Edinburgh voted best city in the UK for quality of life – but why?

Edinburgh is rather like the experience of visiting your Granny’s house. Firstly, a welcoming hug of traditional comfort. Her rather aged, but always ridiculously well-kept appearance impresses the regular visitor. You know your way around Granny’s house too easily, you know where she keeps the biscuits and the beautiful vintage clothes.

It is a house that is proudly the hub of families from all over and lives off the buzz of hosting, yet will always offer that pure stillness and subtle calm that is simply found nowhere else. The more you take the time to listen to her many stories from ‘back in the day,’ and slowly discover her unique ‘nooks and crannies,’ it is then that you really feel at home. But better than home, she allows you to get up to mischief by turning a blind eye and perhaps giving a little wink to you in the process.

Having been voted the best city in the UK for quality of life and with economic growth on the constant rise, Edinburgh is becoming increasingly recognised as a city with so much to offer. The Scotsman sum up why Edinburgh has such a desirable way of life, stating that it is a “consistent all- rounder”. For both visitors and citizens alike, Edinburgh has short commute distances, a convenient and thriving high street and a mix of both city life and countryside greenery.

Every year Edinburgh hosts the largest arts festival in the world, where the city undergoes a transformation of the most weird and wonderful kind; comedians down every pub basement, dancers and acrobats up, down and everywhere and actors, well, they know you’re going to their show before you even do. These events all make up the world-renowned Fringe Festival. The ‘nooks and crannies’ are amplified and embraced as this eccentric buzz pours through the city.

The Fringe Festival is not the only internationally reputable event to take note of. The Film Festival starts off the creative summer, with the Book Festival also accompanying The Fringe in August. The fast approaching Samhuinn Fire Festival at Calton Hill will take place on October 31 and by the time the cold really sets in, Christmas infects the streets of Edinburgh in the best possible way.

Yes, this means the Christmas markets are soon to be blessing Princes St Gardens with the old familiar warmth of mulled wine, melted French cheese and homemade gifts, that you never knew you needed, until you see the fake snow stall. And just when the post-Christmas blues are starting to loom over your mood, Edinburgh celebrates the start of the New Year the only way they know how to, with a Hogmanay street party flooding down Princes street and into the gardens to hear this year’s headliner, Mark Ronson.

But although Edinburgh’s festivals are what first comes to mind, there are many activities which cost nothing at all. There are not many cities where you can take yourself down to the Botanical Gardens in Stockbridge, move along to the fairy-tale story that is Dean Village and then find yourself surrounded by the greenery and scenic views on Arthurs Seat. We are blessed with the Meadows and its beautiful seasonal beauty. Such greenery is framed with the ancient architecture that Edinburgh is most famously known for, oh and there’s the castle.

The city holds a great range of art exhibitions and permanent collections; the Modern Art Gallery One and Two are always worth a visit. Within the city starting from Leith, right up and over to the Cowgate, the music scene is thriving and extremely varied.

It is no wonder Edinburgh has increasingly become a city that people are proud to call ‘home.’ It has the feel and warmth of a town, whilst offering the opportunities and buzz of a city. The city is a diverse, beautiful and stimulating place to live which explains why its quality of life is just so desirable.

Illustration: Charlotte Henderson

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The Student Newspaper 2016