Edinburgh has its fair share of shopping centres, retail parks and high street chains, but where can you go for a more unique and personal shopping experience?
Here are ten of the most best independent boutiques in the city, and we’re betting there might be a few that are completely new to you…
Whether you’re into vintage or contemporary fashion, anyone on the hunt for unique clothing, jewellery and accessories in Edinburgh should make a beeline for Godiva in the West Port. Opened nearly a decade ago in 2003, Godiva may look tiny from the outside but its range is huge and varied. As well as stocking men’s and women’s vintage clothing sourced from Europe and the USA, the shop also showcases and sells pieces by independent designers from near and far. If you’re itching to visit but can’t spare the time you can even browse and shop the Godiva collection online.
9 West Port, EH1 2JA – godivaboutique.co.uk
The Edinburgh Bookshop
Sprucing up the table with newbies pic.twitter.com/8BNapwJe0f
— Edinburgh Bookshop (@EdinBookshop) April 18, 2013
It was voted Scottish Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2014, but if you rarely venture out of the city centre you may not have discovered The Edinburgh Bookshop in Bruntsfield yet. Often championed by Ian Rankin, the shop organises regular book-related events and has an impressive rotating stock of signed books for sale. More importantly though, it’s a haven for avid readers of all ages, with a small staff of self-confessed bookworms which even includes a dedicated Children’s Specialist. Take advantage of this shop’s off-the-beaten-track location and pop in for a quiet browse.
219 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4DH – edinburghbookshop.com
Cork & Cask
For hand-picked beers, wines and spirits there’s no better boutique than Cork & Cask in Marchmont. This specialist wine and beer merchant strives to stock a constantly changing range of products that will keep their punters happy in terms of both quality and price. They specialise in local Scottish beer, but do stock a range of lagers and ales from around the world in case you’re feeling adventurous. If you’re looking for a boozy present Cork & Cask will make you up a completely customisable gift hamper, or if you’d rather treat yourself you can attend one of their regular in-store tasting events.
136 Marchmont Road, EH9 1AQ – corkandcask.co.uk
If simple yet stunning Scandinavian design is your jam then go straight to an expert and stop by Spektakulär. Owned by a Swede with a passion for homeware, you can pick up everything from prints to glassware here and everything is sourced from Scandinavian suppliers. You may struggle to find Spektakulär at first (we’re sorry to say it’s been right under your nose on Colinton Road for the last four years) but once there you’ll discover endless inspiration for your own interiors in Spektakulär’s dreamy window and in-store displays.
11 Colinton Road, EH10 5DP – blog.spektakular.co.uk
Red Dog Music
As we’ve learned already, appearances can be deceiving and you certainly shouldn’t judge a boutique by its cover. Inside the unassuming doors of Red Dog Music in the Grassmarket the budding musicians among you will find over 5,000 square feet of pure joy. This treasure trove has two floors full of musical instruments and recording equipment that you can try before you buy, as well as some very knowledgable staff. Even if you just need your own guitar looked at, Red Dog’s in-store guitar tech is on hand to help and fix any problems.
1 Grassmarket, EH1 2HY – www.reddogmusic.co.uk
Emma / Flickr / CC
There are actually two branches of Paper Tiger in Edinburgh and it is undoubtedly the city’s coolest independent stationery shop. Believe it or not, this trendy boutique has been around since the 1980s but consistently sells the kind of covetable stationery that notebook addicts will find themselves drooling over. You may pop in for a birthday card or some wrapping paper, but if you leave without a new journal and pen or some crafting supplies then you are a much stronger person than we will ever be…
53 Lothian Road, EH1 2DJ / 6A/8 Stafford Street, EH3 6AU – www.papertiger.co.uk
The beauty of shopping at Hannah Zakari is that you might not know what you’re looking for, but you’ll always find the perfect gift or just something you love on their shelves. This boutique showcases the work of independent designers and artists by displaying and selling their handmade jewellery, cards, prints, bags and so much more. The Hannah Zakari online shop has been operating for a decade now, but their little shop in Edinburgh opened in 2010 and – much like a lot of their products – is one of a kind.
43 Candlemaker Row, EH1 2QB – www.hannahzakari.co.uk
For a decadent sweet treat head to specialist chocolatier Coco, in either Bruntsfield or their newer Leith location. The hand-tempered chocolate is expertly made right here in Edinburgh and comes in some exciting and exotic flavours – from Earl Grey and bergamot to gin and tonic. They even make vegan chocolates so you can easily please everyone. As well as buying some chocolate to take home you can book yourself a place on a Coco Connoisseur tasting session where you will find out more about the cooking process and sample as you learn. And if you really want to get your hands dirty (or should that be sticky?) then you can attend the Coco cooking school and try your hand at making chocolate yourself.
174 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4ER / 71 Broughton Street, EH1 3RJ – cocochocolate.co.uk
hoopygirl7 / Flickr / CC
The number of independent record shops in Edinburgh may have dwindled over the years, but VoxBox Music in Stockbridge opened in 2011 and is still going strong. Vinyl lovers should definitely make the pilgrimage from Princes Street to check out an impressive collection of both new and pre-owned records, all in perfect condition and ready to be played. The shop is tiny but stuffed full of gems, and a true music fan can while away hours flipping through the VoxBox browsers. Despite its small size VoxBox also hosts live performances and signings, as well as celebrating Record Store Day with lots of in-store activity.
21 St Stephen Street, EH3 5AN – voxboxmusic.co.uk
Take a look behind the scenes at VoxBox:
Lickety Splits Gallery
Lickety Splits represents a beautiful but unusual union – sweets and art. Whether you’ve got a space on your wall that needs filling, or just want to satisfy your sweet tooth, you won’t regret stopping by. The sweet shop has been around on Jeffrey Street (just off the Royal Mile) for a while, but the gallery element was added later by two friends looking to display and sell artwork made by themselves and their friends. You can usually chat to the resident artists when you visit, plus you’re guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face and – let’s face it – a bag of sweeties in your hand.
6 Jeffrey Street, EH1 1DT – licketysplitsgallery.co.uk
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