The Student’s guide to Edinburgh’s sportiest neighbourhoods

While Edinburgh’s professional sports venues are well-known, from the formidable fortress of Scottish rugby that is BT Murrayfield to Hibs’ central Easter Road home, it is less easy for students to know where is best to live in Edinburgh to feed into this sporting community. Luckily for those starting to sweat on the best location for next year’s flat, The Student has made a definitive list of where is best to live a sport-filled university life.

Marchmont

This popular student area is much more than the large Victorian living rooms and cobbled streets that the estate agents try to sell to you. Its greatest selling point is its location, not only for its proximity to George Square, but for the thriving sporting opportunities. The area is ideal for keen running enthusiasts, with the Meadows providing a beautiful route for morning runs – especially for those early risers who get up for sunrise. The Meadows is also home to many intramural sports teams’ weekly training sessions, offering opportunities to play anything from rugby and football to ultimate frisbee within easy walking distance of your flat.

If these delights don’t give enough of a reason to move to this affluent neighbourhood then there is also the gem of the Warrender Swim Centre on Thirlestane Road, which was built in 1887 in a stunning B-listed building. With a student swimming membership available from £25 a month, the pool offers a classier option for getting fit in Scotland’s oldest swimming club.

Newington

Although Newington’s many takeaway restaurants, bars and shops may seem counterproductive to a healthy lifestyle, the area can be a particularly appealing one to the sporty student. While still within walking distance of the Meadows and George Square, Newington’s biggest sporting pull is the fabulous Pleasance gym. The university’s fantastic sports complex offers a whole range of different opportunities so that everyone can find an activity that appeals to them.

If lifting weights is your thing, then you won’t be disappointed with Pleasance’s facilities. It offers three gyms with free weights, one of which is of high enough quality to be described as the ‘Olympic’ gym and to regularly attract visiting professional sports teams.

For those more interested in cardiovascular exercises there are a range of classes, ranging from classics such as Body Pump and Spinning, to more unusual groups such as Cardio Street Funk.

There are also four squash courts, three areas to practice martial arts, and a table tennis table, meaning that, if you can avoid KFC on your way to Pleasance, Newington can be a sporting hotbed to live in.

Peffermill

Although not the most central of locations, Peffermill offers ample opportunity for community and grassroots sport.

Home to the University of Edinburgh’s Peffermill playing fields, Peffermill offers numerous pitches. Top-notch artificial turf for both 5-a-side football and 11s, is in addition to regular grass, all-sport pitches. This is without mentioning the accommodations for lacrosse and cricket in the summer.

As referred to earlier, the location is not the most central, however it is still accessible via bicycle and bus.

All in all, Peffermill offers perhaps the widest expanse of sporting opportunities in the city, yet at the cost of living in a central location.

Leith

The northern location of Leith is never the most desired living destination, yet it does represent a potential hidden gem of opportunity for students looking to get active or enjoy sport.

With the Scottish Premier League club, Hibernian, calling the nearby Easter Road home, there is rarely a week you’ll not find a sporting event to witness.

The 20,000 capacity venue, built in 1893, is a prime opportunity to witness football in one of its most natural states, with non-stop singing from the stands.

Looking to get active? Look no further than Alien Rock 2 for a brilliant time rock climbing, or the Leith Victoria Swimming Centre.

Image courtesy of John Lord

Written with Sebastian Jedrzejewski and published in The Student on 31st January 2018

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