During my recent trip to Edinburgh, I did quite a lot of walking around Old Town, mainly because the architecture surrounding you is stunning, but I also got the chance to visit a bunch of very interesting shops. Here are eight that deserve more attention than just being included in a Facebook album.
1- Brew Lab
My day always starts with coffee and so does this post. Going into Brew Lab feels like walking into a warehouse where for some reason half of the city wants to be in. Once I tried the coffee, I saw why it was so packed. They import coffee from various countries, which allows you to actually choose which type of coffee you would like to be used for your espresso or blended drink. I know this might sound like an obvious perk of going to a coffee shop, but this is scarce in the UK and Ireland as far as I can tell. These countries are tea directed. Good coffee becomes a rarity.
2- Miss Katie Cupcake
No, this is not a bakery and cupcakes are not sold here. Apparently the name comes from the owner’s nickname. But this shop does have very creative and affordable jewelry that is worth taking a look at. If you get a chance to go, make sure to ask about the pendants made with vintage clocks.
3- The Old Town Bookshop
You know when you see those movies or read those novels where the main character, in the middle of the night, walks in a bookshop filled with old, rotting books attempting to find an explanation (or a spell) in order to solve their creepy problem? This is that place. Very, very old books. I got one that is actually dated from the nineteenth century. Certain ones that can be quite pricey, but on the most part, they are between £5-15.
4- The Cadies & Witchery Tours
Speaking of creepy, here is the mecca. This little Wiccan-like shop has tons of very interesting and highly elaborate articles, from skeleton chalices to an incense burner shaped like a talking tree (yes, like Lord of the Rings). Surprisingly affordable as well, so if you are perfectly fine with people questioning what you do during full moon nights when they enter your apartment, this place is a must.
5- Bill Barber Knitwear Shop
From the outside, this may look like a grandma shop that most backpackers would never go into, and to be honest, we will most likely not be able to afford anything sold here. However, it is still worth at least ten minutes of your day. The shop has been open for 40 years, and every single piece has been made in it. When I went in, the owner was working on a piece at the moment and took the time to show me how he does his craft. He encouraged me to have fun trying on knitted sweaters, even though he knew I couldn’t purchase any. His passion is reason alone to give him a visit.
6- The Red Door Gallery
This tiny shop is basically a museum of artistic items. Everything here, both the prints and the items, are designed by artists from Edinburgh and the UK. Warning: You might want to buy everything. Just remind yourself that you can’t fit it all in your backpack.
7- The Elephant House
Yes, this is recognized as the birthplace of Harry Potter. And although it is not exactly a witchcraft-themed coffee shop, it does serve an amazing macchiato (the best I had in the city). If you get a chance to go, make sure to check out the bulletin board with the elephant drawings. Many of them are made by children and they are absolutely adorable.
This might be my favorite shop in Edinburgh. The small space is filled with glass containers with mixed liquor inventions. Regardless of what is your preferred spirit, there will definitely be a blend here that you will fall in love with. They also have a 100ml bottle option, so taking one back in the plane is not an issue. I bought a dark chocolate and rum mix, and I am already fearing the moment when I take my last sip.