What's it like living in a flat in Edinburgh with a baby?

(16 Posts)
kat2016 Sun 25-Sep-16 20:55:34

We're completely new to Edinburgh and currently renting out of town, but we're keen to move there as soon as we can find the right place to buy. We've always lived in houses before (in less expensive places!) and are intrigued to know what it'd actually be like to live in a flat in Edinburgh.

We love character properties like the old tenaments and are guessing the walls and floors're pretty thick, so you don't get too much noise? Also guessing ground floor places get snapped up quickly with easier access? Not sure if we have a romantic vision of what it'd be like living in a flat & if in reality it'd be noisy, impractical for buggy access, less likelihood of having a garden, or how it even works having a shared garden etc. Any tips/advice would be great. Thanks!

Heatherbell1978 Sun 25-Sep-16 21:18:15

Hi I just replied to your other post! I sold my top floor 2 bed tenement a year ago I n Edinburgh and moved outside the city. DS1 was 14 months when we left. The only issues I faced were 1) it was a top floor and being a tenement that meant no lift! Plenty space to leave buggy downstairs but as baby got older, it was hard to carry him plus bags etc up stairs. Ground or first floor would be fine. If your baby sleeps in the buggy a lot like mine did then when they grow out the carrycot it's not easy to transport up stairs while sleeping so you find yourself walking until they wake...2) My flat needed Windows replaced so could be a bit draughty and cold in winter but that isn't necessarily the norm and 3) not being able to park outside the flat all the time so walking to the car with baby.

Aside from that it was totally fine. Thick walls so you don't hear much, easy to manage baby and naps etc when everything is on one floor, and nice big rooms with lots of storage.

Heatherbell1978 Sun 25-Sep-16 21:21:50

Oh and we had a shared garden which was well kept but we must have used it twice! If you're in an area with parks, baby activities, soft play etc it's not that crucial when they're young. We chose a nursery that had them outdoors all the time so he had plenty of running around time. Good luck!

badguider Mon 26-Sep-16 12:51:54

How old is your baby and how many children do you intend to have? I loved living in a flat in town with a baby. But now ds is older we are in a house a bit further out. Our main issue was bike storage and our flat was too small. With no garden, shed, garage or loft we felt we needed an extra bedroom for storage. But you can get nice big flats so don't rule it out.
Garden flats or main door flats in particular are great. We were first floor but still usually had the garden to ourselves.

coffeeCamelCase Mon 26-Sep-16 14:51:44

It's fine, but choose carefully as they do vary: for example some tenements have plenty of space to leave a buggy downstairs if you want, others don't. (Beware of theft, though: given that bicycles get nicked fairly regularly, it has to be a possibility that an expensive buggy might, though it didn't happen to us. In practice I'd often leave it downstairs when I came in with DC and my strong DH would carry it upstairs when he came in later.)

It's great not having internal stairs and I think bed time is easier given that DC's bedroom is still in the middle of things: bedtime doesn't feel like banishment.

Many tenement flats are rented by groups of students, and you could get a noisy group so you might want to think about whether you have the right character to be assertive if you needed to be and not be emotionally destroyed by it. We've never had a really bad experience, though, and tbh the occasional noisy party helps me feel less worried about the nights DC cried or the music practice that goes on now!

One downside is that even big flats tend to have only one bathroom. Some have boxrooms that have been, or could be, converted if that's a big deal to you.

Most shared gardens are underused, but unless you are on the ground floor, going out to the garden with a small child is almost as much palaver as going to a nearby playground if there is one; we didn't actually use the garden much except when visiting children came once they were older. (That said, an advantage of being in the centre is definitely easy access to a choice of playgrounds.)

Main door's lovely, but you really notice how much extra light there is on higher floors, and higher floors also feel (and are) more secure: stuff like being able to leave a window slightly open when you're out in the summer is nice. Also being on a middle floor cuts your heating bills noticeably!

You have to bear in mind in budgeting that expensive things (roof, masonry, window frames, etc.) have to be done from time to time and then they have to be organised with others on the stair which can be a hassle: otoh, it's nice not to have sole financial responsibility for a roof and if someone else on the stair is a great organiser you may have to do no more than pay.

The tenement flats feel great to live in: good sized rooms, high ceilings, etc., even if you haven't that many rooms.

coffeeCamelCase Mon 26-Sep-16 15:15:53

ps the budgeting point is this: if the roof needs to be done, say, and a majority of the owners responsible for the roof want it done now, they can decide that it will be done and you will be liable for your share of the cost - you don't get to decide that it can wait another year because you're short of money this year. On the upside, you're typically only paying 1/8.

kat2016 Tue 27-Sep-16 19:40:26

Thanks so much everyone, all your responses are incredibly helpful! smile

Badguider - our baby's 9 months old.

I'm looking round a 3rd floor flat tomorrow, just to get a benchmark really to see if it'd be something we can even consider, or if it'd be too annoying having to lug everything up so many stairs.

On the plus side I bet the views're great & it'd be good exercise... Not sure about it though & I get the impression parking can be a bit of a nightmare too. Good to have something to compare other places to though & got to start somewhere!

kat2016 Sat 01-Oct-16 20:29:58

We viewed a top floor tenement today and absolutely loved it, but from a practical point of view we figured we'll probably have to rule it out, as with a 9 month old it could be exhausting lugging our baby up the steps with shopping etc. Then when our baby starts to walk & gets a bit older, spiral concrete staircases probably aren't going to be the safest things to go up & down...

Does anyone have experience of living on the top floor with a baby/toddler? Sadly I think we may have to rule it out, just intrigued if there's a way to make it work, or if in reality it'd be a total nightmare!

catdil Sat 01-Oct-16 22:17:18

Have had two babies in a third floor tenement and it is totally doable! Husband took pram down in morning and brought up at night. You will be amazed how quickly they master stairs. People have been bringing families up in tenements for decades (indeed centuries). if you live the flat and the area I personally would go for it - they are not babies for ever :-)

coffeeCamelCase Sat 01-Oct-16 22:55:55

Plus, they learn to count ridiculously high ridiculously young, because you always count the steps with them when you go up grin ... seriously, lots of people do and you'd be astonished how fast you get used to it.

coffeeCamelCase Sat 01-Oct-16 22:57:00

Online shopping is the best, they carry it up for you.

coffeeCamelCase Sat 01-Oct-16 22:58:14

(Different "they"s in my last two posts!)

kat2016 Sat 01-Oct-16 23:15:20

Ah good ideas! Even with a really dingy, badly lit, steep, narrow, stone/concrete, spiral staircase? (Worst bit about the flat). Not sure grandparents would be up to it either! Such a shame as the flat is really lovely.

coffeeCamelCase Sun 02-Oct-16 04:08:18

Haven't lived with a really bad stair myself and it's you who would have to do it so I don't want to convince you too hard! Badly lit can (and should) probably be easily fixed, though. It'll surely be stone not concrete, if it's a normal tenement? Elderly visitors do need to be warned to take their time, eg have a rest on each landing. If they can't manage stairs at all you may have a problem but most people can do one flight, and then getting to a top floor is just doing that several times, iyswim. You/they only do the stairs when you go in and out, which is not really that many times a day for most people!

All that said, you have to feel right about a place you're going to buy.

GruffaloPants Sun 02-Oct-16 04:50:08

Stokke Xplory is a good pram for tenement living as it has a function for going up and down stairs on 2 wheels! Ime the main downside of tenement living with a baby/child is not having a garden at your door.

Edinburghoutdoormum2016 Sun 02-Oct-16 11:33:46


I'd agree with most of the posters above.

Different perspective is that I lived in tenement for years but decided I couldn't cope with raising a child in one. The crux for me was that to be 'outside' you have to properly leave home with everything you needed, you couldn't just pop into the garden.
If this doesn't bother you then that's fine but thought I'd flag.
Could you rent one for 6 months to see if it works for you?

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