30 December 2021

Serviced and Flexible Office Guide: Edinburgh

Offices to rent in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a thriving and vibrant city situated in Lothian, a region of the Scottish Lowlands, on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. The city is one of the most visited cities in Europe, known around the world for its cobbled medieval streets, beautiful architecture, exciting festivals, rich history, and friendly and welcoming people.

The area around modern-day Edinburgh has been inhabited for thousands of years, but its origins as a settlement date back to the early Middle Ages when a hillfort was established in the area, most likely on the Castle Rock. Today, Edinburgh is one of the fastest-growing and most productive cities in the United Kingdom, with strong investment potential bolstered by a diverse and growing economy as well as a highly skilled workforce. The city is perhaps best known for its financial services industry, but it has also seen rapid growth in its technology sector. Other major industries in Edinburgh include health services, which is Edinburgh’s biggest employer, as well as life sciences and the creative industries.

Not only is the city an economic powerhouse but it also has a lively cultural scene, especially in the summer months when tourists flock to the city to attend the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, which is the world's largest annual, international arts festival.

In addition, there are four universities in and around the city, including The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University, and Queen Margaret University. These prestigious establishments attract high-calibre students from around the world.

Beyond that, the city is also steeped in history, has fantastic transport connections to London and the rest of the UK, and is a highly attractive place to both live and work. It comes as no surprise that in 2018 Edinburgh earned the title of "Most attractive City to Live and Work In" for the UK according to a study by the Royal Mail Group, which assessed cities based on their education options, healthcare, employment potential, and more.

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Notable business areas in Edinburgh

The main part of Edinburgh is divided into three areas – Old Town and New Town, which are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the West End, which is where you will find the Financial District. Many businesses can be found in central Edinburgh, which is home to the central business district (CBD), and is populated by businesses from a wide range of industries. Major companies based here include Skyscanner, Virgin Money, Investec, Brodies LLP and DLA Piper. A little further north, you will find an area called Leith, a historic port district, which has undergone extensive redevelopment in recent years, attracting both new businesses and residents. The area is popular with creatives and technology companies. The Scottish Government is also headquartered here.

On the western edge of the city is an area called South Gyle, which is divided into two sections, one residential, and the other commercial. Edinburgh Park, a premier business park, is based here and is home to companies such as Aegon UK, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, JP Morgan, Fujitsu and Regus.

Edinburgh has excellent transport links both within the city and to the rest of the UK

Walking is one of the best and most enjoyable ways to get around the city

Edinburgh is very compact, which makes walking one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get around the city. It takes under half an hour to walk from the central part of the city on Princes Street to reach places as far afield as the Royal Botanic Garden in the north of the city, the King’s Theatre in the south-west and George Square in the south-east.

There is an extensive network of cycle paths for cyclists

Cyclists can take advantage of the city’s fantastic cycle routes. This includes a very useful network of around 75km of off-road paths for both cycling and walking. Most major roads have designated cycle lanes while traffic lights often have stopping boxes to allow cyclists to stop and start more safely.

The city boasts an excellent bus network

Edinburgh’s extensive bus routes cover the entire city as well as surrounding areas including the Scottish Borders and East Lothian. Lothian Buses run all bus services in the city centre, as well as services to North Berwick, and First runs services to Livingston and Bathgate. Alternatively, there’s also a tramline, which regularly runs services between the city centre and Edinburgh Airport, with stops at Haymarket, Murrayfield and Edinburgh Park, home to many major finance and technology companies.

The rest of Scotland and the UK can be easily reached by train

Edinburgh has rail links to most major UK cities and there is an excellent rail network connecting Edinburgh to the rest of Scotland. Edinburgh Waverley is one of the busiest railway stations in Scotland, coming second only to Glasgow Central. To the west of the city centre lies Haymarket Station, another important commuter stop, as well as Edinburgh Park station, which serves the Gyle business park in the west of the city and the nearby Gogarburn headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Scotland’s busiest airport is less than 6 miles from the city centre

Edinburgh Airport is located 5.8 miles west of the city centre, just off the M8 and M9 motorways. It’s Scotland's busiest airport and the main international gateway to the capital, flying to over 150 destinations worldwide.

Edinburgh has excellent business amenities

There is no shortage of places to stay in Edinburgh

Given the fact that Edinburgh is an extremely popular tourist destination welcoming over four million visitors every year, the city naturally has plenty of accommodation options available. No matter what your preference or your budget, there are rooms in the city that are perfect for both business travellers and tourists alike.

Edinburgh is home to some of the most iconic hotels in the world. For example, if you’re looking for a truly luxurious experience, why not book a suite at the five-star hotel, The Balmoral on Princes Street, where Old Town meets New Town. This legendary hotel is often described as a ‘love letter’ to Scotland, combining both contemporary design with classic architecture and impeccable service. Other luxury hotels in Edinburgh include the five-star Fingal, permanently berthed on Edinburgh’s vibrant waterfront, and Inter Continental Edinburgh The George, a beautiful hotel in the heart of the city, which oozes elegance and captures the legacy of the capital’s rich literary heritage.

On the other hand, there are also plenty of budget-friendly accommodation options in Edinburgh. All of the familiar chains are here including a Holiday Inn, an ibis, and several Premier Inns and Travelodges dotted around the city.

Edinburgh is world-famous for its many outstanding restaurants

Edinburgh is well known for its culture, history, and beautiful landscapes, but it’s also developed an enviable reputation for its outstanding food and drink scene, with plenty of restaurants, cafes, pubs, and bars. In fact, Edinburgh has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in any UK city other than London.

Some well-known favourites include Fhior, a fine-dining Scandi-style restaurant offering up innovative modern cooking that remains true to Scotland’s culinary heritage. There’s also The Gardener’s Cottage, which offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, boasting a menu that serves up delicious seasonal food made with the freshest local produce.

Edinburgh also has a wide range of fantastic restaurants offering diners an array of international cuisine. For example, if you’re in the mood for Indian dining with a contemporary twist, book a table at Dishoom, a beloved Indian restaurant on St Andrews Square. There’s also Ting Thai Caravan, which serves up authentic Thai street food, as well as Saboteur, its sister restaurant, which offers up a Vietnamese equivalent.


Other useful amenities in the city

Major capital city it may be, but Edinburgh is a surprisingly green space with an abundance of parks and gardens where you can relax and unwind after a busy day in the office. Some of these include Princes Street Gardens where you can escape the shops and rat race of the city. There’s also Dunbar’s Close, which is hidden away down the Royal Mile among the alleyways and cobblestones of the Old Town. One of Edinburgh’s most famous parks is The Meadows, which is split into several sections, giving you the opportunity to have a picnic, take a leisurely stroll or even enjoy a game of cricket or miniature golf. You can also take a hike up Arthur’s Seat, a volcano that has lain dormant for more than 350 million years, where you can soak up some of the best views of the city.

If you enjoy a spot of retail therapy, Edinburgh is the place for you. There are several fantastic shopping locations around the city with shops to suit every customer. The area around Princes Street is the main shopping area in the city centre where you can find all your high-street brands as well as independent stores. Edinburgh also has a number of retail parks outside the city centre, including The Gyle Shopping Centre and Hermiston Gait in the west of the city, Cameron Toll Shopping Centre, Straiton Retail Park just outside the city in Midlothian, Fort Kinnaird in the south and east, and Ocean Terminal in the north on the Leith waterfront.

And if keeping fit is how you maintain a work-life balance, then Edinburgh has a variety of fitness facilities available including a JD Gym, a David Lloyd facility, Pure Gym, Nuffield Health and The Gym Group dotted around the city.

Notable tenants in Edinburgh

  • Bank of Scotland
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Skyscanner
  • Virgin Money
  • Investec
  • Brodies LLP
  • DLA Piper
  • Aegon UK
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • HSB
  • JP Morgan
  • Fujitsu
  • Regus

Key agents in Edinburgh

  • Savills
  • Galbraith
  • CBRE
  • Knight Frank LLP
  • Avison Young
  • JLL
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • CuthbertWhite

Interesting facts about Edinburgh

  • Edinburgh was one of the world's first UNESCO Cities of Literature, awarded in recognition of its literary heritage.
  • Edinburgh was rated top ‘cultural and creative city 2017’ alongside Paris and Copenhagen in the European Commission’s Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor.
  • The city is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Deutsche Bank named Edinburgh the top city for millennials in the world in 2018 and Property Week named Edinburgh the best place to live in the UK in 2017. Moreover, Edinburgh is the second happiest place to live in Scotland. According to a study by Ipsos Mori, 96% of Edinburgh residents are satisfied the city as a place to live and over half say they are 'very satisfied'.
  • The city is growing at a rapid pace. In fact, Scotland's National Records suggest that Edinburgh's population will grow by 28.2% by 2037.