It may be small, but the city of Edinburgh can easily compete with the most vibrant, cosmopolitan cities in Europe. It is, of course, the capital of Scotland and home to the seat of the Scottish Parliament. Despite its long history, the city retains a youthful, exciting atmosphere which is in no doubt helped by the presence of a number of universities and colleges, including the University of Edinburgh and Napier University. It has an arts and culture scene barely rivaled in the rest of the country, most famously playing host to the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe festival which is the largest performing arts festival in the UK, and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Edinburgh offers a range of nightlife, including a great selection of high class bars and restaurants right down to dingy underground clubs frequented by students. It also has a great selection of theatres and concert venues, including the Edinburgh Playhouse and the Festival theatre. On top of all that, the city is host to the biggest (and probably the coldest) New Year’s Eve bash in the country with the Hogmanay Street Party.
The first port of call for shopping addicts in Edinburgh would have to be Princes Street. Princes Street is home to the usual high street stores such as Topshop, Zara and H&M as well as the department stores Jenners, Debenhams and House of Fraser. Towards the east end of the street you will find slightly more expensive fare, including the first Harvey Nichols department store in Scotland which links onto the newly created (and designer label heavy) Multrees Walk.
For a distinctly Scottish shopping experience head to the Royal Mile which runs between Holyrood Palace and the Castle and is home to a great selection of stores, such as the Edinburgh Woolen Mill, selling cashmere clothing, souvenirs and of course, all the whiskey you could wish for.
When the rain starts to fall (which it will undoubtedly will) Edinburgh boasts a number of shopping centres. In the city centre are the Princes Mall, which plays host to more high street favourites like New Look and The Body Shop, and the St James Centre which is home to the huge John Lewis department store. Further afield from the centre is Ocean Terminal with its collection of smaller, independent stores alongside favourite brands like Superdry. Finally, for something a little different, head to the Grassmarket and enjoy its cobbled streets and quirky selection of Scottish designers and vintage and independent clothing retailers.