Official Guide to Edinburgh
  • 11°C

Grassmarket

A Colourful, Bustling and Vibrant Destination in Edinburgh, Scotland’s Capital City

Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, behind Edinburgh Castle, the Grassmarket area is one of the most vibrant, picturesque and lively areas of the city. A paradise of independent merchants, designers and artisans, the Grassmarket is simply bursting with some of the best shopping Edinburgh has to offer. The area is well known for being home to some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh as well as some of the most animated and eclectic bars.

History

Originally a marketplace for horse and cattle from the 14th century right up until the early 19th century, the Grassmarket was also renowned for its public executions. Known as one of the poorer parts of the capital it was associated with early 19th century immigrants from Ireland. Nowadays this area is popular visitor destination with family friendly hotels and restaurants and an eclectic mix of boutiques and gift shops.

Significant Landmarks

Greyfriars Bobby Head

It may be small, but the bronze sculpture of Greyfriars Bobby located at the top of Candlemaker Row is a listed Category A structure, the same as Edinburgh Castle! The monument is dedicated to the skye terrier who pined at his owners grave for years after his death, and is one of the most famous icons of the city. 

The colourful buildings of Victoria Street are some of the most photographed in Edinburgh - and for good reason. This small winding street is full of charm and a must-visit during your stay in the capital.

Shopping

Its historic cobbled streets are jammed with Scottish designers and independent shops selling unique gifts, antique books, speciality food and fantastic fashion. Try Fabhatrix for unique hat designs and WM Armstrongs, the Edinburgh institution for vintage clothing. Demijohn on Victoria Street, is great for bespoke bottling of high quality, locally sourced handmade liqueurs, spirits, wines, and oils or buy fresh, local produce from the weekly Saturday Farmers Market. Whether you're a budding jokester, going to a fancy dress party or an amateur dramatics enthusiast and need to accessorise - Aha Ha Ha Jokes is what you need - a treasure trove of jokes, magic tricks, professional make-up, hats, wigs amd masks are all there to be discovered and enjoyed.

Eating

Mammas Pizza Exterior

Explore Edinburgh's Grassmarket - the restaurants and bistros are always buzzing and range from modern Scottish fine dining to casual French and family-style Italian. Enjoy old favourites such as Maison Bleue, The Grain Store and Mamma's  or experience a new arrival - Oink specialise in delicious Scottish hog roasts, Mary's Milk Bar is a cosy space for you to enjoy the best quality gelato and chocolate or discover "sunshine in a cup" at Hula Juice Bar, serving delicious smoothies and ever-changing art on the gallery walls.

Long-standing traditional pubs serve up great grub and hostsome of the best live music - both jazz and traditional. Enjoy a real ale at The White Hart Inn, Beehive Inn, Last Drop Tavern or a Guinness in Biddy Mulligan's. Nearby on the Cowgate is Brew Dog, serving excellent draught beer from its own range.

The evocative Old Town and Grassmarket are there to be explored and enjoyed, bursting with character and history and full of renowned pubs and restaurants along its cobbled streets and alleyways.

This is Edinburgh:  Visit Edinburgh’s Grassmarket for a great afternoon out with plenty of things to see and do