Characters Emma and Dex from

One Day (2024)

One Day is the 2024 Netflix remake of the story of an unlikely romance between a mis-matched couple who meet as they are both graduating from university, spanning 20 years of meeting up every 15th of July.

Partly set and filmed in Edinburgh, discover more about the locations used in the series.

Old College Quadrangle

Their journey begins in 1988 at the University of Edinburgh following the graduation ceremonies with some stunning references to the city and its views.

Old College Quad used for filming of One Day
©Film Edinburgh

Dexter and Emma meet at their graduation ball held in the Old College Quadrangle.

Take a peek at the quadrangle where Dexter and Emma met and danced the night away on the evening of their graduation. Central to the University of Edinburgh’s historic buildings, Old College is still an integral part of the University (but dancing on the grass is forbidden!).

At the entrance to the Southside neighbourhood, the building is situated at the junction of Chambers Street and South Bridge. Sitting adjacent to the National Museum of Scotland and Festival Theatre and housing the Talbot Rice Gallery the building hides its inner quad well and many passers by will be unaware of its existence unless they have reason to know about it.

The site is historic in itself having been the location of the original Kirk O’Field Church which was replaced by the early university buildings following the decision to create a ‘Tounis College’, (Town’s College) in 1582. Kirk O’Field was the area of the city where Mary Queen of Scots husband, Lord Darnley’s, house was situated and where he was found murdered in the grounds following an explosion in 1567 leading to claims that Mary had him assassinated,

The Old College as it stands today was built in the late 18th and early 19th century to a design by Robert Adams with modifications by William Playfair.

For Dexter and Emma and lovers of One Day however, it is where they met and what was to become a very long romance, began.

Discover more about Southside

Viewforth / Bruntsfield

Bruntsfield, cafe outdoor seating

Following their meeting at the Ball, Emma and Dexter make their way back to her student flat.  The filming took place in Viewforth in the Bruntsfield area of the city.  Now, one of the upmarket ‘villages’ surrounding the city centre, Bruntsfield, and its neighbour Marchmont, were, during the 1980s, areas full of slightly dilapidated, bay windowed student flats just like Emma’s. The area has changed over the past decades and is now a delightful place to browse around the boutique-like shops and stop at the small cafes which border Bruntsfield Links and the Bruntsfield Short Hole Golf Club.

Famous authors abound in this part of the city with Muriel Spark having been a Bruntsfield resident and J K Rowling, Sir Alexander McCall Smith and Sir Ian Rankin all having lived in the neighbouring Merchiston area.

For those James Bond fans visiting Bruntsfield, a young Sean Connery went to a school here from his home in nearby Fountainbridge.

Explore the neighbourhood of Bruntsfield

Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park

Couple sat on Arthur Seat looking out towards Edinburgh city below

The following day Emma decides is too nice a day to spend having lunch indoors and suggests climbing Arthur’s Seat.

The pair make their way from Emma’s flat to the extinct volcano which dominates the city’s skyline. They reach the top and the view is amazing with the city stretching out below and views across to the Firth of Forth and Forth Bridges and the hills of Fife and Clackmannan in the distance. This area is very popular amongst cyclists, joggers, and people out for walks with Holyrood Park at the bottom of the hill offering another great place for picnics, ball games and on occasion, the base for events such as Armed Forces Day.  Its proximity to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament cannot go unmentioned.At the foot of the Royal Mile it provides an additional location to visit for those exploring the many interesting places on the Canongate.

Howe Street / New Town

After their excursion up Arthur’s Seat the next port of call for Dex and Emma is the New Town, more specifically the bottom of Howe Street (St Vincent Street) and the iconic St Stephen’s Church. With a bit of cinematographic license, the pair are spotted running down Howe Street – gateway to Stockbridge – but then are discovered close to Dexter’s flat by his parents.

The New Town is famous as the extension to the Old Town which, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries was built to a design by James Craig, to accommodate those who could afford to relocate here from the over-crowded area around the Castle and Royal Mile. With its Georgian buildings and wide streets, the New Town is reminiscent of Bath but perhaps on a grander scale. It was here the locals anticipated the arrival of the young Prince William who was reputed to be going to live here during his time at Edinburgh University before he opted for St Andrews University instead.  No surprise then that Dex and the ‘Marlborough Crowd’ have chosen to live in this high-end neighbourhood. 

There’s a lot to enjoy around the New Town with its pubs, bars, and restaurants both traditional Cumberland Bar and the Bailey and trendy Wee Buddha and Scran & Scallie and its small unique shops such as Salento and Annie Smith’s. St Stephen’s Street is always worth a visit as is Stockbridge as a whole and what should never be missed is the much-photographed Circus Lane.

Discover more about the New Town

The Vennel

Couple walking down the Vennel stairs with Edinburgh Castle in the background

Episode 1 draws to a close with the couple parting, interrupted by Dex’s parents. However, realising that he has no contact details for Emma, Dex races after her and is filmed catching up with her half-way up the Vennel steps off the Grassmarket.

Some more cinematographic licence again here perhaps but understandable given the photographic appeal of this location with its history and views to the Castle.

The Vennel joins the Grassmarket – an ancient marketplace where many historic events have taken place– to Lauriston Place near the old Royal Infirmary.  It was in the Grassmarket that many infamous criminals were executed and during the 1930s was considered one of Europe’s worst slums. In homage to Muriel Spark’s Jean Brodie, the Vennel is sometimes referred to as, ‘The Miss Jean Brodie Steps’. The Grassmarket and the Vennel steps would also have been familiar to 19th century murderers Burke and Hare who lived just off the West Port at the west end of the square. The Vennel would have been an obvious route for them to transport the bodies they sold to Dr Knox at the University for his gruesome dissection classes.

Find out more about Burke and Hare

At the end of the series, Dex returns to the city to revisit the places he spent time with Emma.

Edinburgh Castle and Crags from Arthur Seat

For further information about films shot in Edinburgh, see the city’s film office Film Edinburgh