Shopping in Edinburgh
When it comes to shopping, Edinburgh has it all. From department stores to friendly little boutiques, there's sure to be something for everyone.
Edinburgh's main shopping artery is Princes Street in the New Town. Here you'll find many major chain and department stores interspersed with Scottish souvenir shops. For kilts and other tartan items try Romanes & Paterson at 62 Princes Street, which has sold them since 1878.
For designer shops try Multrees Walk off St Andrew Square, which has several including Armani, Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein, or George Street which is flanked with designer stores such as Whistles, Hobbs, Jaeger and Scotland's very own Cruise. Narrow Thistle Street has some real gems, including long-standing boutique Jane Davidson at number 52.
For independent shops try visiting the West End, which has a clutch of them around Stafford Street and William Street. Check out Studio One, 10 Stafford Street, for funky home-ware and a neat selection of pocket-money toys.
The Royal Mile (www.royal-mile.com) is chock full of Scottish-themed shops; some are high quality while others are cheap and cheerful. For a more eclectic mix, head south of the Royal Mile, where colourful Victoria Street leads down to the Grassmarket, a trading place since 1477. Both the Grassmarket and Victoria Street are packed with arts and crafts shops, bookshops and specialist food stores, including a beautiful cheese shop, Iain J Mellis.
Over 50 producers sell a delectable range of fresh meat, fish, cheese, chutneys, bread, and organic beer at the outdoor Edinburgh Farmers' Market at Castle Terrace on Saturday mornings.
n December, you can pick up wooden toys, jewellery and unique Christmas gifts (along with a toasty mug of gluhwein) at the lively German Christmas market in Princes Street Gardens.
Princes Street is the location for Edinburgh's most famous department store, Jenners, which has stood on this site for over 100 years. It is now part of House of Fraser, although the Jenners brand has been retained. In nearby St Andrew Square is Scotland's only branch of Harvey Nichols, with five floors to explore and plenty of designer clothes to choose from.
Ocean Terminal, Ocean Drive on the Leith waterfront is a good pick,. After browsing through all major high-street names, you can enjoy a meal in an ocean facing setting through large glass windows.
In general, shops are open from 0900 to 1800, with late-night shopping on Thursday until 1930 or 2000. Many major stores are open on Sundays from 1100-1700.
Visitors to Edinburgh who want to take home a little piece of Scotland may be tempted by tartan fabrics, knitwear, Celtic-inspired jewellery and, of course, whisky.
Non-EU residents can reclaim the VAT (Value Added Tax) of 20% on purchases from stores operating the VAT Retail Export Scheme; tourist shops are usually part of this, but you should check before making your purchases. You must present the receipt and a completed VAT form to a customs officer when leaving the EU. See www.global-blue.com or www.hmrc.gov.uk for further information.