Edinburgh may be a tad nippy but Scotland’s beautiful capital city has plenty to offer for those willing to brave the cold. There is a whole world of imaginative shops to be found in this cosmopolitan city.
Head to Multrees Walk if designer wear is what you’re looking for, it’s where you’ll find a delightful five story Harvey Nichols (stocked with Scotland’s own Jonathon Saunders and Christopher Kane) which has festive events on throughout the whole of December. Also on this high-end street is Mulberry, Armani and Louis Vuitton.
Jenners, found on Princes Street has been Edinburgh’s own department store since 1938 and is famous throughout the city, although it’s now a branch of House of Fraser, it’s worth a visit for the beautiful building alone. Both Princes Street and George Street are your best bets for general high street shopping, Jigsaw, LK Bennett and Scotland’s only Anthropologie can all be found on the former.
If you still have money left after these, then carry on to the West End’s William Street for a chic enclave of upmarket boutiques and gift shops. There are some wonderful independent shops to be found, stocking everything from cheese to children’s books. Hannah Zakari, named as one of our top 50 independent boutiques earlier this year, specialises in items which are designed or handmade by indie designers with an emphasis on cute, quirky and unusual designs.The Old Children’s Bookshelf on Canongate, is full of your favourite vintage children’s books, just a glimpse through the window is filled withnostalgia.
Exclusive boutique Jane Davidson has been dressing Edinburgh since 1969 and is well-known as one of the UK’s best independent stores, winning a Drapers Independents award earlier this year. They have been credited with introducing many high-profile brands to Scotland, including Victoria Beckham and Roland Mouret, and you are still able to find many international brands exclusively in here. Also good for independent shops is the Grassmarket, its unique but quaint amosphere represents the best of Scotland’s creative side with art and antique showrooms. Find plenty of innovative and bohemian stores here. The Royal Mile, leading up to the castle, is probably the best place to head for Scottish gifts, if you want anything in tartan this is definitely the place to get it!
Edinburgh’s German Christmas Market is open for the whole of December and has fairground rides as well as traditional stalls selling European crafts and food and drink. However in St Andrew’s Square is the real gem, here you can find a Scottish market, showcasing the best food and drink that the country has to offer. With local farm shops, breweries and delis having stalls, think lots of scotch and shortbread, but it’s far more authentic than anything you’ll find in the supermarket. Also in St Andrew’s Square is a Children’s Market that allows little ones to
be the main customer, Edinburgh’s traditional independent toy shop Toys Galore has a stand there with plenty of
high-quality gifts to choose from.
Kevin Stewart, PR at Harvey Nichols.
“Christmas is huge in Edinburgh and there is a real focus on the lead up throughout the city. Our Christmas windows are the best in the city. This is in addition to our tasty Christmas menus and cocktails available in the Forth Floor Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie.”
WHERE TO EAT: ETEAKET
41 Frederick Street, EH2 1EP
Eteaket are most famous for their huge selection of specialist and herbal teas but after discovering their afternoon tea menu, they’re growing increasingly popular.You get to pick your own sandwich filling from their menu (no more soggy cucumber); the scones are served with homemade jam and a massive helping of clotted cream; and if you can’t manage to finish the last cake they’ll give you a doggy bag. As its owners said “We think afternoon tea is simply too good to be put off purely for special occasions” at under £15, it’s the perfect mid-shop treat.
WHERE TO DRINK: LE DI-VIN
9 Randolph Place, EH3 7TE
There’s something quite rebellious about finding a wine bar in an old private chapel, in fact it’s probably the last place you’d think to find Le Di-Vin. Above the bar is a biblical tableau full of familiar faces and it’s unsual location helps to create one of Edinburgh’s most sophisticated wine bars. However with sharing platters of charcuterie and French cheeses, the wine isn’t the only thing worth trying here.
WHERE TO STAY: HOTEL MISSONI
1 George iv bridge, eh3 9du
The Missoni is, undoubtedly, the most stylish place to sleep in Edinburgh, in a perfect location just off the Royal Mile.The Italian fashion label chose to launch its first hotel here in 2009. The doormen stand proud in Missoni kilts and the cocktail list is extensive. Creative director Rosita Missoni has incorporated the brand’s trademark zigzags, geometric patterns and electric colours into the hotel’s interiors, and top chef Giorgio Locatelli collaborated on the restaurant, Cucina. There’s also a handy spa to relax in after a hard day of shopping.
AND ANOTHER THING…
No other city has an extinct volcano in its limits, so climbing to Arthur’s Seat, the tallest of Edinburgh’s seven hills, is an essential activity for any visitor. As well as an extensive workout, a walk up the hill will provide beautiful views of the city, even better if you have a hip flask for a hot toddy when you reach the top.