Thinking of a luxury weekend away? Wanting a retail fix? Find your way to Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland for the best in high street fashions and a fantastic view of the best in Scottish architecture.
If you can tear your eyes away from the scenery – Edinburgh Castle and the South Town are visible from the south side of the long thoroughfare – you have nearly 1 mile of uninterrupted shopping ahead of you. Here you find not only some big names, like Hennes & Mauritz and Marks & Spencer, but also stores that are unique to Scotland and will make shopping a delight.
Historic Department Stores
The famous Jenners department store is one of the highlights of Scottish shopping. Now owned by House Of Fraser, it’s been on Princes Street since 1838, and is housed in one of the city’s most beautiful Victorian buildings. Its reputation as ‘the Harrods of the North’ is fully borne out by its spectacular food department and elaborate main hall.
Jenners is only one of the venerable English department stores on Princes Street. Debenhams also has an establishment, a multi-floor emporium for homewares, British style and all the latest cosmetics.
High Street Fashions
If you want to pick up the latest in British fashion, Princes Street is the best place to start. The Cath Kidston shop is the home of floral vintage style, while Topshop and Topman focus on young, edgy pieces and often carry collaborations with high-end designers.
For elaborate occasionwear, head to Monsoon, which specialises in elegant dresses and fascinators for weddings and cocktail parties. H&M and Zara are also both hotspots for shoppers intent on stocking up on excellent pieces for workwear and parties- but be prepared to walk away with more pieces than you’d planned, because the low prices and on-trend clothes can be addictive!
Shoes are well-served, too – Office is all the rage for beautiful flats and men’s shoes, Schuh stocks Converse and famous stiletto brand Irregular Choice, and Clark’s does cult pieces in lovely leather.
Unique Specialty Stores
Want something a bit more offbeat? Princes Street has that, too. There are several kiltmakers along the stretch, so if you want something made in your family tartan, pop into Hector Russell or John Morrison to find what you need, sporran and all.
Whittards has every variety of tea imaginable, including several specific to Scotland, and is fantastic for gifts for those mad on their brew. And let’s not forget the National Gallery of Scotland, whose gift shop is all you need for fantastic souvenirs. (By the way, a visit to the National Gallery is high recommended — maybe after some shopping?)
While the girls are shopping…
Let’s face it, women are normally bigger shoppers than men. So here’s good news for all men who fear a day of boredom: in the vicinity of Princes Street there are plenty of great pubs (or, if that’s more to your liking, great museums) where you’ll be more than welcome. Try some Scottish whisky and fish & chips and watch the world go by, and the day won’t be boring at all!
Fiona Scott works for an agency that rents out luxury apartments in Edinburgh. She loves shopping as much as Edinburgh itself and hopes to attract people to come visit the city.