Last spring I visited Scotland on a bank holiday weekend with some friends. We had a great time... despite the almost constant rain. Our route started in Edinburgh and took us all the way up to Fort William. The scenery in Scotland is breathtaking, but it was its capital I most fell in love with. Walking through this place with its castles, crooked alley ways, secret vaults and grand Georgian houses it feels like history is about to come alive.
Edinburgh's streets are filled with quirky shops, cozy cafés and down-to-earth pubs. Here are some great ethical and sustainable places I found during my short two day stay.
The Hibiscus Flower is a lovely little boutique on Stephen Street selling only ethical and fair trade fashion and jewellery. It was so nice to be able to simply go into a shop and try on fair trade clothes rather than having to order them of the internet all the time. Sarah, the shop owner, put together a great selection of pieces from brands such as Peopletree, Mudd and Water, Johari, Komodo or Rapanui - an eco-fashion brand from the Isle of Wight. And should you have to wait to try something on - you can pet Nelly the little shop dog in the meantime!
On the same street you will also find the fancy vintage boutique Those Were the Days which specialises in high-end vintage garments and the cute Relove offering second-hand children's clothes as well as a buggy repair service.
In the medieval part of town, at Grassmarket you find one of the three branches of the vintage emporium W. Armstrong & Son. This is one of the best vintage shops I have been to so far, an absolute gem! When you step through its doors you're transported into a different era. The shop looks like the cabinet of curiosities of an eccentric retired show girl missing the glory of days past. It is a veritable smorgasbord of everything vintage. Don't get lost in there!
Walking up the curved Victoria Street towards Edinburgh Castle you pass a real mix of small touristy shops. My two favourites were Anta and the red door gallery. Anta sells classic Scotland-inspired homewares, furniture and accessories. Everything the shops sells is made in the country. (They may have moved in the mean time - you can find the new shop location on their website). The red door gallery is a shop and gallery-space selling affordable art and supporting young and up and coming UK artists. If you're looking for a truly authentic souvenir or a quirky gift - these are two great places to check out.
If you've had enough of the big smoke and long for some country side charm - I recommend you go and visit the quaint little town of Pitlochry. We stopped here by chance on our way back from the Highlands and were completely taken in by this lively little place. True - it is touristy, but you will have a hard time finding a place that isn't. And on its streets you can discover some real gems, like the cute boutique Honest Thistle. It stocks a great selection of contemporary gift wares, carefully selected from talented Scottish and UK makers and designers.
I hope you enjoyed my Edinburgh feature. Have you been to the city yourself? Any discoveries you want to share?