A vintage day in Edinburgh
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Sometimes it’s a treat to step back in time, if only for a day, and the city of Edinburgh is so steeped in history and mystery that it’s the perfect place to do just that!
Tips for the day:
- Bring a water bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated!
- Make sure you are warm enough. It is Scotland after all, and the weather can change quickly.
- Use words like “fetching”, “dandy”, “enthralled”, “precious”, “abominable”, “peckish” and “balderdash” – just for the fun of it!
- Bring a friend. Why not have some company and share the fun! It is also the perfect way to make sure you have your own photographer with you, if you happen to want some visual evidence of your vintage day out…
Start your day by putting on your favorite vintage outfit: anything from a 1940s dress or a 1980s jumpsuit to a fancy tweed suit. Nothing to wear? No problem! Then your first mission of the day is to find suitable attire. Why not head to any of the second-hand or vintage shops around Edinburgh? Or head in to Cookie on Cockburn Street for a lovely new dress, Walker Slater on Victoria Street for a brand-new tweed suit or Armstrong’s Vintage for clothing from any decade your heart could desire. Of course, if you’re happy with jeans and a t-shirt, then there’s nothing wrong with that either, as long as you have a little bit of vintage in your soul.
The most important meal of the day is, of course, breakfast. Make your way to the Grand Café and get yourself a good meal to get your energy levels up so you can be on your feet all day.
If it's cold outside, then you could also treat yourself to a glass of warm cognac to really get the spirits going for the day.
Time to explore. One of my absolute favorite things to do when exploring a new place, or an old one, is to just walk around and see where my feet takes me. However, I’ll let you in on of some of my favorite shopping spots around town because they’re just too good to miss. Cookie (mentioned above) is definitely worth a visit because it’s adjoined to the shop Mysa (which means “cosy” in Swedish): a cute little shop with beautiful books, plants and other quirky things. Another Swedish word which is perfect for vintage shopping is the word “fynda” which basically means to find something really nice at a great price.
Of course, second hand shops are the perfect place to find lovely things at good prices and if you want to “fynda”, stop by any second-hand shops in Stockbridge, St Columba's Hospice along Leith Walk or head to the vintage shops Herman Brown, Those were the Days or Carnivale.
Of course not all shopping has to be for clothes, it can also be edible things. Head to The Fudge House and pick out your favorite flavors. Or if you’re in the mood for something savory, then why not walk along Victoria Street and stop by I.J Mellis for some cheese? Next doors you can aslo pick up some French bread from La Barantine and head to Princes Street Gardens for a lovely picnic! If you’re not a fan of picnics, or maybe it is simply too cold, you can also pop in to any of the lovely pubs around town or head to Clarinda’s Tea Room and be a bit naughty and have cake for lunch. Because why not?
Why not emerge in to someone else’s story by reading a book to let the stomach settle after lunch and get your daily dose of some culture. I often carry a book with me, but if you’re not as big of a book worm as me, then don’t worry: there are some beautiful book shops around Edinburgh as well. Just have a look in any of the second-hand shops, or head to the beautiful multi-floored Waterstones. I would warn you however, it is very easy to get caught in there, just looking through all the interesting options along the walls.
If your little reading break didn’t give you enough of your daily dose of culture, then maybe stop by any of the museums on or around The Mound. Anyways, reading often makes me thirsty for tea and it also happens to be the afternoon: time to head to The Dome to sit down in their Georgian Tea Room and have an Afternoon Tea with scones, tea, tarts and perhaps even some champagne.
Shh, this one is a secret. No really, you have to promise to only take the best ladies and gentlemen to this place and not just let anyone in on the secret. Because part of the charm is that it is a secret.
Just trust me, when your throat is feeling a bit dry and you are in the mood for something boozy just head to Panda & Sons for a “haircut”. You won’t regret it.
However if the legs are feeling tired and the throat is yearning for some water of life then of course you can also head to one of the exquisite whisky bars in Edinburgh. Usquabae, the Amber Bar at the Scotch Whisky Experience, or the Scotch Malt Whisky Society are all sure to meet your need for some Scotch. Slainte Mhath!
I must admit that I'm definitely more of a morning person than a night owl. So after a day full of adventures and experiences I feel the need to relax. Either I would have a nice cup of peppermint tea whilst reading a book in my cosy bed or I would head to The Picture House at the Scotman for a true cinema experience. Sink in to their comfortable chairs, with some popcorn and a glass of wine and disappear in to a film like Breakfast at Tiffanys or Whisky Galore!
As a wee bonus I thought I'd share my best spots to go for a photographic walk in case you'd like to snap some wonderful photos of yourself or your surroundings.
- Dean Village is a cute kind of hidden part of town, with a path along the water that leads to straight to Stockbridge, where a market is held on Sundays.
- If you walk around Arthurs Seat you may stumble upon Dr Neils Gardens and the cosy pub The Sheep Heid.
- Anywhere in Old Town seems to be scenic, especially the older university buildings and some of the cute little closes off the royal mile. Or if you want to pay entrance to the castle or Holyrood palace - they're stunning buildings as well.
- If you fancy photos by the seaside then Portobello Beach is the place for you. There's a lovely beach promenade there as well.
If you liked this guide - check out my Winter Guide to Edinburgh as well!