Our guide to Grassmarket and Old Town Christmas Shopping!
There are so many brilliant shops, cafes and pubs in and around the Grassmarket it is hard to narrow it down, but this is our pick of 7 favourites! If you have any others, please let us know.
Armchair Books, 72-74 West Port
Describing themselves as ‘very nearly alphabetised chaos’, Armchair Books is the local’s beloved second hand bookshop. The shelves creak with a rich collection of old (some very old) to contemporary books, complete with hand-written notes and recommendations. They also have a large section of both old and new Scottish Literature, from Burns to Welsh. We have found some beautiful editions of books here which make wonderful and personal Christmas gifts. If you are a book worm or know one, this shop is definitely worth a browse!
Demijohn – The Liquid Deli, 32 Victoria St
The sweet shop for adults, whether you are looking for a Mead, fruity Gin or Creamy Liqueur, this little Deli will have a flavour for you! Simply choose a beautiful bottle design and fill it up with one of their delicious flavours. The staff are very passionate and knowledgeable, Bill has known the owners of this small business for many years and it is always a delight to sample their produce! Our personal favourites must be the Sloe Gin and the Bramble Scotch Whisky! Best bit, you can take back the bottle and have them refill it for you, so you are saving the planet as well!
Coda Music, 12 Bank St
Coda music, established in 1990, is an independant Vinyl and CD specialist. They have a large selection of new vinyl releases and albums from all genres! They boast the largest selection of Folk and Scottish CD’s in the country with a big selection of Jazz, Country and more. This is a fun shop to browse and listen to a few albums, we have discovered interesting new music here and found perfect gifts!
I.J Mellis Cheesemonger, 30 Victoria St
This is the home of some serious cheese. After working in the British cheese industry for 15 years, Iain Mellis opened his first shop in a tiny cave like space on Victoria Street, where it remains today after 25 years of trading. We are lucky enough to be just around the corner and often enjoy the wonderful smells as we walk past! Pick up your Christmas Stilton, creamy butter and carefully selected red wines here!
The Bow Bar, 80 W Bow/Victoria St
This is one of Jack’s favourite Edinburgh Pubs, a traditional cosy establishment, which was awarded ‘Best Bar in Scotland’ at the Scottish Hospitality Awards in 2018. A perfect little spot to take a pause in the middle of all the Christmas shopping. It has racked up many awards over the years and boasts a wide selection of whiskys and beers. Enjoy the atmosphere with a winter warmer and bring your dog along too! It’s hard to choose a favourite pub as we are spoilt for choice but we must also mention Sandy Bell’s just round the corner on Forest Road to catch live music most nights!
Joe Cool, 3 Greyfriars
This is one of Helen’s favourites for quirky jewellery and colourful accessories. Established in 1978 (just a year after Bill Baber Knitwear), it has always been a popular spot to look out for gifts and stocking fillers. Sort yourself (and the family) out with some Christmas socks from Joe Cool this year!
Bill Baber Knitwear, 66 Grassmarket
At this point, we have to put ourselves on the list! Our Workshop is a creative hub of activity all year round as we create garments in house to sell in our boutique. We love showing customers around and talking to them about our work here. We use a selection of high quality, wool’s, silks and linens to create beautiful one-off pieces. The business was established just over 40 years ago and we look forward to seeing Edinburgh regulars visit us each year, particularly around Christmas. We hope you will be able to visit us this festive season.