Sometimes referred to as ‘the Athens of the north’, Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most attractive cities to visit. More than that, though, it’s a great place to live and work in.
Low unemployment, high income and high levels of happiness
In 2013, a survey conducted by MoneySuperMarket.com named Edinburgh as the UK’s second best city to live in. The survey took account of a number of factors including property market activity, property rental costs, income levels, unemployment, the cost of living and life satisfaction.
The survey noted, in particular, that Edinburgh offered the second-highest average salary and had the second-lowest unemployment rate among the 12 largest cities in the UK.
Earlier in 2013, a survey for the Office of National Statistics said that Edinburgh was the happiest city in the United Kingdom.
It’s a hub for politics, law, financial services, tourism, the arts and knowledge
As the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is home to the Scottish Parliament, the headquarters and main offices of the Scottish Executive, the High Court of Justiciary (Scotland’s supreme criminal court), the Court of Session (Scotland’s second-highest civil court, second only to the UK Supreme Court in London) and the Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service (Scotland’s equivalent of the CPS).
The Scottish Executive (now re-branded as the Scottish Government) employs about 16,000 people throughout Scotland, many of whom are based in Edinburgh.
A number of companies in the banking and financial services sector are either headquartered or have a substantial presence in Edinburgh. Indeed, Edinburgh is the second largest financial centre in the UK. Financial institutions employ approximately 35,000 people in Edinburgh.
Being the seat of most of Scotland’s key legal institutions, Edinburgh has a vibrant legal services sector and is home to a number of law firms, several of whom have a strong presence throughout the UK. Opportunities also exist for lawyers in financial institutions and local and central government offices and departments.
With its castle, maze of cobbled streets and old world charm, Edinburgh is a popular spot for tourists from across the globe – and it makes the most of that appeal. In addition to traditional tourist attractions, such as the castle and the architecture of the medieval ‘old town’ and Georgian ‘new town’, Edinburgh offers a large number of tourist activities – and everything from ghost walks to a visit to the former Royal Yacht Britannia is within easy range of the city centre.
A bustling city at the best of times, Edinburgh almost rips apart at the seams every August, when its world famous International Arts Festival and Fringe takes place. The Festival offers an eclectic mix of entertainments, with something for everyone. There’s a veritable ‘buzz’ in the city at Festival time.
The hospitality and tourism sector, as one might expect, plays an important role in the city’s economic make-up. Local and international political, academic and business conferences, international rugby matches and events over the festive season help to ensure that it’s a sector that continues to bring in valuable income.
Edinburgh is also home to four universities, attended by almost 70,000 students from throughout the UK and further afield and offering a diverse range of courses.
As a tourist city, Edinburgh has a vast selection of shops, bars and restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets. There are also thriving arts and cafe scenes. Those in search of a quieter leisure experience are also well served – the city has a number of museums and parks.
Edinburgh is home to two professional football teams, and the Scotland national rugby team (as well as the Edinburgh team that competes in the Pro 12 series) is based in the city. Motorsport fans are catered for, too: a speedway team that competes in the British Premier League is based in nearby Armadale, and the Knockhill racing circuit lies under 30 miles from the city.
The delights of the East Lothian coast are within easy travelling range, as is an air museum which holds a fine collection of aircraft, including a Concorde.
Location and transport links
Edinburgh lies within an hour or so – by car, bus or train – of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. There are also good road and rail links with the north east of Scotland.
And with an airport on its doorstep and a mainline rail link to London, Edinburgh is an easily accessible city from both within and outwith the UK.
Edinburgh is a fairly cosmopolitan city. It’s large enough to host a variety of entertainments and activities but not so large that it feels unfriendly and impersonal. It’s an easy city to get on with, but a hard one to leave.
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