Practical Life in Edinburgh

Shopping in Edinburgh

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Traditional Items

The most common gift brought back from Scotland is whisky. It's popularity does not diminish it's perfection. Two types are popular:

  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Scotch Whisky produced from only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills) and
  • Single Grain Scotch Whisky (Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery but, in addition to water and malted barley, may involve whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals).
    Quality bottles can be purchased at a fair price in the supermarket or in airport duty-free store. Souvenir shops often sell small bottles of blended whisky for inflated prices.

Scottish Tartans (colorful check-woven woolen fabric) are another popular souvenir. Each Scottish family has their own crest and if you are lucky enough to have a Scottish family name like McDonald or Clark you might find your family's tartan. Like lederhosen at Oktoberfest, many cheap tourist kilts are sold with "real" kilts costing about 300-400 GBP. If you really want a genuine kilt of wool, the best place to look is a clothing hire shop. Made to order kilts are most traditional and take several weeks to construct.

Shopping Areas

  • Princes Street (New Town) - north of the castle, this is the main shopping street in Edinburgh. It runs through the middle of the city from the train station to Lothian Road. It contains large chain stores such as HMV for music, Topshop and H&M for clothes, and tourist oriented shops.
  • George Street (New Town) - upmarket shops, restaurants and bars. Runs parallel to Princes Street.
  • Cockburn Street (Old Town) - pronounced "co-burn", this area has small alternative shops selling music, novelty toys, underground clothing, body piercings and spiritual items.
  • The Royal Mile (Old Town) - At the higher end near the castle, there are many tourist-oriented shops selling Scottish souvenirs.
  • Victoria Street (Old Town) - Colorful buildings and interesting boutiques.
  • The Grassmarket (Old Town) - Stunning views of the castle with many little shops and pubs and restaurants.
  • Multrees Walk (New Town) - Also known as "The Walk", there are high end international labels such as Vidal Sasoon, Armani, Vuitton, Harvey Nichols and Calvin Klein .


Edinburgh Farmers' Market
Every Saturday of the month, 9:00-14:00
Held on Castle Terrace, this market has over 60 specialist from around Scotland. Most of the stall holders are primary producers selling what they grow or produce.

Edinburgh Corn Exchange Car Boot
Every Saturday and Sunday
Over 150 spaces available for sellers to show their wares from their car.

Alternative Market
Held in August
Run by F.R.E.E (the foundation for the return of equitable economy), a non-profit voluntary organization which aims to restore markets in cities and towns of the UK as a means of strengthening community. There are fresh goods, live entertainment, and children's attractions.

Shopping Centers

Shopping centers are conveniently located throughout the city and suburbs.

Update 8/04/2011


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