Edinburgh is a wonderful city to visit, but is it almost impossible to find some authentic souvenirs to pack in your suitcase? The answer is definitely ‘no’ as even on the iconic Royal Mile there are plenty of opportunities to buy something that is traditionally Scottish and will bring back happy memories of your visit. So, we have listed for you below the top 10 souvenirs to buy in Edinburgh.
1. A Bottle of Edinburgh Whiskey
Edinburgh whiskey is popular all over the world and what better souvenir to take home than a bottle of whiskey? This is souvenir shopping at its best as there are plenty of chances to taste some of the many different whiskeys that include single malts and blends – some of them with a rich peaty flavor. If you prefer, you can buy a gift box with several different whiskeys to enjoy once you get home.
2. Go Tartan!
There are plenty of opportunities to buy some tartan in the city. The ultimate purchase is a kilt which can be bought either ready-to-wear or made-to-measure. Kilts are the traditional highland dress that you will have seen worn by men and boys during your stay in Edinburgh. A kilt is made from nearly eight meters of worsted wool and there are four main color variations and nearly 3,500 different tartans. There are plenty of other tartan alternatives to suit the space in your case and your budget and these include hats and caps, umbrellas, bags, and purses.
3. A Piece of Modern Art
If you would like a special souvenir but ‘traditional’ is not your style, there are some great pieces of modern art available at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Another good hunting ground is the Tron Kirk Market on Royal Mile.
4. A Bottle or Two of Irn-Bru
Irn-Bru is definitely Scotland’s second national drink and a quirky souvenir is definitely a couple of bottles of this iconic orange fizzy drink that has been produced since 1901. Although not manufactured in Edinburgh, it is certainly widely available in the city.
5. Something Knitted?
There is a great array of knitwear shops on Royal Mile because Scottish knitwear is both popular and somewhat essential because of the Scottish weather! Cashmere is a particularly good buy as it is light but very warm and is available in both classic and fashionable styles of jumpers and cardigans and also in colorful socks that definitely keep toes warm! If you like classic good-looking clothes, a Harris Tweed jacket is not only attractive but very hard wearing too. Other items made in the distinctive soft shades of Harris Tweed include handbags, purses, and wallets.
6. A Traditional Quaich
Beautifully handcrafted in silver, these traditional drinking vessels are very stylish and very Scottish! There are still several bars in the city that serves all drinks in Quaich which come in a variety of sizes. As well as having a practical use, a collection of Quaich makes a special display feature in any home.
7. Or what about a Spurtle?
You can find these distinctive wooden spoons in many shops but it isn’t always apparent what they are used for! A spurtle is a traditional utensil for stirring tasty Scottish porridge
This wooden stirring rod dates from the 15th century and is usually crafted in beech, cherry wood or maple with a handcrafted decorative top shaped like a thistle. A spurtle is popular with Scottish cooks as its slender shape ensures that the porridge remains silky smooth and does not go lumpy! As well as using it to stir porridge, a spurtle is ideal for stirring soups, broths, and casseroles too.
8. Heather Gems…a link with the Scottish Countryside
This unique range of ladies’ jewelry has been crafted in Pitlochry for more than 50 years and is widely available in Edinburgh. The jewelry is made from natural stems of heather that are carefully dyed to mirror the beautiful. Shades of the heather on the moorlands. There are eye-catching brooches, necklaces, and earrings, each reflecting the beautiful muted shades of the heather.
9. And a Delicious Souvenir…
For many visitors to Edinburgh, it is essential to have space in their travel bag to squeeze in a red tartan patterned box of shortbread. Shortbread is a delicious crumbly, buttery biscuit that has been made in Scotland since the 18th century. The traditional recipe consists of only butter, sugar, and flour and it is relatively easy to make – the common mistake is to overcook it! As well as buying a box (or two) of shortbread, many people also buy a traditionally designed shortbread mold depicting a thistle and a sugar dredger so that they can recreate this delicious biscuit which is especially popular at Christmas time.
10. A Piece of Edinburgh Crystal
What finer souvenir from Edinburgh than a piece of its crystal? Edinburgh crystal was first made in the mid 19th century in four classic designs – Star of Edinburgh, Thistle, King James and Lochnagar. Glasses, decanters, vases, and bowls were in the beautiful range. Sadly, the company went into administration in 2006 and the crystal is no longer made. Having said that, it is not difficult to find pieces of Edinburgh crystal for sale in smaller gift shops and antique shops.
Updated: December 10, 2018