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West End - Where to stay in Edinburgh

Sandwiched between Waverly and Haymarket railway stations, is Edinburgh's West End. It's one of the easiest areas to get to, and never more than 20 minute’s walk from Princes Street. It remains a step off the beaten tourist track. This area to the west of Shandwick Place and Lothian Road has many of the more interesting options for everyday adventures and offers better value accommodation. Its distinct arty vibe comes from the number of cinemas, theatres and music venues, mingling with the slightly seedy reputation of Tollcross, the zone around the Y-shaped crossroads at the bottom of Lothian Road. Cheerfully dubbed the ‘pubic triangle’ for its many strip clubs and massage parlours, you’re unlikely to run into any trouble in this tiny red light district.

On the other end of the spectrum from Tollcross is Edinburgh's West End Village, a community of traders found in the rectangle made by Queensferry Street, Melville Street, Shandwick Place and Manor Place. This tangle of elegant Georgian thoroughfares feels far more ‘New Town’ with its boutiques, organic delis and candlelit restaurants.

Further away from town, though still only a ten minute walk from the city centre, is Haymarket. Here the ‘destination’ joints are more widely spaced, but the streets are quiet to stay in, with leafy communal gardens. Between Dalry and Lothian Roads is primarily residential, with the exception of the giant bowling, cinema and fast food complex that is the Fountain Park Centre, and the lovely Union Canal that begins at Edinburgh Quay, behind Cargo bar/restaurant.

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