From Castles to Comedy – Why Edinburgh has Become a Top Spot for CELTA

It’s no wonder people are flocking to take CELTA in Edinburgh. From historical sites to buzzing nightlife, the city has it all. With its individual…

From Castles to Comedy – Why Edinburgh has Become a Top Spot for CELTA!

From historical sites to buzzing nightlife, Edinburgh has it all. With its individual culture and food, to well renowned arts and festivals, it’s no wonder so many people are flocking there to study the CELTA. We have 3 CELTA partners in Edinburgh and we wanted to talk to the tutors about what draws candidates to the unique city. Valerie Reynolds, Head of Teacher Training at Edinburgh (Manor Place) and Darren Purnell, Head of CELTA at Edinburgh (Queen Street) also give us some really helpful advice and tips for preparing for taking the CELTA course. With this advice in hand, once you’ve got your certificate, this will open up a world of travel and opportunities!

Why Edinburgh?

It has a rich history

Did you know that J.K Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter in a cafe in Edinburgh? She used the scenery and landscape for inspiration! That’s no surprise really, looking at the historical buildings and enchanting castles nearby. We asked Valerie Reynolds Head of Teacher Training at Edinburgh (Manor Place) teacher training centre for advice on the best spots to visit in the city.

Valerie: “The “Royal Mile” , in the old town, is a name given in the early 20th century for the main street of the Old Town which runs on a downwards slope from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace and the ruined Holyrood Abbey. Narrow closes (alleyways), often no more than a few feet wide, lead steeply downhill to both north and south of the main spine which runs west to east. These are very interesting to explore”

Darren, Head of CELTA at Edinburgh (Queen Street) also mentioned some its great historical sights! He recommends another top spot to visit, The Georgian House & New Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site”.

So if ornate buildings, history and castles are your thing, Edinburgh is the place for you!

It has a unique culture

Another thing you may have heard about, is the unique Scottish culture. Do the words ‘kilt’ and ‘bagpipes’ ring any bells? These are traditional clothing and instruments found in Scotland! Some of our trusted CELTA tutors explain in more detail!

Valerie: “You can see the kilt worn which looks very handsome on men, bagpipes players in the city centre, ceildihs (Scottish singing and dancing) are very popular and help you to meet people.”

If this isn’t enough to get you to visit, there are also other lifestyles that the Scot’s like to enjoy. Scotland is known for its, let’s say, turbulent weather and can be a little chilly. This doesn’t stop people from exploring the magnificent landscape nearby, you quickly learn to wrap up warm!

Darren from Edinburgh (Queen Street) explains in more detail, “Scotland and Edinburgh are great for the wild outdoors and the cosy indoors. Within 30 minutes, you can be out of Edinburgh and climbing hills or walking along white sandy beaches. If that isn’t your thing, Edinburgh has an enormous range of bars, cafes, theatres, museums etc, which are perfect for when the weather is being a bit Scottish (i.e. changing every 10 minutes).”

Other fantastic nearby spots include Arthur’s Seat – a huge hill with beautiful views of the city!

It even has its own food & drink!


Have you heard of the infamous Haggis? You either love it or hate it! Darren explains what it is, “A savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck, minced with onions, oatmeal suet & spices”. It’s surprisingly tasty, if you’re brave enough! Valerie also recommends some other typical dishes you can find in Edinburgh, “Cullen Skink, salmon, trout, venison, mussels and of course fish and chips!”. If you’re wondering what a Cullen Sink is, it’s a rich, smoked fish soup! Perfect for those cold Scottish days.


We asked the CELTA tutors for some insider advice on some of the best places to sample some of that Scottish grub. For Mussels, Darren recommends, The Mussel Inn – Popular sea food restaurant, specialising in mussels. Good value!”.

World Cuisine

It’s not just Scottish food you can try, there are cuisines from all over the world, Valerie explains, “There are many restaurants. Edinburgh is very cosmopolitan – there are many Italian, Scottish, Indian and Chinese restaurants and then there are Thai, North African, Korean, Japanese and on it goes.”

So, if you want to tantalise your taste buds with some unique dishes, Edinburgh is an excellent place to visit!

The city hosts the internationally renowned Fringe Festival

Edinburgh is known for its arts and comedy! If you haven’t heard of it, The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, usually taking place in August, spanning a whopping 25 days and featured over 50 thousand shows this year! Darren from our CELTA centre in Edinburgh (Queen Street) has been and would highly recommend it! He explains that when the festival takes place “the city is vibrant and energetic with a huge variety of music, comedy, drama, ballet and musicals to enjoy.”

Valerie Reynolds from Edinburgh (Manor Place) is also a fan, and explains the impact The Fringe has on the Scottish City, “The population of Edinburgh is just over the 400,00 and in August the population just about doubles so it is busy in the city and very difficult to get accommodation.” 

So, if you’re planning to take the Cambridge CELTA in Edinburgh around August time, it could be worth incorporating this into your trip! Of course, you must plan ahead to secure housing and also, be aware that a full time CELTA is very intensive, so it would be best to take time before or after the rewarding course.

For more information on amazing Edinburgh, please see the Lonely Planet Guide.


What are the benefits of CELTA over another TEFL?

Now, the next question we are sure you are all asking. Why should we take the CELTA and not another TEFL? There are many reasons!

Firstly, the certificate has international recognition, as Darren, Head of CELTA at Edinburgh (Queen Street) explains, “It’s standardised and accredited with Cambridge University”. This makes the qualification the most widely accepted TEFL in the world. Valerie, Head of Teacher Training at Edinburgh (Manor Place) agrees, “It has international recognition! Most employers want their teachers to have the qualification”.

Another huge factor, is that, unlike non-standardised TEFL certificates, you will have hands on classroom practice. The CELTA “combines methodology with practical teaching experience” says Darren Purnell.

We also have a really interesting article covering more reasons to take the Cambridge accredited CELTA instead of a non-regulated TEFL. You can click here for more info.

How can you prepare for CELTA?

Another question on most CELTA novices lips! We ask two of Edinburgh’s Head of Teacher Training, Valerie Reynolds and Darren Purnell.

Valerie recommends, “Working through the pre course tasks set by a centre. They should expect to spend at least 10 hours on these and time spent on them will stand them good stead on the course. They won’t be playing “catch up” on the course”. We think this is great advice for anyone hoping to get a head start on the course.

Darren has some more great advice, advocating looking at previous teaching examples on the web, “Observe some on-line English language lessons”. We agree that this will make you feel confident with some of the techniques you will be using from day 1 of CELTA!

ELTcampus also has a fantastic Pre-CELTA course, with a great interactive introduction to Teaching English as a Foreign Language methods and terminology.

What books should I buy?

There are some fantastic helpful books to help you in the lead up to, and during, the CELTA course. It is recommended that you have one grammar book and a methodology book. You can see the full list on our website here.

Darren Purnell finds two books particularly useful. “Teaching English Grammar by J. Scrivener and The Practice of Language Teaching by J. Harmer

Valerie has an interesting resource that you don’t usually find on your CELTA lists. It’s a book that will help you post-CELTA “Teaching English Abroad by Susan Griffith“. Valerie explains why this publication can be so helpful to CELTA students, “This is an informative book and tells you about living costs, visa requirements of the various countries. It also provides a list of schools in various countries”. 

What is life like post CELTA?


We all know that a certificate as fabulous as CELTA, can open up a world of job opportunities, across the globe! As explained previously, the qualification is the most widely accepted TEFL on the planet. We asked the Head of Teacher Training for Edinburgh (Manor Place), which locations her students have ventured to. “Many go to Asia. Other popular destinations are Europe and South America.” explains Valerie. All corners of the earth! Darren, Head of CELTA at Edinburgh (Queen Street), found a similar trend, “We’ve had graduates find work in countries such China, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Czech Republic, UK, Russia”. So if you are passionate about travel, this is the course for you!

Professional Development

Apart from opening up many doors to new and exciting countries, there are also opportunities to develop your TEFL career, post CELTA.

Darren has first hand experience of the direction CELTA graduates can follow. He lists some of the positions you can gain, later in your TEFL career, “Director of Studies, Senior Teachers, Teacher Trainers, Cambridge Examiners, Coursebook & Material designers”, the list goes on. Valerie has seen similar developments in her trainees, “Cambridge examiner, Trinity examiner, materials developer, course book writing”. 

So, CELTA is great not only in the short term for exploring the world, but also can help towards a solid career, if that’s what you want!

Finding Work

If you are looking for work in Edinburgh, there are positions all year round, with a larger uptake in the seasonal summer months. To look for work in Edinburgh, or worldwide, you can research online, using ESL job-sites such as Once you’ve applied, the employer will contact you with further steps!

There you have it – there are so many reasons teachers are taking CELTA in Edinburgh!

We leave you with some top tips for your CELTA course, from the tutors and from previous students:

Darren Purnell from Edinburgh (Queen Street) teacher training centre says, “Keep an open mind and be ready for one of the busiest, most diverse and most thought provoking months of your life.”

Valerie Reynolds from Edinburgh (Manor Place) passed on some helpful tips from previous CELTA graduates:

1.“It is important not to look for perfections in this course but to experiment and find out what works best under the guidance of your tutors.”

2. “This month is going to be intense and hard. At times you’ll want to cry and scream. But at the end of the month, you’ll have friends for life and a skill which can take you all over world!”

3. “So, we seem to have cracked why the TEFL industry is so booming in Japan now. A mixture of primary schools making English mandatory, a rise in adults wanting to speak English, as well as the fantastic working conditions, salary and quality of life for EFL teachers. We can’t recommend studying CELTA and working in Japan enough!”

If you have any questions regarding the CELTA in Edinburgh, you can talk to one of our customer service advisors here.

To apply for the CELTA, click here NOW!

For more information on vibrant Edinburgh, you can see their extensive tourism page here.