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Shopping in Edinburgh Scotland
For most, the usual high street suspects to be found on Princes and George Streets will need no introduction to shopping in Edinburgh -. Stroll across St Andrew’s Square and you’re in Edinburgh’s little designer shopping district, Multrees Walk, with Louis Vuitton, JoJo Maman Bebe, Emporio Armani and Calvin Klein Underwear to be found, amongst others.
There are some wonderful independent boutiques to be discovered in Edinburgh, however, stocking luxurious local and international brands. To make a shopping trail of it, start on Thistle Street, at the corner of Hanover Street. As you walk down this narrow cobbled street, clothing boutiques line the windows to your right and left: Kakao by K (high quality Scandinavian fashion); Jane Davidson (ageless designer pieces – Diane von Furstenberg, Missoni, Jenny Packham, Goat); Pam Jenkins (designer accessories, including Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Gianvito Rossi). There’s also 21st Century Kilts, the coolest kiltmaker in business, running up custom and ready-to-wear kilts for men and women.
Continue down the lane past Alchemia, Scottish gold and silversmiths producing beautifully unique jewellery, across Charlotte Square to the ‘West End Village’. This little rectangle of streets lies between Manor Place and Queensferry Street, Melville Street and Shandwick Place, and is a beautifully hidden away Georgian treat. William Street is the backbone, and boutique shops lie all the way along it. Sam Brown stocks reasonably priced, covetably wearable brands from the funky to the girlie, Arkangel & Felon has edgier brands including Beyond Skin shoes and Emma Cook prints, and Frontiers caters for feminine quirkiness with dreamy Orla Kiely silks and colourful knits. Don’t stop at Walker Street, or you’ll miss Odyssey’s excellent range of hard-to-find swimwear and lingerie brands. Then just down and to the right is Liggy’s Cakes, one of the prettiest bakeries in Edinburgh, where you can refresh yourself after all that shopping.
If you’ve time and money left, Bruntsfield and Morningside also boast some lovely boutiques, and are particularly good for children’s shops.
Vintage Clothes Shops
Edinburgh has a great range of vintage emporiums. The best known are the three Armstrongs branches: at Teviot Place (called Rusty Zip), Clerk Street and down in the Grassmarket. They’re particularly good for uniforms and vintage cashmere, and very reasonably priced. Trouvé on Newington Road sells ‘retro and modern reloved’ clothes and accessories – the owner doesn’t base her prices on the label, so some joyful designer bargains are possible. Elaine’s Vintage Clothing in Stockbridge sells a beautiful mix of clothes from the 1920s to the 80s, for a wide range of prices. Godiva in the Grassmarket has some more serious price tags, but sells a great selection of quality vintage clothing, mixed in with independent, often local, designers and a made-to-measure service to boot.
Food and drink
Edinburgh has joined the food revolution in the last decade, and the time-worn stereotypes of Scottish cooking can be roundly ignored. From market stalls to fine dining food halls, the city displays real pride in its local, artisanal, seasonal produce.
When wandering through the city, look out for branches of Peckham’s, a Scottish family deli; of I. J. Mellis’s spectacular cheese shops, found in Victoria Street, Baker’s Place and Morningside Road; and for Valvona & Crolla, Scotland’s award-winning and oldest deli and Italian wine merchant. The original is on Elm Row, with an outpost café/restaurant/deli on Multrees Walk.
Other top spots are George Armstrong, Edinburgh’s friendliest fishmonger on Raeburn Place; Demi John ‘liquid deli’ on Victoria Street; WoodWinters wines and whiskies on Newington Road and Cadenhead’s on Canongate, one of the oldest shops you’ll ever step into. Here you’ll be met by more whisky knowledge than you’re ever likely to need, and a cheerful hand with the tasters.
Whether you’re a hardcore foodie or just have a passing interest, Edinburgh’s Farmers’ Market is an impressive spectacle. In the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, the market runs every Saturday from 9am – 2pm on Castle Terrace. The best local meat, fish, fruit, vegetable, dairy, chocolate and drinks producers gather, and sharp shoppers can pick up bargains to beat the supermarkets.
The Stockbridge Market runs every Sunday, and sells everything from Scottish sweets to French cheeses, Japanese food and organic local veg, in a charming area of town. Well worth a morning’s stroll.
For nothing-but-the-best food, there’s the Harvey Nichols Food Hall, selling luxury international fancies at the prices you’d expect. International tastes are fully represented in the Food Hall, but also in independent Chinese supermarkets, Polish corner shops and delis stocked with European produce of the highest calibre.
Stockbridge is worth a special trip: Henderson Row is lined with some of the city’s finest food shops. For those with a sweet tooth, artisan chocolatiers The Chocolate Tree and Coco Chocolate are both to be found on Bruntsfield Place, and S. Luca’s famous ice cream shop is a short walk away on Morningside Road.
Birds of a feather stick together, and the same often applies to shops. The antique shops of Edinburgh are generally clustered around two main areas, which makes hunting trips easier. New Town’s Dundas Street is the first stop, with the Aladdin’s cave that is Unicorn Antiques, great for antique brass fittings, silver plated items and glassware. Further down are The Thrie Estaits, crammed with decorative trinkets and ornaments from various ages and continents, and the smarter looking James Scott Antiques, which has specialised in silver and fur coats, amongst other things, for 40 years.
The next destination is Causewayside. On the way there, however, you must stop at Anteaques on Clerk Street, a unique and treasured place where you can drink exotic teas while browsing through fur coats, delicate tea sets and antique silverware. Batty and brilliant.
Causewayside is a long street in Newington in which you can buy everything from vintage candelabra (Lucifer Lighting) to heavy, solid wood furniture (Clyde Antiques). Affordable Antiques specialise in furniture, Now and Then in toys and models, while Courtyard Antiques is an enormous warren over two floors selling a bit of pretty much everything