How well would Edinburgh survive a zombie apocalypse?

zombie attack


Edinburgh might well prove tricky for zombies to navigate — especially the Old Town. The many hills, narrow closes and staircases might not stop them, but they’ll surely slow them down.

Edinburgh is coastal. Travelling by water is a good way to move fast, avoid gridlock on the roads, and lower your risk of attack. Leithers should get themselves to the Shore and find a boat.

Edinburgh has no underground system, which means no chance of getting trapped underground with the ravenous hoardes (unless you’re unlucky enough to work in the Vaults), and no chance of zombies popping up out of subway grilles.

Edinburgh has a lot of high ground. Is there a better urban vantage point than Arthur’s Seat? Not to mention Salisbury Crag, Calton Hill, Blackford Hill and Castle Rock.

Edinburgh is home to a ridiculous number of students, hippies and geeks. Every one of these people has, at some point in their lives, formulated a What I’d Do If Zombies Attacked plan. A large percentage of the city’s population is zombie-ready.

Edinburgh is damned cold in the wintertime. Some zombie experts reckon zombies would probably freeze in cold weather. If they decided to attack in February, they might well struggle, therefore.

Edinburgh’s city centre graveyards are all very, very old. If these are claw-their-way-out-of-the-ground type zombies, then it’s likely there’d be little-to-no action in Greyfriars or Canongate Kirkyards… there’s no one in them fresh enough.


Edinburgh is a small city. If a human can walk its length in a couple of hours, it won’t take too much longer for a zombie. And if these zombies are the result of an airborne virus, well… basically we’re all screwed.

Edinburgh’s a tricky city to get out of. Even more so at the moment thanks to — cue groan — the tram works. Unlike Glasgow, you can’t just get on a motorway and speed on out. Unless you start from an outermost area, you need to drive through a ton of city before you can get into open country.

Edinburgh’s the capital of Scotland. As a nation, we’re generally unfit and have pretty poor health. We’ve never been known for our military prestige. It’s likely that many of our number will simply crack open the best whisky and try to die of alcohol poisoning before the undead arrive.

Edinburgh’s roads are narrow. When the fleeing begins, the traffic’s going to get pretty crazy pretty fast.

Edinburgh is an unusual city, in that its city centre is as much residential as it is commercial. It’s not like Newcastle, where the looters could just be walled up inside the Metro Centre if needs be: almost every shop is in the same building as people’s houses. And looters be crazy.

Edinburgh doesn’t have much of a military presence, unless the Tattoo’s on. Clydebank’s got warships. We’ve got the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Edinburgh’s two big hospitals are a pain in the ass to get to from just about anywhere.


The Castle: a big-ass castle on top of a big-ass slippery rock with only one road entrance. I’m pretty sure there are at least a few soldiers in there at any one time, and there’s at least one huge field gun that works. Get yourself inside that thing and you’re probably dandy.

Sighthill / Wester Hailes: the outlying area that’s closest to the Edinburgh Bypass and the M8. If you can get out of your front door sharpish, you can beat the gridlock and be in open country pretty quickly. However, this area also has high rises, so if you’re more of a stay-put-and-keep-quiet-somewhere-high-up kinda person, there are also suitable buildings to accomodate you.

The Shore / Leith Docks: see the point under ‘pros’ about travelling by water. Even better if you have your own boat and don’t need to shoot anyone in the head to get one.

Comely Bank: don’t panic, just get to the Police HQ building. They have riot vans there. They probably also have a buttload of guns. And their yard backs onto a Waitrose, so posh food supplies for everyone!

The Banshee Labyrinth on Niddry Street: it’s a bar with only one entrance that’s mostly underground and is basically windowless. It’s also staffed/kept in business by the kind of folks who’ve definitely spent a lot of time thinking about zombie attacks. It’s also full of booze.


Any ground floor or basement flat pretty much anywhere. Get up, or get out.

Morningside: I’ve long held the view that it’s not so much the zombies you have to worry about in a zombie attack, but the other people. Morningside has rich people, which means hunting-shooting-fishing type stores and antique shotguns mounted above pub mantlepieces. Don’t think this is a good thing: everyone is looking for a shotgun and not everyone is going to be nice about sharing. Also, if there is such a thing as a smart looter (I’m not sure), then they’re going to head for where the fanciest goods are.

Princes Street: you’re in the open, on the flat, vulnerable from attack from all angles, and in smack-bang in the middle of the city. It’s going to take you longer to get out than anyone else, and everyone around you is going to go crazy looting or panicking. Dude, you’re so stuffed.

The Quartermile: every building in your immediate vicinity is 90% glass, and the artisan bread you might be able to loot from Peter’s Yard aint going to last very long. Hope the overpriced fancy-schmancy flat was worth it!

Happy Halloween!


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One Response to “How well would Edinburgh survive a zombie apocalypse?”

  1. Harry Giles Says:

    Not sure about your optimism re: police and army headquarters. If film research (Day of the Dead, 28 Days Later) has taught me anything, it’s that the people there are as risky as the Morningsiders.

    Still, big-ass slippery rock…