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New Town - Where to Stay in Edinburgh

Stretching down the hill from Princes Street is Edinburgh’s famous New Town. The Old Town, just the other side of what was then the Nor Loch (north loch) and is now Princes Street Gardens, was hopelessly crowded by the 17th century, and expansion was essential. Built over almost a hundred years starting in the final decades of the 18th century, Edinburgh's New Town retains the uniform streets, neo-classical buildings and elegant squares that made it a masterful piece of town planning. The history of the area declares itself in the road names of the first streets that were built – George Street, after King George III; Queen Street, named after his wife Queen Charlotte, as is Charlotte Square at the west end of George Street. Rose Street and Thistle Street represent England and Scotland, in celebration of the union.

The New Town is the most expensive area of Edinburgh. Just east of George Street, for example, is Multrees Walk, home to the majority of the city’s designer stores. It is the smartest area, popular with young professionals: the bars and nightclubs of George Street are a good place to start for a visitor looking for a night out, as there is a lot of choice in a small area. The drinks and entry prices are, however, representative of the chic surroundings. Rose or Thistle Streets are good bets for cosier, quirkier, usually slightly cheaper pubs, bars and eateries. As you head down Frederick or Hanover Streets, past Queen Street Gardens, the architecture remains beautiful, and many of the city’s good restaurants are to be found. The residential streets are wide, leafy and quiet, and just a few minutes’ walk from Princes Street, the heart of the New Town.

To the east end of Edinburgh's New Town, just beyond its boundaries, is Broughton. This is Edinburgh’s slightly bohemian ‘gay quarter’, with many of its LGBT pubs, bars and clubs. The atmosphere turns young, fun and fabulous around Union Place on a weekend night, with something of a split between the Omni Centre cinema/cheap bar crowd and the gay clubbers.

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