5 things locals love to hate about Edinburgh

Four years on, we still love to complain about Edinburgh's trams
Four years on, we still love to complain about Edinburgh's trams

There’s nothing more therapeutic than a good moan.

Edinburghers are big softies really, but there are a few things about Auld Reekie that really grind our gears.

The Fringe makes getting around Edinburgh a challenge for locals, but we wouldn't change it for the world

The Fringe makes getting around Edinburgh a challenge for locals, but we wouldn't change it for the world

As a city, we have perfected the art of complaining, and we’re pretty sure it’s a scientific fact that grumbling makes you feel better.

Here are five of our favourite things in Scotland's capital to whinge about.

The weather

We constantly gripe about the weather in Edinburgh, but what would we use for small talk without it?

Nothing gets you out of a potentially awkward interaction with a fellow bus stop occupant faster than exclaiming, "What a day!" as you shake a monsoon out of your brolly.

Of course, during our one week of sunshine a year we’ll also enjoy complaining that it’s far too hot to anyone who’ll listen. You can’t win, weather, so just stop trying.

The city’s position between hills and the coast makes it (like Chicago) an extremely windy city most of the time - and thank goodness for that, or we’d have nothing to talk about.


Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. Consistently voted in as the second most popular tourist destination in the UK after London, Edinburgh has a lot of fascinating history and beautiful architecture to offer visitors, so naturally they want to stop by.

Obviously we’re grateful that tourists inject over a billion pounds into the local economy every year - but do they have to walk so slowly down Princes Street en masse when we’re just trying to get to Marksies and back in our lunch break?

Do they have to take quite so many photos of the outside of the Elephant House, and poke us in the eye with their unwieldy umbrellas in the process?

That being said, we’ll still politely give them directions to the Castle, because that’s what a truly passive aggressive love/hate relationship is all about.


There are only so many traditional Scottish tunes a bagpiper can keep in their head at one time, and if you live around these parts you’ve undoubtedly heard them all. Forty thousand times, at least.

In recent years the kilted, busking pipers on Princes Street and the Royal Mile have been getting creative and adding some unusual numbers to their repertoires.

You might have regular nightmares about hearing ‘Old MacDonald’ played on the bagpipes, but you’ll still shoot down anyone who dares to make fun of that illustrious Scottish instrument on your watch. It’s tradition, pal.


It’s impossible to have a conversation about Edinburgh's trams with a local without someone tutting, rolling their eyes or miming a throat choking action with their hands.

This expensive mess has been the city’s shame for too long, but it’s also given us something even more interesting to complain about than the weather.

Suddenly the juddering Edinburgh buses are an infinitely superior way to travel again - everyone loves the underdog - and the majority of us wouldn’t be caught dead setting foot on a tram. (Even though we tried it that one time on the way to the airport and it was beautifully smooth, comfortable and air conditioned.)

The trams are trying very, very hard to impress us, and that’s why we love to slag them off. It’s too easy. We’d rather have the bumpy bus, please.

The Fringe

Once a year the city’s population doubles (yes, we know it feels more like it quadruples) when the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe descends for the whole of August.

As residents it’s our duty to avoid the Royal Mile like the plague, fix anyone proffering a flyer with a cold, stony stare and get extremely angry when we try to walk, drive or take public transport anywhere near the city centre.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t like to have a laugh at the expense of other unfortunate audience members during a stand-up show, or drink an overpriced pint in an astro-turfed beer garden now and again.

That’s right, despite our whinging we locals do actually like to participate in the Fringe occasionally. But, seriously, keep those flyers to yourselves.