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.
Home to destination and flagship stores such as Debenhams, New Look, House of Fraser, Zara, Primark and the historic Jenners, 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 at the east end of the street. Health and beauty brands are also all present and correct, including Boots, Superdrug and The Body Shop.
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 an even wider variety of shops and food outlets, with access directly into Edinburgh Waverley Train Station, at Waverley Mall - open seven days a week.
Running parallel to Princes Street is its stylish sibling George Street, home to many upmarket retail stores and several 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 the George Hotel, The Dome, and the famous Assembly Rooms.
George Street is chic fashion hub, with stylish and on trend brands including AllSaints, Anthropologie, Hollister, Jack Wills, Karen Millen, Kooples, Jigsaw, Rox Jewellers and LK Bennett rubbing shoulders with fashionable bars and restaurants including All Bar One, TigerLily, Le Monde, Jamie's Italian and The Dome.
Multrees Walk: The definition of luxury shopping in Edinburgh. Home of Scotland’s only Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton and Nespresso outlets 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 Reiss, as well as established luxury labels like Mulberry, Links of London, Burburry, and Tommy Hillfiger catering for even the most discerning fashionistas.
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.
Along at the West End, William Street is a chic enclave of upmarket boutiques, gift shops and delis. Here you'll find a variety of indie fashion boutiques, including Liam Ross Jewellery, Gallery Ten and Frontiers. If you're looking for jewellery then head over to Lily Luna, also on William Street. A true treasure trove lying in the centre of the prestigious West End area, full of stunning unusual jewellery pieces sourced from both local and international designers. In need of a quirky card? Then Paper Tiger is also conveniently located in the West End on Stafford Street.
Sprinkled with coffee shops and restaurants, such as Roots Deli and Forage & Chatter this is a hidden gem in Edinburgh worth exploring.
The Grassmarket and Victoria Street
Edinburgh's Grassmarket and Victoria Street are the perfect places to spend the day discovering independent shops and fasion, from cutting edge designer to 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 to gourmet food in a vibrant al fresco setting.
It has been said that Harry Potter author J.K Rowling has based Diagon Alley on Victoria St in Edinburgh, which is located a few minutes' walk from the Elephant House café. Victoria Street is a narrow, winding road with high shops on either side, including a book shop, clothing shop, and Aha ha ha joke shop at one end.
There's a wide range of gifts and oddities in the Grassmarket. Treat yourself and go shopping for a designer hat at Fabhatrix, grab a piece of prehistory at Mr Wood's Fossils, or uncover a fab vintage find at Armstrongs. Walker and Slater is the place to pick up something in an iconic traditional Scottish tweed.
Once you're all shopped out, enjoy a quick stop at the Cat Cafe - Maison de Moggy or a sweet treat at Mary's Milk Bar.
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 with a feast of fresh produce and artisan bakers and for high quality cheese pop into I.J Mellis.
Famed for its abundance of independent shops, Stockbridge is teeming with style thanks to Those Were the Days vintage basement boutique, Common People Clothing and Mr Purves.
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.
Bruntsfield and 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 is 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 or card shop The Bay Tree Company. While Morningside boast some of the best charity shops in Edinburgh including, you never know you might just find your next designer vintage piece!
The Royal Mile, High Street and Canongate
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, Cranachan & Crowdie, Ragamuffin and The Scotch Whisky Experience which all stock Scottish produce that would be perfect for gifts. For a more modern take on knitwear and accessories, try the quirky Ness Clothing Co which offers fabulous range of ladies handbags designed in Edinburgh and inspired by Scotland.
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 Shopping Centre
St James Shopping Centre is currently closed for redevelopment. Keep up to date on the progress of Edinburgh St James on their website. Exciting things to come.
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 and 1600 car parking spaces. The mix includes more than 75 stores, bars and restaurants, a gym and a 12-screen cinema not to mention stunning views over the Firth of Forth.
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. This increases to 1m within a half-hour drive.
With direct access onto both Princes Street and into Edinburgh Waverley Train Station, Waverley Mall is an ideally located shopping destination. A recently completed refurbishment makes the mall the perfect place to stop by for fashion, food and a last minute Scottish souvenir.
And last but not least, why not check out our Edinburgh shopping Hidden Gems and discover those treasure troves loved by the locals and slightly off the beaten track.
This is Edinburgh: Enjoy a fabulous day of retail therapy in Edinburgh.