Best Shopping in Edinburgh, Portobello Beach and Leith, Scotland
Damn, I love a good market. A favorite travel sayings of mine is, “…and into every good itinerary, a bit of shopping must fall”. Yes, I absolutely set aside time to explore local markets, vintage shops, boutiques, night bazaars and swap meets. So yeah, while I’m not a “shop-til-you-drop” kinda gal, I love a good bargain and thrive in discovering one-off finds. Shopping in Edinburgh and Portobello Beach, in particular, is some of the
A favorite travel sayings of mine is, “…and into every good itinerary, a bit of shopping must fall”. Yes, I absolutely set aside time to explore local markets, vintage shops, boutiques, night bazaars and swap meets. So yeah, while I’m not a “shop-til-you-drop” kinda gal, I love a good bargain and thrive in discovering one-off finds. Shopping in Edinburgh and Portobello Beach, in particular, is some of the best shopping in all the cities I’ve visited to-date.
If you haven’t visited yet, you simply must plan a trip to Edinburgh. It’s absolutely magical. I honestly can’t say enough about it. I’ll be visiting annually. I’m even considering taking a small group each year to share all I adore about it. But that’s for another post.
Let’s talk shopping, shall we?
On my quick research, I found a variety of air carriers flying to Edinburgh from several major cities worldwide. Prices will vary by travel dates and city of origin.
* I make no claim to be a travel agent or expert on booking travel. My goal is to provide a general idea of what to expect when booking travel to and within Edinburgh and Leith, Scotland.
If planning to rent a vehicle, remember you’ll be driving “on the left”. If like I am, you’re a coward in these matters, rest assured public transport is clean, inexpensive, punctual and direct in Edinburgh and its surrounding suburbs. From Edinburgh Airport (EDI), it’s simplest and most direct to take the tram. The cost is approximately 7 GBP one-way/14 GBP return. If you plan to return for your flight out (and you trust yourself to guard your return ticket), simply purchase a return ticket straight away from a salesperson roaming the platforms near the terminus. This way you avoid having to fret over having proper change when you’re trying to get to the airport (and dump your GBPs).
I highly recommend taking the local buses. For 4 GBP per day (12 AM-11:59 PM daily), enjoy a Day Pass, with unlimited trips on all buses within Edinburgh proper. If you opt for single trips, the cost is 2.80 GBP per trip.
Although more expensive, a trip in a “Mini” or special taxi is worth the extra fare. Taxi cabs in the City of Edinburgh look like small, colorful mini buses. They seat up to 4-5 adults, facing one another. Fun!
Shopping in Edinburgh pleases every taste and style. If you prefer big box stores, department stores, or brand-name retailers, you’ll find them in the City Centre. There are four mall centers in the Edinburgh Area: Waverley Mall (city center), Gyle Shopping Centre (between the Edinburgh Airport and the City Centre), Ocean Terminal (Leith), and Fort Kinnaird (southeast of Edinburgh).
If you’re into vintage, one-off shopping, be sure to head to the Portobello Beach area as well as the Royal Mile Market. Remember to set aside time to explore the book selections, jewelry, and the many charity stores. My best friend and I adore vintage items, and 3+ hours was not enough time to see all Portobello Beach had to offer. Trust me when I say it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
A surprisingly diverse, fun and reasonably-priced shopping experience may also be had at the Tartan Weaving Mill and Experience on the Royal Mile, just down the hill from Edinburgh Castle. Skip past the tourist trap in the foyer and proceed to the lowest floors to discover the goodies. I especially enjoyed the Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings-esque weapons area within the store. ;)
Our favorite neighborhoods for shopping include:
- Portobello Beach – if you love vintage or second-hand shopping, you should set aside at least 3 hours to explore. We spent 3+ hours, and didn’t feel it was enough time to do this area justice.
- Leith – perhaps not as many one-off shops, but definitely the best eating and drinking to be had in Edinburgh. Shop in Edinburgh/Portobello Beach, pop over to Leith for lunch, then head back out to shop. Or shop all day and end in Leith. A perfect day.
- Old Town Edinburgh – too many boutiques and unique storefronts to list and share. If you love one-off items, you’ll love it.
- The Royal Mile – be sure to explore the closes–the small alleys between streets–so much to shop and see!
Highlights in Best Shopping in Edinburgh, Portobello Beach and Leith, Scotland
- Royal Mile Market – open 10AM-6PM daily (including Sundays!) – one-off artisanal creations and designs. An absolute must-see.
- Charity and second-hand shops in Portobello Beach
- National Museum Scotland – the retail shop
Here’s a map of the Edinburgh-Leith-Portobello Beach area, so you get an idea of the lay of the land.
C’mon, let’s get going! It’s time to Live the Life You Imagine!
Helpful Resources for Best Shopping in Edinburgh, Portobello Beach and Leith, Scotland
Royal Mile Market – 175 The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1PD – open 10AM-6PM daily
National Museum of Scotland – brilliant retail shop – Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF – open 10AM-5PM daily
Tartan Weaving Mill and Experience on the Royal Mile – 555 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2ND UK – open 9AM-7PM daily