Edinburgh Summer School 2023

University of Edinburgh and Beyond - Did you know?

From famous former students to Edinburgh's global reputation, here are some interesting facts you might not have known about both our historic university and Scotland's capital city.

You might have heard that the University of Edinburgh is currently ranked the 16th best university in the world, according to the latest QS World University Rankings...

University of Edinburgh Medical School

But did you know the University also boasts an impressive array of notable names who have attended the historic institution since it first opened its gates to students in 1583?

From world innovators and literary heroes to modern day royals some of the University’s most acclaimed alumni include:

  • Charles Darwin, naturalist, geologist, biologist and author of On the Origin of the Species  
  • Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Julius Nyerere, former President of Tanzania
  • Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister
  • Laura Kuenssberg, top UK political journalist
  • Sir Chris Hoy, eleven-time world champion and six-times Olympic track cycling champion

This sparkling list of former students demonstrates that the University of Edinburgh has long attracted those looking for the space to create, develop, explore, debate and invent.. but it’s also clear that these alumni have contributed to the history and prestige of our surrounding city.

The reputation of Edinburgh as a vibrant and beautiful city is understood worldwide.

But beyond the more obvious thoughts of haggis, whisky, bagpipes and bad weather there is so much more.

For example, did you know…

  • Edinburgh was named the UK's top destination for young visitors in the British Youth Travel Awards
  • It rains less in Edinburgh each year than Rome, New York and Frankfurt
  • Edinburgh has more libraries per capita than any other city in the world (60 libraries for every 100,000 people) - the Scottish capital became UNESCO's first City of Literature in 2004
  • Edinburgh is the backdrop to many famous films - The Da Vinci Code, Chariots of Fire, The 39 Steps, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Trainspotting, Hallam Foe and One Day were all filmed in the city

Learn more about our historical and cultural city


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