably not find much of anything below 200,000 pounds, and can easily spend a million in some of the nicer neighborhoods and buildings.


What Is Special about Edinburgh

The sheer beauty of the setting dominated by two hilltops, an ancient castle on one and Arthur’s Seat the other, make this city special. The buildings are special and historic; many occupied by  government or formerly home to some of the world's most famous writers, philosophers, and inventors. Some of the world’s first skyscrapers are apartment buildings constructed up from the valley floor along the Royal Mile, a ridge which runs from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace and Parliament at the lower end.   The Scots are a friendly people with a lively wit to enjoy (and many whiskeys to savor it with).  There is always something fun to do in Edinburgh.


What Is Not Special about Edinburgh

On the downside Edinburgh is a city so it is more expensive than living in the countryside. Although many locals boast that it gets less annual rainfall than places like Paris, it is frequently chilly and gray, as well as wet.


Who Will Like Retirement in Edinburgh

People who want to live in a major but livable city could enjoy retirement here. Scots and residents of the Commonwealth and the EU could move here without difficulty. Americans and most other nationalities it would most likely to live here more than seasonally (3 to 6 months at a time).


Local Economy Is Driven by

This is the seat of government and an increasingly popular tourist destination. But this is also a very important banking and financial capital. Residents are very prosperous.


Climate and Physical Environment

Edinburgh is located in the southeast portion of Scotland where the Firth of Forth flows into the North Sea. The average Jan temp ranges from 0 to 5 (C.) (33-43 F.). The average July temp ranges from 50 to 66 (F.)  It is not nearly as rainy as one would think - in most months there is a little over 2 (inches or 5 centimeters) of rain, with the late summer and fall getting the highest amounts.  The amount of rainfall and January temps are comparable with Paris, France, although it is a bit cooler in Edinburgh in July.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

As a major city and country capitol there is almost no end to the cultural opportunities in Edinburgh. Topflight museums include the National Museum and the National Gallery of Art among many others. As a city and tourist center there is every type of restaurant, from classic old pubs like the Royal Cafe and the Conan Doyle to fine dining to ethnic choices like Indian, Mexican, and Asian.  Cathedrals like St. Giles offer frequent concerts. Not to mention other cultural venues for ballet, music, and art. Scottish and other types of music are widely available in pubs. The highlight of the cultural year is The Festival, a month long festival held every August that offers every type of entertainment from big name stars to street performers trying to get discovered.



Edinburgh is a big city so there is crime here of all sorts. But the Scots tend to be a fairly law abiding people.  If you want to read fictional account of crime you might enjoy the mystery novels from Ian Rankin.


Medical Facilities

Medically you will find the University Hospital offering world class medical services. There is every type of medical specialty.  Scottish people enjoy the National Health Service - it might take a while to get the special treatment you require but it will be free and universally available to all. Non-residents have a right to treatment but how that is paid for depends on where you are from (consult other sources for more on this



There is every transportation option in this city, from its modern International Airport to intercity trains to trolleys to cabs.  You do not need a car here.


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