The Best English Language Schools in Edinburgh

by Roisin McAuley  |  Published November 11, 2020

Scots are known for their hospitality, and the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, is a prime example of this: a lively city where travellers and language learners receive a warm welcome, accompanied by a dram of whisky. The city offers something for everyone: art lovers, hikers, sports fans won’t be short of things to do outside of their English classes in  Edinburgh.

The capital of Scotland is a beautiful setting to learn English (Photo: Gary Campbell-Hall via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Edinburgh is brimming with unique experiences of Scottish culture, with many language schools organising trips around the capital, as well as further afield. Edinburgh is home to a diverse range of language schools that offer English courses at all levels, over different periods and that fit with students’ schedules. We’ve researched what’s on offer, and selected five of the best English language schools in Edinburgh taking into account past student reviews, types of programmes available and services offered.

Located in Edinburgh’s West End, just off the city’s main shopping street Princes Street, the school’s central location makes it easily accessible on foot and by public transport, with bus and tram stops directly outside the school. At Inlingua classes are kept small with a maximum of ten students per lesson to ensure students receive the personalised attention and experience using the language. The school has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere both inside and outside of the classrooms, with lessons taught by experienced and enthusiastic teachers. Inlingua is a British Council accredited language school, demonstrating the quality of the courses it offers. The language school offers three types of English programme: general, business and exam preparation, which take place in the morning and afternoon, in both group or private classes. Extracurricular activities offered here include city tours, art exhibitions, whisky tasting and many more! Inlingua is also able to assist students with accommodation in English-speaking homestays during their courses.

Classes at Simply English Edinburgh are fun and engaging (Photo: Simply English Edinburgh)

Simply English Edinburgh
Simply English Edinburgh is highly rated by previous students for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere that creates a home away from homes for international students learning English in Edinburgh. An excellent advantage of this language school is the flexibility of its study programmes: students can select how many hours per week they wish to study, and at a time that suits their schedule. Simply English places attention on giving its students both linguistic and cultural knowledge that will ensure they immerse in Scottish culture and the lifestyle of the city. Their programmed events include trips, games afternoons, book, film and conversation clubs, as well as many more. Outside of scheduled lessons, Simply English offers free 30-minute workshops every week for students enrolled in over five hours of classes. The school’s friendly team is available to give support to students by helping with opening bank accounts, reviewing CVs and assisting with work experience placements. The school also has a newsletter that anyone interested in learning English can subscribe to on their website; this offers exam tips, news vocabulary and shares useful YouTube videos.

Mackenzie School of English
Established in 2008, the Mackenzie School of English is a language institute accredited by the British Council and Quality English. Located in a former church, the school is traditional, unique and architecturally stunning from the outside, balanced with modern facilities and a contemporary feel on the inside: creating an excellent learning environment. Mackenzie School of English offers English language courses to both adults and young learners. All lessons are delivered by fully qualified English-speaking teachers, with classes taking place in the morning and afternoon, allowing students to select times that fit in with their schedule. Year-round programmes are available to young learners, aged 12-17, as well as summer courses. The school also supports students in organising accommodation with options including individual or shared homestays, shared student accommodation or rooms in a B&B or hotel.

Small group lessons and one-to-one classes are offered by ECS Scotland (Photo: ECS Scotland)

ECS Scotland
ECS Scotland provides small group and one-to-one English courses to an international student body. The language institute is an independent, Quality English and British Council accredited English language training centre in Edinburgh. It is a small, family-run school and teaches English to adults of all ages with lessons made up of a maximum of only five students per class and focuses on the valued skills of speaking and listening. ECS offers a range of courses to suit the needs of students: at levels from beginner through to advanced, and with specialised programmes for professionals in medical, business, and legal English, as well as many more. Immersion in Scottish culture and history is also an essential part of programmes at ECS, with excursions in Edinburgh offered to all students, allowing them to practise English listening and speaking skills accompanied by a teacher. Popular trips include visits to castles, historical houses and palaces, villages, whisky distilleries, monuments and museums.

Centre of English Studies
The Centre of English Studies Edinburgh school is located in the city centre, a short walk to many shops, cafés and restaurants. The school has 12 bright and comfortable classrooms, a garden, a common area and study space. English language programmes include adult, junior and CELTA exam preparation courses, with lessons on average made up of nine students. The school organises a weekly social programme to ensure students immerse in city life as well as weekend excursions. The school also offers students accommodation in its student residency, as well as homestays with an English-speaking household for students who wish to be fully immersed in an English speaking environment.