There aren't many cities in the world where the foremost shopping thoroughfare boasts an uninterrupted view of an ancient castle, but Edinburgh's Princes Street does just that! It's unique with its shops lining only one side of the street, leaving the opposite side a lush and verdant garden space giving shoppers breathtaking views of the Old Town cityscape.
St James Quarter
The latest shopping experience in Edinburgh - St James Quarter opened in June 2021. This four-storey shopping centre replaced the 1960s St James Centre and should definitely be on the go-to list for all followers of fashion. More than 40 retailers, including brands in Scotland for the first time, such as & Other Stories, Stradivarius, Bershka, and Pull&Bear are currently open, and another 40 shops will open in the coming months. A five-screen cinema and 244-bedroom W Hotel, which is attached to the shopping centre, will open in 2022 and a 75-room Roomzzz Aparthotel and 152 apartments will open during future phases.
Home to destination and flagship stores such as Marks and Spencer, Primark, Clarks and Dr Martens, Princes Street is the place to be to keep up with High Street fashion.
Tech enthusiasts will also be in their element, with the Apple Store and 3G; while health and beauty brands are also all present and correct, including Boots, Superdrug and Lush.
Princes Street Gardens is the venue for seasonal markets including the Traditional German Christmas Market while the Edinburgh Farmers' Market selling fresh home-grown produce is held every Saturday from 9am - 2pm in nearby Castle Terrace.
You can also find a wide variety of shops and food outlets, with access directly into Edinburgh Waverley Train Station, at Waverley Market - open seven days a week.
Running parallel to Princes Street is its stylish sibling George Street. Home to many upmarket retail stores and hotels, George Street is linked to Princes Street via Hanover St, Frederick St and Castle St.
The street is one of the grandest in Edinburgh, with a wide thoroughfare, stunning Georgian architecture and bookended by the beautiful St Andrew and Charlotte Squares. There are also several notable buildings along the length of George Street, including InterContinental Edinburgh The George, The Dome and The Royal Society of Edinburgh
The Georgian spendour of the Assembly Rooms should definately not be missed - this unique venue hosts a wide range of events throughout the year from business conferences and exhibitions to cultural events including concerts and festivals.
Discover more about this elegant building and its history in our guide to Edinburgh’s Live Music Venues.
George Street is a chic fashion hub, with stylish and on-trend brands including Anthropologie, Hollister, Hobbs, Gant and Rox Jewellers rubbing shoulders with fashionable bars and restaurants including All Bar One, TigerLily and Le Monde.
Multrees Walk: The definition of luxury shopping in Edinburgh. Home of Scotland’s only Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton stores, along with many other exclusive fashion brands, the Multrees Walk shopping experience is second to none.
With countless designer labels on offer, a trip to Harvey Nichols is a must for any visit to the centre of Edinburgh. You’ll find the likes of Celine, Victoria Beckham, Balenciaga, Gucci, Christopher Kane, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and a profusion of other luxury fashion brands all under one roof.
Multrees Walk is also home to directional fashion brands like Michael Kors and Coach, as well as luxury labels like Mulberry, Burburry and Max Mara catering for even the most discerning fashionistas.
From shopping, dining, hotels and attractions - discover more about this unique part of Edinburgh in our Guide to The New Town >
The West End
A stroll down the quaint cobbled streets of Edinburgh's West End 'Village' is an absolute must. Situated only a minute’s walk from Princes Street, a delightful mix of designer fashion boutiques, organic food retailers, gift shops, flower and interior shopping awaits you.
The area's William Street is a chic enclave of upmarket boutiques, gift shops and delis. Here you'll find a variety of galleries, and elegant fashion boutiques, including Gallery Ten, Oska and Frontiers. If you're looking for designer jewellery then head over to Lily Luna or Liam Ross Jewellery. In need of a quirky card? - Paper Tiger is a treasure trove of cards and gifts for all occassions.
Sprinkled with coffee shops and restaurants, such as Roots Deli, Bross Bagels and Maialino Deli & Cafe, this is a hidden gem in Edinburgh that's definately worth exploring.
Discover more about the delights of Edinburgh's West End >
The Grassmarket and Victoria Street
Edinburgh's Grassmarket and Victoria Street are the perfect places to spend the day discovering independent shops and fashion, from cutting edge designer to retro and vintage.
A buzzing restaurant, pub and shopping area beneath Edinburgh Castle, the area is brimming with Scottish designers, artisans and independents selling world crafts, vintage clothing and antiques, as well as gourmet food in a vibrant al fresco setting.
With it's cobbled and twisted appearance, it has been said that Harry Potter author J.K Rowling based Diagon Alley on Victoria St in Edinburgh, which is located a few minutes' walk from the Elephant House café, where some of the famous books were penned.
Read more about the boy wizard in our Ultimate Harry Potter Guide to Edinburgh >
A narrow, winding road with high shops on either side, Victoria Street offers a variety of independent shops, that are great for browsing, including The Red Door Gallery, a one-stop shop for local artists to sell original work, prints, jewellery and crafts, Museum Context, with is packed to the gunnels with all kinds of Harry Potter merchandise, and The Whisky Shop, which stocks a range of Scotch, Irish and worldwide whiskies. Looking for some iconic traditional Scottish tweed? Be sure to pay Walker & Slater a visit.
The Grassmarket is also home to some more quirky shops, which are great places to shop for that unique birthday gift. For the the beautiful smell of old books, be sure to make time to visit John Kay's Shop for a unique range of antique books; Mr Wood's Fossils is the place to go for fossils for sale, minerals, meteorites and jewellery; Fabhatrix specialise in high quality hats that you simply won't find on the high street; while Swish stock a stylish range of gifts and accessories for all the family.
Once you're all shopped out, enjoy a well earned rest at Maison de Moggy, Scotland's first Cat Cafe, for a cuppa and some feline company or Mary's Milk Bar for some exceptionally tasty homemade gelato.
Explore more about the historic Grassmarket >
Stockbridge has a great mix of jewellers, galleries, second hand and gourmet food shops complemented by cosy cafes and restaurants. The weekly Sunday Stockbridge Market is a focal point for residents and visitors alike with a feast of fresh produce, artisan bakers and craft produce.
The area is home to a wide range of delicious delis and food stockists, including I.J Mellis, who stock a mouth-watering range of cheese; artisan bread, preserved meats and wines can be found at Herbie of Edinburgh; and The Pastry Selection have an exceptional range of sweet treats.
Famed for its abundance of independent shops, Stockbridge is teeming with style thanks to Those Were the Days Vintage basement boutique, Treen and Willow Boutique.
For beautiful jewellery inspired by Scotland’s landscapes try the Sheila Fleet Gallery. Bastion of old-school vinyl record shopping, Voxbox is a relatively recent addition to the area, as too is Dick’s, a bonanza of specialist clothing, accessories and homewares. Need some tranquillity? The Floatarium Spa offers sanctuary sealed through reflexology, head massage and microdermabrasion.
Read more about the charming delights of Stockbridge >
Bruntsfield & Morningside
This attractive leafy neighborhood is one of the most affluent in Edinburgh. Heading south from the west end of Princes Street up Lothian Road and through Tollcross you’ll come to Bruntsfield with Morningside just beyond. It's a friendly place with plenty of cafes, pubs, restaurants and quirky shops. If you want to find an unusual gift or something special to take home for dinner - make a beeline for this area!
On Bruntsfield you will find the shoe boutique Ooh Ruby Shoes and card shop The Bay Tree Company. While Morningside boast some of the best charity shops in Edinburgh, you never know you might just find your next designer vintage piece!
A paradise of charming cafes, specialist food retailers and charity shops full of vintage and designer fashions - discover more about Bruntsfield & Morningside >
The Royal Mile
This historic backbone of the Old Town is an old favourite for gifts including Scottish crafts, cashmere and whisky, alongside some of Edinburgh's oldest taverns and eateries.
While on the Royal Mile, why not pop into Cadenhead Whisky Shop or Ragamuffin which both stock Scottish produce that would be perfect for gifts.
Or, if you fancy discovering more about how Scotland's national drink is made, The Scotch Whisky Experience should definately be on your to-do list. They have have an excellent shop, which is ideal for souvenirs.
While in the area, be sure to take a stroll down St Mary’s Street, which joins the Royal Mile at the junction with the Canongate. Here you will find small artisan shops such as Mackenzie Leather, makers of luxury bags; Scottish Textiles Showcase, specialists in luxury Scottish homeware and accessories; Gordon Nicholson Kiltmakers and Kilberry Bagpipes. Why not treat yourself to a delicious ice cream from the popular Moo Pie Gelato while you are there!
Discover more about the Royal Mile >
There are lots of shopping centres in Edinburgh, each providing a wide range of High Street brands both in centre and in the outskirts of the city:
St James Quarter
Located at the east end of Princes Street, you’ll find the newest edition to Edinburgh’s shopping centres – St James Quarter. From beauty to clothing, electronics to footwear, this 4-storey centre covers 1.7 million square feet and includes restaurants, cafés, bars, shops, public spaces and leisure venues.
A Roomzzz aparthotel where guests can stay for one night, one week, or even up to a year, as well as Edinburgh’s first boutique Everyman cinema will open during future phases.
The centre’s car park contains 1,600+ spaces, including 70 disabled parking bays, 45 electric car charging bays, motorcycle & scooter spaces and dedicated parking spaces for families. There are also bicycle racks located in areas near the Quarter.
At the heart of Edinburgh's flagship waterfront regeneration, Ocean Terminal is a state-of-the-art leisure and retail complex designed by Sir Terence Conran. It boasts 45,000 sq m of shopping and leisure accommodation on three floors. The mix includes an array of stores, bars and restaurants and a 12-screen cinema, not to mention stunning views over the Firth of Forth.
Nautical lovers should also head to Ocean Terminal to see The Royal Yacht Britannia, Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace for over 40 years, which is now permanently berthed in Edinburgh.
Spanning 20 hectares with 27,870sq m of retail space, The Gyle is a flagship shopping centre to the west of Edinburgh city centre close to the airport and city bypass. It has 2,500 car parking spaces and more than 600,000 people living within a 20 minute drive. The centre accommodates more than 45 shops and food outlets.
With direct access onto both Princes Street and into Edinburgh Waverley Train Station, Waverley Market is an ideally located shopping destination. It's the perfect place to stop by for fashion, food and a last minute Scottish souvenir before catching your train.
(Image Credit: Fort Kinnaird and British Land Plc.)
With over 70 branded and high street shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as gym and cinema, Fort Kinnaird has all your shopping needs in one great outdoor shopping destination, which is also open late 7 days per week.. About 25 minutes drive from the city centre, the centre has over 2,600 free parking spaces, as well as a number of bike parking locations. It is also disabled friendly with a Changing Places facility and shopmobility services.
Craigleith Retail Park
On South Groathill Road, Craigleith Retail Park is easily reached by car, bike or foot. The park is well served by public transport, with Lothian Buses 24, 37, 38, 41, 42 and 113 all providing services to the park. The park has a variety of home, fashion and food outlets.
1½ miles from Edinburgh’s city centre, Cameron Toll has free parking, together with late night shopping on Thursday and Friday. You'll find homewares, fashion and food retailers all accommodated here.
Livingston Designer Outlet
View this post on Instagram
Approximately 50 minutes from Edinburgh is Livingston Designer Outlet, Scotland’s largest designer outlet. Home to a wide range of stores, with up to 60% savings, from iconic brands such as Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger to high-street favourites like M&S and Next, they’re sure to have something to suit all tastes and budgets.
The centre is also home to an 8-screen digital Vue Cinema, two 18 hole adventure golf courses and a range of restaurants and cafés.
The centre has has two car parks, offering 1,775 parking spaces including disabled, parent and child spaces and EV charging. Free parking is available each day from 6pm to 8am daily on the Surface Car Park, however charges apply outside these times.
You've shopped till you drop, now revive yourself in one of Edinburgh's fantastic eateries - for some tasty suggestions head to our guide on Food & Drink in Edinburgh >