Shopping in Edinburgh and the Lothians

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Edinburgh and the Lothians Shopping

Despite its renown as a shopping street, Princes Street in the New Town may disappoint some visitors with its dull modern architecture, average chain stores, and fast-food outlets. One block north of Princes Street, Rose Street has many smaller specialty shops; part of the street is a pedestrian zone, so it's a pleasant place to browse. The shops on George Street in New Town tend to be fairly upscale. London names, such as Laura Ashley and Penhaligons, are prominent, though some of the older independent stores continue to do good business.

The streets crossing George Street—Hanover, Frederick, and Castle—are also worth exploring. Dundas Street, the northern extension of Hanover Street, beyond Queen Street Gardens, has several antiques shops. Thistle Street, originally George Street's "back lane," or service area, has several boutiques and more antiques shops.

As may be expected, many shops along the Royal Mile in Old Town sell what may be politely or euphemistically described as tourist-ware—whiskies, tartans, and tweeds. Careful exploration, however, will reveal some worthwhile establishments. Shops here also cater to highly specialized interests and hobbies. Close to the castle end of the Royal Mile, just off George IV Bridge, is Victoria Street, with specialty shops grouped in a small area. Follow the tiny West Bow to Grassmarket for more specialty stores.

Stafford and William streets form a small, upscale shopping area in a Georgian setting. Walk to the west end of Princes Street and then along its continuation, Shandwick Place, then turn right onto Stafford Street. William Street crosses Stafford halfway down.

North of Princes Street, on the way to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, is Stockbridge, an oddball shopping area of some charm, particularly on St. Stephen Street. To get here, walk north down Frederick Street and Howe Street, away from Princes Street, then turn left onto North West Circus Place.

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