Scotland’s capital and home to the country’s Parliament, Edinburgh’s cultural and historical status is beyond question. A major tourist centre in the United Kingdom, there’s so much the city offers. Overlooking Calton Hill in the south and the volcanic sill of Arthur’s Seat in the north, the city is a world-class example of beautiful, hilly landscape and Georgian urban architecture. The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh Castle, Scott Monument, the Balmoral Hotel clock tower, shops, and art galleries – there’s a plethora of places to see and things to do here. Spend a weekend or a fortnight, there’ll still be enough to keep you busy. Remember to put away a little bit of time to buy some of the amazing things this city has to offer. For the lowdown, check out our list of what to buy in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Nothing screams Scottish more than whisky. Whether you are a malt aficionado or a whisky connoisseur, Edinburgh will definitely have something that suits your taste. There are plenty of bars in the city you can head to and you won’t be disappointed. You can carry a bottle to consume back home or as a gift for your loved ones. While in Edinburgh, book yourself a whisky tasting session and you’ll learn enough about whisky-making in the region and its historical importance. Adding to that, you can try some of the rarest and best whisky blends and finish an evening substantially sozzled. The Scotch Whisky Experience offers a great tour and advanced tasting session, along with a fantastic in-house restaurant, so remember to keep this on your list. They have different timings for the sessions each month, so check their website before heading down.
The Scotch Whisky Experience
Address: 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE
Website: The Scotch Whisky Experience
Price: Platinum Experience - 50 USD per person
2. Edinburgh Gin
If you’re one who enjoys a good gin-based drink, don’t forget to pick up a bottle of world-class Edinburgh gin, available across the city. There’s miniature as well as full-sized bottles available, so you don’t need to worry about the space they’ll take in your luggage. They’re sold in almost every flavour you can possibly think of, so a bottle of this is a must-buy. Raspberry, apple and spice, elderflower, rhubarb and ginger – pick whichever suits your palate best. They even sell gift boxes, so your gifting needs can also be taken care of. You can either head to the Edinburgh Gin Distillery to buy some or any other local supermarket, like Tesco.
3. A can of Irn-Bru
If there’s one thing you’re definitely going to find in a Scottish household, it’s Irn-Bru – a fizzy beverage with a unique taste. This bright orange drink is touted as Scotland’s national drink after whisky, albeit non-alcoholic. Sold in markets for over 100 years, its bold flavour and brilliant colour is hard to forget. Every supermarket in the city sells it, so head down and pick some up.
What do you automatically associate with Scotland when you think of fashion? The colourful, criss-cross pattern called tartan. You’ll find a number of items with a tartan print that you can take back home. The plaid print adds spunk to anything it has ever been associated with, whether it’s footwear, clothes, accessories, or even linen! Tartan ‘brollies’ (umbrella) are quintessentially Scottish, so pick one up and blend in with the rest of the locals! You can head to the Scotland Shop and lose yourself in a world of tartan!
Address: 10 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4PG
Website: Scotland Shop
Opening hours: Apr-Sept 9am-7:30pm (Mon-Sat); 10:30am-6:30pm (Sun) / Oct-March 9am-6pm (Mon-Sat); 10:30am-4:30pm (Sun)
Price: 10-200 USD
There’s something about sporting a garment made from a finely-woven fabric, isn’t there? The Scots take what they wear very seriously and, if tartan’s a famously Scottish print, tweed is a famously Scottish textile. It is sartorial and typically Scottish in every weave. Whether it’s a humble scarf or a classically-cut blazer, tweed can make any outfit pop. And it’s not only for looks! It is also a safe bet for all those who despise the cold weather. Harris Tweed is a world-famous clothing and accessory brand you can look at if budget is not your prime concern. Otherwise, a selection of tweed items, like trousers, scarves and skirts, are available across markets in Edinburgh. You can peruse some branded as well as non-branded selections at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill
Address: 11 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR
Website: The Edinburgh Woollen Mill
Opening hours: 10am-7pm (Mon-Thur); 9am-9pm (Fri-Sun)
Although a slightly expensive investment, a kilt is one souvenir that’s as Scottish as it can get. Whether it’s the traditional kind, sporty, or utility, they’re all equally practical and unique. Meant to be worn by men, this knee-length skirt with pleats originated in the Scottish Highlands during the 16th century. It is often considered the national dress of Scotland and its design, convention, and history is befitting to the very nature of Scotsmen – that of pride, dignity, and honour. You will find kilts in the choicest of fabrics and designs at the Geoffrey Tailor Kiltmaker, so remember to make a stop here.
Geoffrey Tailor Kiltmaker
Address: 57-59 High Street, The Royal Mile,Edinburgh EH1 1SR, Scotland, UK
Website: Geoffrey Tailor Kiltmaker
Opening hours: 9:30am-6pm (Mon-Sat); 10:30am-5:30pm (Sunday)
Price: 40-450 USD or more
7. A copy of Oor Wullie
Willing to learn some slick Scottish slang while in Scotland? We suggest you grab a copy of Oor Wullie. A world-famous comic strip published in Scotland’s Sunday Post newspaper, Oor Wullie’s beautiful words and vivid illustrations entertain its readers and it is also a perfect gift to take back if a young friend is waiting for you back home. Although available online, there’s nothing like buying a copy from the homeland, itself. Head to any bookstore in Edinburgh and you’ll find it there.
8. Greyfriars Bobby collectibles
Perhaps among the most famous tourist attractions in Edinburgh is the statue of Greyfriars Bobby – a 19th-century Skye Terrier who’s known to have loyally guarded his Scottish owner’s grave until his own death. Over the years, he’s gained such a celebrity status that various Greyfriars Bobby trinkets have come to be sold in markets. You can buy ceramic cups, keychains, fridge magnets, and several other collectables that feature the pup’s image. There are even books that tell his entire story. Romanes & Paterson offers a great variety of collectables you can choose from.
Romanes & Paterson
Address: 62 Princes Street EH2 2DF Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Website: Romanes & Paterson
Opening hours: 9am-9pm (daily)
9. Scottish postcards
The most affordable and space-saving souvenir to take back for your loved ones are postcards. While the culture of exchanging messages via postcards may not be as famous anymore, they’re always a great way to document your vacation memories. Displaying confident strokes and striking scenes, they convey the ethos of Scottish art. You can pick up the non-expensive ones from an array of stores on almost every street. You’ll also find a great variety to choose from at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Address: 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR
Opening hours: 10am-5pm (daily)
Price: 4-100 GBP
10. Vintage maps of Edinburgh
Every street and corner of Edinburgh has a fascinating story to tell and what better way to honour this than by having a memento that takes you back into its vibrant past. While here, buy a vintage map of the city and route your way through its many alleys and crannies. Tick off every street and landmark you’ve visited on the map and make it a fun way to gauge how much of the city you’ve been able to cover during your stay. Back home, you can get it framed and hang it as a reminder of a beautiful vacation. Carson Clark Gallery has a great collection of original antique maps, so remember to add this to your list.
Carson Clark Gallery
Address: 34 Northumberland St, Edinburgh EH3 6LS
Website: Carson Clark Gallery
Opening hours: 10:30am-6pm (Mon-Sat); (Sunday closed)
A flavour of Old Scotland
Boasting a rich history, breathtaking landscape, delicious gourmet offerings, and a lively atmosphere, Edinburgh is truly enchanting. Explore the cobbled streets of the Old Town or soak in the elegance of the New Town. You can even hike up Calton Hill for panoramic views of the city and the sea, out beyond. A vivaciously cosmopolitan mix of the old and the new, a trip to Edinburgh will knock your socks off. Add to that, you also know what to buy in Edinburgh now!
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