The West End of Edinburgh, Scotland, forms a large part of the city centre. It boasts several of the city’s hotels, restaurants, independent shops, offices and arts venues, including the Edinburgh Filmhouse, Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the Caledonian Hotel. The area also hosts art festivals and crafts fairs.
The northern half of the West End forms part of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site. As can be inferred by its inclusion in this, this area of the city contains many buildings of great architectural beauty, primarily long rows and crescents of Georgian terraced houses.
The West End is home to a large number of offices, shops, restaurants, bars and cultural venues. The Edinburgh International Conference Centre is located in the West End in the Exchange District, a regenerated business district that opened in the mid 1990s. Large employers in the West End include Standard Life, whose headquarters is located on the western side of Lothian Road.
The West End contains several consulates and High Commissions, including those of Germany (on Eglinton Crescent), Switzerland (on Manor Place), Turkey (on Drumsheugh Gardens), India, Norway and New Zealand (on Rutland Square), and Italy, Russia and Taiwan (on Melville Street).The West End has several hotels and hostels, including the Bonham (on Drumsheugh Gardens), the Edinburgh Grosvenor (on Grosvenor Street), the Guards Hotel, and the Haymarket Hub hotel (on Haymarket Street), and the Thistle Hotel (on Manor Place).
Georgian town houses seen along Stafford Street in the West End. The West End has a heritage trail that includes signs exploring famous places and residents of the West End.
The West End contains several parks and gardens but the majority are in private ownership. Private green areas include Drumsheugh Gardens (named after the Earl of Moray’s home Drumsheugh, later part of the Moray Estate), Rothesay Terrace Gardens, Rutland Square, and Eglinton and Glencairn Crescents’ Gardens (opened 1877).
Atholl Crescent Gardens (sometimes known as Coates Crescent Gardens) are public communal gardens laid out in a two crescent form in the 1820s, divided by Shandwick Place. The gardens contain a large memorial statue of William Ewart Gladstone by James Pittendrigh Macgillivray. The statue was unveiled in Edinburgh in 1917 and moved to its present location in 1955. Rutland Square is a private square gardens completed in the 1830s.
The West End Medical Practice is the local GP surgery under NHS Scotland. Designed by Page\Park Architects, the practice opened in 2014 in a new purpose built complex at a cost of £4 million.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art lies on the far north-western edge of the West End, adjacent to Deans. The Gallery is split across two buildings; the former John Watson’s Institution known as Modern One and Modern Two in a former orphan hospital.
Haymarket station is in the West End and the main railway station for the area. The station opened in 1842 and was the original terminus of the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway. However, as the line was extended it became an intermediate station on the extension to Princes Street Railway Station and later Edinburgh Waverley. An extensive refurbishment of Haymarket Station, with the addition of a new concourse and entrance was completed in 2013.
The island tram stop at Coates Crescent on Shandwick Place was named West End – Princes Street prior to opening at the request of local traders. As this stop sits on a switching point, it can act as an eastern terminus when Princes Street is closed to traffic. The Princes Street suffix was dropped in 2019 and the stop is now known as West End.
The Shandwick Place / Maitland Street corridor is well-served by Lothian Buses and other operators with destinations outwith Edinburgh.
All buses eastwards go to Princes Street, where there are easy links to the Lothian Road corridor. Westward routes split at Haymarket: either to the Gorgie / Dalry district or westwards to Roseburn, Murrayfield and Corstorphine.