Okay, I get it. Everyone visiting Edinburgh thinks of the Royal Mile and they think of Princes’ Street. I’m here to tell you that there is a third street to add to your list.
No, it’s not because my name is Victoria (though that’s rather convenient). It’s because on one very short stretch of road you have a ton of great little shops to explore at your leisure.
Luckily for me (less lucky for my wallet), my two favourite gift shops are side by side. The Red Door Gallery is perfect for unique jewelry and will please any font/stationary lover out there. Their cards are epic, if pricey, and they sell lots of cute posters, perfect for framing. David had to stop me from buying a 3D card of a highland cow that turns into a Christmas ornament. I still resent him to this day.
Next door is Museum Context, which seems to be going by the name Context Interiors online. They have a kooky cool collection. I was able to buy a reproduction of a WWII rations book for my mother the war geek, an adorable Nessie poster that now hangs in our guest bedroom, and believe me if I’d had the room in my suitcase I would have been going home with an old-world globe. Just look at the items that adorned the walls leading to the second floor of treasures.
Looking for a joke, or to make fun of your significant other (which I NEVER do… ahem… cough)? The Aha Ha Ha Jokes and Novelties store is exactly what it sounds like. Whoopee cushions, fart noise machines, costumes and disguises. This place has everything for the kid in you. At the bottom of Victoria Street is The Mutt’s Nuts, which sells a combination of joke items, great Christmas stocking stuffers and an all-season wall of Christmas ornaments. To put this in context for you, this is the shop at which David bought his friend a bauble that said “Merry Christmas Wanker” on it. It takes a certain sense of humour.
Hungry? Not a problem! This time round in Edinburgh I was determined to get to Oink. For years I had walked past with a full stomach and seen the roast pig in the window. Their opening hours? They close when the entire pig has been eaten. Vegetarians – I’m sorry, but this place is not for you. It’s a build-your-own pork sandwich place. You have a choice or white or brown roll, a choice of sauce (I opted for BBQ) and a choice of sage and onion stuffing or haggis in your roll. Then comes the pork. Next question. Are you a Piglet (kid’s size), an Oink (medium) or a Grunter (no description necessary). Thank god I only got the Oink. It was all kinds of delciousness. There was no talking, only eating.
Truth… I didn’t go to this patisserie, mainly because I was full from my Oink, but I could just tell by looking through the window that La Barantine Patisserie is the place to go for sweet treats. It’s a brown shop front with a Eiffel Tower of macarons in the window. Sweet jesus, how did we not sample one of those delights? Go, sample and report back.
There are other restaurants on Victoria Street that I’ve never tried, but have heard great things about. Maison Bleue has been around for years and is a chic looking restaurant with – you guessed it – French food. Howie’s also get’s a pretty decent reviews.
I encourage you to discover Victoria Street in Edinburgh for yourself. It’s a gem and a delight. There does seem to be a fairly regular turnover in shops and I don’t think it has anything to do with pricing or quality. There is just less foot traffic. So, please, I urge you, next time you visit Edinburgh, take a little time for tiny Victoria Street. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit Edinburgh, but I always get a thrill when I take my first step up the multi-coloured winding road.
Have you visited Edinburgh? Where did you enjoy shopping? Do you have any favourite streets elsewhere in the world?