You might have read that I was recently back in Scotland for the first time in 6 years. Perhaps even more surprisingly it was my first visit to Edinburgh, the capital city. These days mixing up guest houses with night trains with hotels with hostels has its crazy diverse travel moments. But here in Edinburgh, I knew I wanted to get back into backpacking mode to explore this place. After a quick online check, it was easy to choose the hostel I wanted.
I found out about a cool new boutique hostel – The Baxter and after checking out the Baxter website and their Facebook page I knew this was the perfect spot. Run by a well travelled local guy, Mike, the Baxter is centrally located and ticked more backpacking boxes than your average hostel. This place is a boutique hostel and sets a high standard which would be hard for other hostels to replicate. You want 10 reasons to stay here? Here is why this is the best hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland. Tartan Army!
So where do you want to stay in Edinburgh? Hmm…how about a hostel opposite the train station, a few minutes walk from the bus station, 5 minutes from the Royal Mile, has a pub downstairs and is only 10 minutes walk from the entrance to Edinburgh Castle. Sold!
As hostels go on planet earth, it’s hard to think of a hostel that is in a better location than the Baxter. On my walks around Edinburgh, I walked past some other hostels too and they were all just that bit further out from the main sights and amenities, even the football stadium at Easter Road is a mere 20 minute walk.
I was looked after by the staff here. Mike knows how to pick his staff. They aren’t just cool staff, they will chat away to you and take an interest in your travels. I met Luke (from Canada), Kinnaird (from Scotland), Dasha (from Ukraine), Veronika (from Poland), Genevieve (from Brighton, England). I enjoyed late night chats with Luke and Kinnaird and the three girls were extremely enthusiastic over breakfast.
The Baxter is a small and compact hostel and therefore the Wi-Fi works almost everywhere in the building. Surprisingly awesome for the travel writer. I’d sit for hours on snowy days typing stuff up.
4. Soundproof Rooms
My room was cosy and cool but one thing Mike told me – the rooms are soundproof. On Friday and Saturday nights the beats are pumped from the club and you don’t hear a thing! Sleep in peace, like hostels intended.
5. Pub Downstairs
Scottish pubs are just as much fun as Irish and English pubs and right downstairs is the Guildford Arms. A pub with some great ales to try, a bit of ambience and a real mix of Scottish and international flavour. Plus it’s a 30 second walk back to the hostel just in case you indulge in too many Scottish whiskeys…
6. Cosy Lounge
Somewhere for you to relax, chat to people, drink tea and get some work done. The Baxter Lounge is cosy, warm and sociable.
Safety and security are essential when you backpack the globe with passports, laptops and Northern Ireland football shirts. Lock them up here at the Baxter but remember to carry your own padlock. Quirky fitted rooms with safes (saves?) for every bed.
8. Scottish Feel
The name of the country is Scotland. Capital City is Edinburgh. With Tartan on the wall and Mike and Kinnaird working, the place has a Scottish feel to it. I didn’t want to be in a chain hostel or a hostel with no character. Edinburgh is a proud cultural Scottish city and the Baxter reflects this in its decor and ambience…and name.
And for the girls – if you see a guy in a kilt, lift it up and you’ll get more than haggis balls. Scottish lads don’t wear underwear with their kilts. Don’t be scared – have your camera phone at the ready!
Do hostels include breakfast as a standard? Not always, but the Baxter doesn’t just do tea and toast. You get cereals, juice and scrambled eggs. Tea and coffee is also available all day long!
10. Information on Travelling
With Mike and Kinnaird on hand and local you have all the information you need here for your travels. If you want any information on Edinburgh, like where to try haggis they’ll have it. if you want to leave your backpack here while you head to Aberdeen or the Highlands, they’ll keep it safe for a small charge. Trains across the border into England too – all the information a backpacker could want is here – mostly from chatting to the staff!
So you’ve heard how ice cool Edinburgh is, now you know where to stay when your travel lusting backpack and wandering heart diverts you into this culture zone. The Baxter is waiting, for you, for me and for you.
Here are a couple of videos from my stay at the Baxter: