The nice thing about my selection is that they’re all within a few streets of each other. The Grassmarket in Edinburgh has turned into a wonderful alternative to Princes Street for unique gift shopping, with a host of art galleries, bookshops, haberdasheries, vintage shops, a hatter’s, classy cashmere shops (unlike many of the Royal Mile tartan tatteries) and a few nice pubs for a post-parting-with-your-cash mulled cider.
The Red Door Gallery, 42 Victoria Street, Edinburgh EH1 2JW, www.edinburghart.com
I could spend all day and the contents of my bank account here. From Donna Wilson cushions to unusual art prints, make-your-own mobile kits to jewellery, this tiny shop just up from the Grassmarket is packed with the kind of lovely pieces that would make Christmas morning sparkle for any art-lover.
Godiva, 9 Westport, Edinburgh EH1 2JA, www.godivaboutique.co.uk
A gorgeous treasure chest of independent designer and vintage clothes, jewellery and accessories. When we’re talking about designer clothes, we’re not talking £700 for a dress – Godiva supports local and starting-out fashion designers, including art students and the just-graduated, so although it’s not as cheap as some of the well-curated vintage stock in their back room, it isn’t outrageous either – ideal for a unique gift for the special man or woman in your life. And the accessories and jewellery are well within any gift budget.
Analogue Books, 39 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QB, www.analoguebooks.co.uk
I had to include at least one bookshop in my top three, because new books really do make my Christmas holidays a magical time. Analogue is the best shop in Edinburgh for unusual coffee-table books, zines, art and design books, and the occasional print. Intelligently selected, I’d like to read every book they stock.
… and an honourable mention to a few more far-flung (book)shops…
The Golden Hare, 102 West Bow, Edinburgh, goldenharebooks.com
A relative newcomer to the street, but one that deserves to prosper for its beautiful selection of illustrated fiction, non-fiction and mini gallery space
The Edinburgh Bookshop, 219 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh EH10 4DH, www.edinburghbookshop.com
I always mean to read more non-fiction, and The Edinburgh Bookshop is an inspiration. It’s partly the small and un-intimidating size of the shelf space in this teeny shop, but largely the thoughtful curation of titles that make it stand out. They’re great at helping you find kids’ books too.
The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DF, http://fruitmarket.co.uk/
Alongside their usual delightful bookshop and cafe, the Fruitmarket are running special artisan Christmas stalls on late-night shopping nights in the three Thursdays running up to Christmas. Open from 6–9pm on 6, 13 and 20 December.