Is Edinburgh or Glasgow more expensive?

When considering a move to Scotland, one of the most common dilemmas is choosing between its two largest cities: Edinburgh and Glasgow. Both are vibrant urban centres with distinct personalities and offerings. However, the cost of living can be a deciding factor for many. In this article, we delve into a comprehensive comparison of expenses ranging from housing to entertainment, and employment to education, to determine which city is more expensive to live in.

Key Takeaways

  • Edinburgh generally has higher housing and rental prices compared to Glasgow, reflecting its status as the capital city.
  • Utility bills and internet costs are relatively similar in both cities, but slight regional variations may apply.
  • Groceries and everyday shopping expenses are marginally more expensive in Edinburgh, while Glasgow offers more budget-friendly options.
  • Transportation expenses in Glasgow are lower due to a comprehensive network of buses and a subway system, whereas Edinburgh relies more on buses and trams.
  • While Edinburgh boasts higher average salaries, Glasgow’s more affordable cost of living may balance out the overall expenses for residents.

Cost of Living Comparison

Cost of Living Comparison

Housing and Rental Prices

When comparing the cost of housing between Edinburgh and Glasgow, there is a noticeable difference. Edinburgh generally boasts higher property and rental prices due to its status as the capital and its appeal to tourists and professionals alike. Glasgow, while still offering a range of accommodation options, is often more affordable, making it a popular choice for students and young professionals.

In Edinburgh, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is approximately
GBP 850, whereas in Glasgow, a similar property might cost around GBP 650. For those looking to buy, the average price per square metre to purchase an apartment in the city centre is significantly higher in Edinburgh.

Transportation costs can also influence the overall affordability of living in either city. While not directly related to housing, the availability of efficient bus, car rental, and Uber services between Glasgow and Edinburgh can affect the decision-making process for potential residents. Options include trains, buses, and taxis, and it’s important to consider cost, availability, and distance before choosing.

Utility Bills and Internet Costs

When comparing the cost of utilities between Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s important to consider the average monthly expenses for electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage. Edinburgh tends to have slightly higher utility bills than Glasgow, reflecting the overall cost of living in the capital city. However, internet costs are quite comparable, with only minor differences depending on the service provider and package chosen.

Expense Edinburgh Glasgow
Electricity & Heating £80 – £120 £75 – £115
Water & Garbage £30 – £50 £25 – £45
Internet (60 Mbps) £25 – £40 £25 – £40

The choice of utility provider and the efficiency of home appliances can significantly affect these costs, making it possible for residents to manage and reduce their monthly bills.

Transportation costs, including taxi services like Uber, can also impact monthly expenditures. In Glasgow, Uber pricing is influenced by a variety of factors, which can lead to fluctuating costs for residents and visitors alike.

Groceries and Everyday Shopping

When comparing the cost of groceries and everyday items, Edinburgh and Glasgow show noticeable differences. Edinburgh generally has a higher cost for day-to-day items compared to Glasgow. This can be attributed to the overall higher cost of living in the capital city. However, it’s important to note that prices can vary depending on the retailer and the area within the city.

For a more detailed look, consider the average cost of a basket of goods in both cities:

Item Edinburgh Glasgow
Loaf of Bread £1.10 £1.05
Milk (1 litre) £0.89 £0.85
Eggs (dozen) £2.20 £2.10
Chicken Breasts (1kg) £7.50 £7.00

While the differences may seem minor on individual items, they can add up over time, especially for families and individuals on a tight budget. In Glasgow, the savings on groceries can be significant for those who shop smartly, taking advantage of local markets and discount stores.

The choice of supermarket chains and local markets can greatly influence the overall shopping bill, with some stores offering more competitive prices than others.

Transportation Expenses

When comparing the transportation costs between Edinburgh and Glasgow, one must consider various factors such as public transport fares, the cost of owning a vehicle, and the price of taxis or ride-sharing services. Edinburgh’s public transport system is renowned for its extensive network and reliability, but it may come at a slightly higher cost compared to Glasgow.

Glasgow, on the other hand, offers a more affordable subway system, which is particularly cost-effective for daily commuters. Below is a comparison of standard monthly travel card costs in both cities:

City Monthly Travel Card Cost
Edinburgh £55
Glasgow £50

While individual ticket prices are relatively similar, frequent travellers will find monthly passes to be a more economical option in the long run.

For those who prefer driving, it’s important to note that parking fees and fuel costs can significantly affect overall transportation expenses. Edinburgh typically has higher parking charges, which can add up for residents and visitors alike.

Eating Out and Entertainment

Eating Out and Entertainment

Restaurant Prices

When comparing restaurant prices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, it is evident that dining out can be more expensive in the capital city. While both cities offer a diverse culinary scene, Edinburgh’s upscale restaurants tend to have higher price points. In contrast, Glasgow boasts a vibrant street food culture, providing affordable options for casual dining. For those seeking a fine dining experience, Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred establishments command premium prices, reflecting the city’s reputation for gastronomic excellence.

Cinema and Theatre Tickets

When it comes to cultural outings, the cost of cinema and theatre tickets can vary significantly between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Edinburgh’s historic playhouses and cinemas often charge a premium, reflecting the city’s status as a hub for the arts. In contrast, Glasgow’s vibrant scene offers more competitive pricing, especially for independent and arthouse venues.

Ticket prices for mainstream cinema releases are generally comparable, with standard adult tickets ranging from

Venue Type Edinburgh ( extsterling) Glasgow ( extsterling)
Mainstream Cinema 10 – 14 9 – 13
Independent Cinema 8 – 12 7 – 11
Theatre 20 – 60 18 – 55

However, for those seeking the thrill of live theatre, prices can escalate quickly depending on the show’s popularity and the seating area. It’s worth noting that both cities offer discounts for students, seniors, and during off-peak times.

While both cities provide a rich tapestry of cinematic and theatrical experiences, the choice between Edinburgh and Glasgow may come down to personal preference and the type of experience one is seeking.

Pubs and Nightlife

When comparing the nightlife of Edinburgh and Glasgow, one can’t help but notice the vibrant and diverse options available in both cities. Glasgow is renowned for its live music scene, with numerous venues hosting local and international acts. Edinburgh, while slightly more subdued, offers a range of traditional pubs and upscale bars that cater to a more relaxed evening out.

Costs for a night out can vary significantly depending on the choice of venue and the specific area within each city. For instance, a pint of beer in a central Glasgow pub may be cheaper than one in Edinburgh’s tourist-heavy areas. However, both cities have establishments that offer budget-friendly options for those looking to enjoy the nightlife without breaking the bank.

The atmosphere in both cities’ nightlife districts is electric, with plenty of options to suit all tastes and budgets.

Here’s a quick comparison of average prices for a night out in both cities:

Item Edinburgh Glasgow
Pint of Beer £4.50 £4.00
Cocktail £8.00 £7.00
Club Entry £10.00 £8.00

Cultural and Recreational Activities

When it comes to cultural and recreational activities, both Edinburgh and Glasgow offer a plethora of options to residents and visitors alike. Edinburgh is renowned for its festivals, particularly the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which is the largest arts festival in the world. Glasgow counters with its vibrant music scene and the acclaimed Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Costs for such activities can vary widely. In Edinburgh, ticket prices for the Fringe can range from free to upwards of \-50, depending on the show. Glasgow’s music events also offer a spectrum of pricing, with smaller gigs often being more affordable than larger concerts. Both cities provide free access to many museums and galleries, making cultural enrichment accessible to all.

While both cities are competitive in their offerings, the choice between Edinburgh and Glasgow may come down to personal preferences in the arts and entertainment sectors.

Below is a comparison of average costs for common cultural activities in both cities:

Activity Edinburgh Average Cost Glasgow Average Cost
Theatre Ticket \-30 \-25
Live Music Gig \-20 \-15
Museum Donation \-5 \-5
Art Exhibition Entry \-10 \-8

Employment and Income Levels

Employment and Income Levels

Average Salaries

When considering the cost of living in Edinburgh and Glasgow, average salaries play a pivotal role. In Edinburgh, the financial sector and tech startups contribute to higher average incomes, while Glasgow’s diverse economy offers a range of salaries across various industries.

Edinburgh typically boasts higher salary figures, reflecting its status as the capital and a hub for financial services. However, Glasgow’s regeneration efforts and growing creative industries are beginning to close the gap. The table below provides a snapshot of the average salaries in both cities:

Job Sector Edinburgh Average Salary (") Glasgow Average Salary (")
Finance 35,000 32,000
Tech 40,000 37,000
Creative 25,000 24,000

The disparity in earnings is also influenced by the cost of living, with Edinburgh generally being more expensive, which can offset the higher salaries.

Exploring the earnings and factors influencing taxi drivers in Glasgow, including regulations, fare structures, working hours, competition, expenses, and additional income opportunities, can provide insights into the broader job market dynamics.

Job Market Overview

Edinburgh and Glasgow both offer vibrant job markets, each with its own strengths and sectors of prominence. Edinburgh’s job market is buoyed by its strong financial services sector, with many banks and investment firms headquartered in the city. Additionally, the public sector and the burgeoning tech industry contribute significantly to employment opportunities.

Glasgow’s economy, on the other hand, is noted for its diversity, with a mix of traditional industries and modern services. The city has seen growth in sectors such as creative industries, life sciences, and tourism. Both cities benefit from their respective universities, which not only provide employment but also foster innovation and start-up culture.

Employment rates in Edinburgh have traditionally been higher than Glasgow’s, reflecting the different economic landscapes of the two cities. The City of Edinburgh’s employment rate was higher than across Scotland as a whole in the year ending September 2023, indicating a robust job market. However, Glasgow’s regeneration efforts and investment in infrastructure have begun to close this gap, making the city an increasingly attractive place for job seekers.

The job market in both cities is dynamic, with opportunities for skilled professionals across various sectors. While Edinburgh leads in financial and tech jobs, Glasgow’s diverse economy provides a wide range of employment options.

Part-time Work Opportunities

Edinburgh and Glasgow offer a variety of part-time work opportunities, catering to students, working parents, and those seeking additional income. Edinburgh, with its bustling tourist industry, often has a higher demand for part-time workers in the hospitality and retail sectors. Glasgow, on the other hand, has a vibrant arts scene and a growing number of start-ups, which can provide unique part-time roles.

Flexibility is key when considering part-time work, and both cities offer jobs with varying hours to accommodate different schedules. It’s important to note that wages for part-time jobs may differ slightly between the two cities, reflecting the general cost of living and demand for certain roles.

In terms of student employment, both cities boast large student populations, which means competition for part-time jobs can be intense during term time.

Here’s a quick overview of the types of part-time jobs commonly found in Edinburgh and Glasgow:

  • Retail assistants
  • Baristas and waiting staff
  • Tour guides and event staff
  • Customer service representatives
  • Administrative and office support

While the availability of part-time work is relatively similar in both cities, the experience and opportunities gained can be quite distinct, influenced by the unique character and economic focus of each location.

Education and Childcare Costs

Education and Childcare Costs

School Fees and University Tuition

When comparing the costs of education in Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s essential to consider both school fees and university tuition. Edinburgh is renowned for its prestigious private schools and universities, which can come with a higher price tag. In contrast, Glasgow offers a range of more affordable educational institutions, though it also has its share of esteemed establishments.

University tuition fees for both domestic and international students tend to be comparable in both cities, as they are regulated by the Scottish Government. However, additional costs such as student services and facility fees may vary. Here’s a brief overview of the average annual tuition fees for undergraduate courses:

Institution Type Edinburgh Glasgow
Public University £1,820 £1,820
Private University £9,000 – £31,000 £9,000 – £31,000
College £1,200 £1,200

It’s important to note that Scottish and EU students may have their tuition fees covered by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), significantly reducing the financial burden.

For families considering private schooling, the fees can vary widely depending on the school’s reputation and facilities. While both cities boast a selection of high-quality private schools, Edinburgh’s historical reputation as a hub for elite education often translates into higher fees.

Childcare Services and Costs

When it comes to raising a family in either Edinburgh or Glasgow, the cost of childcare services is a significant factor for many parents. Edinburgh generally has higher childcare costs compared to Glasgow, reflecting the overall higher cost of living in the capital. However, both cities offer a range of options from private nurseries to council-supported childcare facilities.

Childcare costs can vary widely depending on the type of service and the age of the child. For instance, full-time nursery care for a toddler may be more expensive than after-school clubs for older children. Below is a table illustrating the average monthly costs for different childcare services in both cities:

Service Type Edinburgh Average Glasgow Average
Nursery (Full-time) £1,200 £1,000
After-school Club £300 £250
Nanny (Part-time) £800 £650

It’s important to note that many parents are eligible for government assistance to help with these expenses, which can significantly reduce the out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, the Scottish Government provides funded childcare hours for all 3 and 4-year-olds, as well as eligible 2-year-olds, which can further alleviate the financial burden.

While both cities strive to provide quality childcare, the choice between Edinburgh and Glasgow may come down to balancing the cost with other lifestyle preferences and employment opportunities.

Extracurricular Activities

When comparing the costs of extracurricular activities in Edinburgh and Glasgow, parents and students will find a variety of options available, each with its own pricing structure. Edinburgh often boasts a wider range of activities, due to its numerous festivals and cultural events, which can influence the overall cost.

Extracurricular activities are not just limited to sports and music; they also include arts, language classes, and specialised clubs. Below is a table outlining the average costs for common activities in both cities:

Activity Edinburgh (Average Cost) Glasgow (Average Cost)
Football Club £50 per month £45 per month
Music Lessons £30 per session £25 per session
Dance Classes £40 per month £35 per month
Art Workshops £20 per session £18 per session

While the costs are somewhat comparable, Edinburgh’s position as a cultural hub can lead to higher demand and prices for certain activities. It’s important to consider the quality and frequency of the activities when evaluating the expenses.

In both cities, there are opportunities for children to receive discounts or scholarships for extracurricular activities, which can significantly reduce the financial burden on families.

Property Market and Investment

Property Market and Investment

Buying Property

When it comes to buying property, Edinburgh generally boasts higher prices compared to Glasgow. The Office for National Statistics reports that the average house price in Edinburgh was

£326,000 in January 2024 (provisional), up 5.4% from January 2023.

This was a steeper increase than the overall rise in Scotland, which stood at 4.8%. Investors and potential homeowners should consider the long-term trends and economic factors that influence property values in both cities.

City Average House Price Yearly Increase
Edinburgh £326,000 5.4%
Glasgow £248,000 4.2%

While Glasgow offers more affordable options, Edinburgh’s property market is often seen as more robust, with a consistent demand that drives prices upward. However, both cities present unique opportunities and challenges for property investment.

Rental Investment Returns

In the realm of property investment, Edinburgh has traditionally offered robust rental yields, particularly in areas popular with students and young professionals. Glasgow, while slightly behind, is catching up rapidly, with certain districts showing significant potential for growth.

Edinburgh’s average rental yield stands at 5.5%, while Glasgow’s is close behind at 5.1%. These figures reflect a competitive market, with both cities offering attractive opportunities for investors. The choice between the two may come down to long-term strategies and the investor’s appetite for risk.

Location is a key factor in determining the success of a rental investment. Here’s a quick comparison of average rental yields in different districts within Edinburgh and Glasgow:

District Edinburgh (%) Glasgow (%)
City Centre 6.0 5.8
Suburbs 5.2 5.0
Student Areas 6.5 6.0

Investors should consider the implications of ongoing developments and local economic factors that could influence future rental yields in both cities.

Future Market Predictions

When considering the future of the property market in Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s essential to navigate the complexities of economic forecasts and urban development plans. The volatility of the market can be influenced by various factors, from political changes to global economic shifts.

  • Edinburgh is expected to see a steady increase in property values, thanks to its strong tourist appeal and status as a cultural hub.
  • Glasgow, with its extensive regeneration projects, may experience a more dynamic growth pattern.

Both cities are poised for growth, but the trajectory may differ based on localised demand and investment.

Predicting the future of property prices involves understanding ongoing trends and potential market disruptors. While precise predictions are challenging, analysts suggest that both cities will remain attractive to investors, with Edinburgh leading in terms of stability and Glasgow in potential returns.

Navigating the property market and making sound investments can be complex, but our comprehensive guide on ‘Property Market and Investment’ simplifies it for you. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or taking your first step into property investment, our insights and tips will help you make informed decisions. Visit our website for expert advice and stay ahead in the ever-evolving property landscape. Take the first step towards your property investment journey with us today.


In conclusion, the debate over whether Edinburgh or Glasgow is more expensive is nuanced and depends on various factors. Edinburgh typically has higher property prices and can be costlier for tourists due to its popularity and historical attractions. Conversely, Glasgow offers a more affordable cost of living in certain aspects, such as dining and entertainment. However, both cities have their own unique charms and expenses that cater to different lifestyles and preferences. Ultimately, the choice between Edinburgh and Glasgow should be based on individual needs and priorities, with a thorough consideration of the costs associated with housing, transport, leisure, and daily necessities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which city, Edinburgh or Glasgow, typically has higher rental prices?

Edinburgh generally has higher rental prices compared to Glasgow, reflecting its status as the capital city and its strong tourist appeal.

Are utility bills more expensive in Edinburgh or Glasgow?

Utility bills tend to be fairly similar in both cities, but slight variations can occur depending on the exact location and efficiency of the property.

How do grocery costs compare between Edinburgh and Glasgow?

Grocery costs are comparable in both cities, though some localised price differences may exist due to varying supermarket chains and market competition.

Is public transportation more costly in Edinburgh or Glasgow?

Public transportation is slightly more expensive in Edinburgh, especially when considering the cost of tram services, which are not available in Glasgow.

Which city offers higher average salaries, Edinburgh or Glasgow?

Edinburgh typically offers higher average salaries, reflecting the concentration of financial and tech industries in the city.

Is it more expensive to buy property in Edinburgh or Glasgow?

Buying property is generally more expensive in Edinburgh due to its popularity, historical significance, and the presence of the Scottish Parliament.