The City of Edinburgh, Coast and Countryside

Edinburgh and the surrounding area is an ideal location for student years.

As a student at QMU you will have easy access to Scotland’s beautiful and vibrant capital city, Edinburgh, and also the stunning coast and countryside surrounding the campus.


Situated in the central belt of Scotland, south of the Firth of Forth Estuary, Edinburgh is easily accessible from all areas of the UK and beyond. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and continues to rank high in opinion polls (see Recent Edinburgh accolades below). It is a top tourist destination, particularly in the summer months when the city comes alive and plays host to the acclaimed Edinburgh Festivals. The Fringe Festival is particularly enjoyed by students in the city who embrace the month-long spectacle of comedy, music, drama and art. Late December is also a popular time for visitors to ‘Auld Reekie’ as they come to experience a Scottish New Year at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations — now one of the world’s biggest outdoor parties!

With four universities and a large further education college, the city is highly populated by students and is very student friendly. Much of the culture and activity of the city is focused around student life, with students able to share some facilities — such as student unions and libraries — that each institution has to offer. Part-time job opportunities and graduate job opportunities are excellent and many students choose to remain in Edinburgh or the local area during holidays and after graduating.

Edinburgh is atmospheric and vibrant, with all you’d expect from a capital city: packed with shops, cinemas, theatres, restaurants, pubs, clubs, supermarkets, museums, tourist attractions, landmarks, art galleries, concert venues, parks and sports facilities etc. The city is also home to Edinburgh Castle. Dating back to the 12th century, the spectacular landmark sits in the city centre on the top of a dormant volcano. The city is also home to the Scottish Parliament.

The campus local area

The campus is located to the east of Edinburgh city centre by the coastal town of Musselburgh, in the county of East Lothian. Musselburgh has a population of around 22,000 and offers a theatre, sports centre with swimming pool, supermarkets and shops, a racecourse, golf courses, a harbour and beach, restaurants and bars, a public library and a peaceful riverside. The campus is only a short walk or bus ride to Fort Kinnaird, a large outdoor shopping complex offering high street chain stores, restaurants and a multiplex cinema. There are also several supermarkets in the immediate vicinity. QMU has National Cycle Route 1 running past it which allows a safe and easy cycle into the city centre in only 30 minutes.

East Lothian is a beautiful county with over 40 miles of stunning coastline, golden beaches, rolling countryside, historic sites, award-winning attractions, excellent food and drink and the world’s finest links golf courses. East Lothian enjoys the sunniest climate in Scotland, great local produce, spectacular natural beauty and year-round recreational opportunities including cycling, walking, horse riding, golfing and surfing. The university offers cheap bike hire for students, making it easier to explore.

The campus is also just 20 minutes’ bus journey from Portobello, Edinburgh’s beach, with its independent boutiques, cosy pubs, hipster coffee shops, and the Victorian grandeur of Portobello Baths, which has one of the only original and still-functioning Turkish baths in the country.

A hop, skip and jump to the wider world

Transport links to Edinburgh are excellent – you can easily head north to spend a weekend skiing or hill-walking. You are only 45 minutes from Glasgow, or four hours from London by train. In the city centre, the bus services are extensive, providing frequent links in and around the city. Air links are convenient and widespread – it takes just over an hour to get to Paris, Dublin or Amsterdam. You can check out which destinations you can fly to from Edinburgh airport.

Recent Edinburgh accolades

  • 1st Best city (UK) for students to live and study — Liberty Living Survey, 2018
  • 1st Best British City — Top 20 Travel destinations —Telegraph Travel Awards, 2017
  • 1st Best place to live in the UK — Hot Housing Index, Property Week, 2017
  • 1st The healthiest high street in the UK — The Royal Society for Public Health, 2018
  • 1st Most liveable city in the World — Arcadis’ 2018 Sustainable Cities Index
  • 1st Top UK City (best prospects for economic growth) — The UK Vitality Index, 2019
  • 1st The UK’s most attractive city to live and work — Royal Mail, 2018
  • 1st Britain’s best city to visit - Top 20 travel destinations — Telegraph Travel Awards, 2018

Edinburgh - a city of events, attractions and festivals

Scotland’s capital has to be one of the best places to be in the world if you want to enjoy special events and festivals. It truly has something for everyone.

When you’re not studying, why not immerse yourself in the pleasures of this cultural capital. Events for 2021 have not yet been confirmed, but a number of events already confirmed for 2020 (with more added by the day) will give you a flavour of what Edinburgh has to offer.


  • Warm up your January by taking part in Edinburgh’s world famous Hogmanay celebrations and celebrate the life of the internationally acclaimed Scottish poet Robert Burns.
  • Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations run until early January and include fun leisure activities, theatrical performances and beautiful stalls in Princes Street Gardens.
  • Edinburgh’s Hogmanay (31 December) is one of the world’s largest New Year celebrations taking place over a significant area within central Edinburgh. Bring in the New Year with your new university friends while listening to the music in Princes Street gardens and watching the fireworks at the Castle.
  • Burns Night, on 25 January, is another highlight of the Scottish calendar. Take part in a Burns Supper, which celebrates the life, poetry and songs of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns. Burns was the author of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Typically, at a Burns Supper you’ll have the opportunity to sample some haggis and enjoy a wee dram of whisky!
  • BANFF Mountain Film Festival World Tour
  • Edinburgh Chinese New Year


  • Brighten up a cold February with a trip to Edinburgh Castle or the National Museum of Scotland with its 8,000 treasures waiting to be discovered.
  • Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival
  • Capital Sci Fi Con 2020
  • Disney’s The Lion King (musical)
  • Rugby: Scotland v England
  • Markets and Fairs A wide variety of markets and fairs take place in Edinburgh through the year. These sell artisan foods and gifts, as well as vintage and craft goods.


  • March is a busy time of year for festivals. There is also the Six Nations rugby tournament.
  • Wee Dub Festival, Scotland’s biggest celebration of reggae, dub and sound system culture
  • Rugby: Scotland v France
  • Meadow’s Marathon (Half, 10k, 5k)


  • A warm day in April is also a good time to take  a city bus tour
  • Edinburgh International Science Festival
  • Beltane Fire Festival
  • Edinburgh Comic Con 2020
  • Prosecco and Gin Festival


  • Whisky month is celebrated throughout the month of May 
  • Edinburgh Marathon Festival


  • Highlights include the Royal Highland Show and the Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • Leith Festival
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • Let’s Rock Scotland Festival
  • Royal Highland Show
  • Edinburgh Pride

July/August - Edinburgh's busiest festival month

  • Edinburgh Art Festival
  • Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, held in the Castle Esplanade
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of the world’s largest arts events, the Festival stages more than 2,000 shows in hundreds of theatres
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
  • Summer Sessions - Tom Jones, Lionel Richie, Michael Kiwanuka, The 1975, McFly, Simple Minds and Travis are all set to headline at Edinburgh Summer Sessions across 8th - 20th August!


  • Doors Open Day — get free access to hundreds of fascinating buildings across Edinburgh and Scotland
  • Kiltwalk Edinburgh


  • Comic Con Scotland


  • Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations

The following gallery Images of Edinburgh have been sourced from the site 'This is Edinburgh.' 

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