Tell me everything about living in Edinburgh, Scotland
February 1, 2005 7:19 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan my new life in Edinburgh. (Flats? Jobs? Banks? Internet? Insurance? Fun?)

I realize that I have a lot of questions, but I'm about to embark on an adventure, and the questions are what makes it fun.

Tomorrow I fly from Canada to Edinburgh, where I and a friend will be living, permanently, for the foreseeable future. Although I was born in Stirling, I've lived in Ottawa and Montreal for most of my life. But it's time for a change, and after visiting, Edinburgh has dazzled and seduced me.

I'm a dual Canadian-UK citizen, so residency isn't a problem, but google's not being helpful when it comes to several of these issues. Any help would be very, very, very much appreciated - and I apologize for asking so much.

First of all - where should we look for listings of flats to let? A friend recommended Letting Web and ESPC... Are there any other good online sites? (I see that there's a Craig's List, but it seems rather dead.) What about offline? Do any papers have good listings for cheap flats? Or are there useful bulletin boards somewhere?

More than that, though - which neighbourhoods should we be looking at? Both of us are poor, but we're not students (which, I understand, impacts council tax and where we're allowed to live). Marchmount (is that right?) has been mentioned to us, and the seedier bits of Bruntsfield, but where else would be appropriate? We're both happy walkers, but rather dislike buses and cars - I'd like to be able to walk to the center of town, rather than relying on a bus from the east end. (Walking distance from Arthur's Seat would also be a bonus.)

Next - a job. I'm a recent uni grad (english, basically), and my "real" plan is to start work on a novel. But while I do that, obviously, I need to pay the rent. Since I'm willing to live frugally, I'd prefer to find part-time work - but in that case I'll need better than minimum wage. Ideally, as I'll be writing in my spare time, I'd rather do something unrelated, and less creatively taxing.

I have experience in government (programs/policy/office stuff), a little tech writing, and lots of computer/web skills (gmail swap, etc), although that doesn't extend to programming or full-fledged web-design. I'd be content enough doing office grunt-work, data entry, or whatever - but I may need to aim higher if I need more than five pound an hour.

Anyway, does it make sense to apply to a temp agency (which?), or to scour a jobs site/paper (which?). I don't have any feeling for the Edinburgh job market.

Internet. Are there any really awesome sources of free wireless? And if not, since we have some money squirrelled away, which are the recommended ISPs for broadband?

Home insurance. We'd like to be insured, as we have computers and CDs and stuff, but the value of our bump isn't overly high - does anyone have any recommendations?

Banks. Sadly, I'll need a bank. Any positive or negative experiences? In Canada, I used a normal bank - TD - in conjunction with ING for savings. Is the same plausible there, with whatever european ING equivalent?

Miscellanea. Anything else I should know? Big thrift stores for clothes and furniture? Amazing record shops other than Fopp and Avalanche? Great upcoming gigs? Secrets to the city? Reasons why Edinburgh's better than Glasgow?

Thanks so much for any help.
posted by Marquis to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
email Sgt. Serenity--he's there and can probably help. : >
posted by amberglow at 8:16 PM on February 1, 2005

There are no reasons: it isn't.

For everything else, in short:

Flats: rightmove and s1homes.

Where: Ask the Sgt. But if you're heading for Edinburgh get used to buses ;)

Job: There are plenty of papers in both Edinburgh and Glasgow looking for subs if you think you can turn your hand to it.

Internet: None free that I know of. If your flat has cable, get your broadband from them. If not, you'll need a BT phoneline, and then I've yet to hear bad things about as the ISP. I use em.

Insurance: The Royal Bank of Scotland does good stuff ...

Bank: ... and are probably the only bank my friends will tolerate.

Miscellena: You should've chosen Glasgow. ;)

Feel free to email with followups.
posted by bonaldi at 8:43 PM on February 1, 2005

hmm. what did I do wrong there? is the address.
posted by bonaldi at 8:44 PM on February 1, 2005

BTW, the brand for the home insurance is Direct Line, which I forgot you wouldn't know.
posted by bonaldi at 8:46 PM on February 1, 2005

Miscellena: You should've chosen Glasgow. ;)

Having spent all of 72 hours (seperately) in both cities, I'm inclined to agree with that. Yet, since you seem to know record stores (unsurprising) and all that, I'll refrain from the typical touristy suggestions in Edinburgh. Best of luck to you though, Marquis.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:38 PM on February 1, 2005

Firstly, don't know if you saw this last week, but someone else asked for fun stuff to do in Glasgow/Edinburgh.

Secondly, Edinburgh is a wonderful place, ignore the Glasgow 'snobs'.

I think you're on the right track with housing. Both the places you mention would be good to live in, there's also The Meadows (although I think that might be part of the areas you've describes). I know a couple of people with flats in the direction of Leith, and I think there might be a glut of new-ish apartments down that way, so you might get a good deal, but I'm not at all sure.

Telewest Broadband
(cable) cover Edinburgh, so if your flat has it, get that - they aren't the cheapest, but they're very reliable. Otherwise, there's a million companies who'll provide broadband over a phone line, check out ADSL Guide.

This is the only Scottish job website I know. I wouldn't have thought that you'd have any problem getting a slightly-better-than-average-pay admin job in Edinburgh, but I'm no expert.

I would also recommend the Royal Bank of Scotland - the Bank of Scotland (similar name, totally different operation) has gone to shit since it merged with a different bank about a year ago.

Insurance, I use CIS insurance, who always give me quote that are a third cheaper than any other company. Additionally, they're a co-operative, which I think is vaguely good.

Do you need another record shop after Fopp and Avalanche? Ripping Records is not that good, but it's a better place to buy gig tickets than the Virgin Megastore.

Key to the city? I would say wrap up warm - I go to the city about 3 times a year (going next week, in fact), and I always forget that it's about 5 degrees colder than every other British city south of it. But you're from Canada so will probably be better prepared for it.

Fun things coming up? Go see a six nations rugby game at Murrayfield, there's still tickets available. Scotland v Wales will have a great atmosphere. Edinburgh's not quite as good as Glasgow for gigs, but there's not much distance between the cities, and I bet you'll find something good.

Best of Scottish luck.
posted by ascullion at 6:50 AM on February 2, 2005

and do tell us when you get here ... there's a MeFi meetup in the making here.
posted by bonaldi at 7:31 AM on February 2, 2005

Response by poster: thanks so much to everyone who's said a few words! the plane leaves in 5 hours [excitement!]
posted by Marquis at 8:21 AM on February 2, 2005

The Scotsman has their classifieds online and searchable here but I don't know how good it is. I look through it every once in a while to daydream about library jobs in Edinburgh, and I usually find one or two relevant things.
posted by librarina at 10:18 AM on February 2, 2005

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