Just like Diagon Alley in Harry Potter, you’ll find Scotland’s cities have some lovely quirky shops where you can pick up something special. Maybe even magical… if you’re lucky!
From vintage clothing to craft beer, books, artwork or even bagpipes, this list of standout indie shops will keep you busy in between historic sights.
Scotland is now operating a 5-level Covid-19 system on a local basis. This means different areas of Scotland will have different restrictions.
Find out what level each area is under and read more about the 5-level Covid-19 restrictions to plan and book ahead when considering your trip. You can search for businesses that are open, and Good to Go, where they have a Covid-19 risk assessment.
Glasgow is recognised as one of the best shopping cities in the UK, but did you know about these offbeat indie shops?
Rubadub Records, Howard Street
Rubadub was established in the early 90s, supplying unattainable electronic music coming out of cities like Chicago and Detroit to discerning music lovers. Since then it has become a hub of electronic sounds, specialising not only in music but the latest recording software, studio equipment and DJ kits.
The Hidden Lane and The Hive, Argyle Street
Glasgow’s West End is known for culture, and this little artistic enclave in Finnieston is a fantastic showcase of the area’s independent businesses. The Hidden Lane and the Hive is a community of over 100 studios hidden behind Argyle Street where artists, designers, craftspeople, musicians and other creatives work. There’s a tearoom, an art gallery, a pottery, two hypnotherapists, three hair salons, fur fabric designers, massage therapists and two yoga studios. A wee bit of everything!
Valhalla’s Goat, Great Western Road
Specialising in boutique wines, artisan beers, craft ciders, specialist whiskies and all manner of liquid treasures, Valhalla’s Goat is one of Glasgow’s best artisan bottle shops. Lots of micro brews and hard-to-find treats will make this an exciting trip for the beer and spirits connoisseur in you.
The ‘Fair City’ of Perth is wonderful to look at, but what will you choose to bring home as a souvenir? Here are some ideas.
Provender Brown, George Street
Known affectionately as PB by local foodies, Provender Brown has a reputation for quality, gourmet food and local, seasonal ingredients. You’ll find Perthshire, Scottish, British and international artisan suppliers as well as mouth-watering foodie gifts and fresh, takeaway meals prepared on site. If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Scotland, you’re sure to find it here.
Underneath the Arches, Princes Street
If you love a bit of vintage then this shop will be right up your street. Underneath the Arches sells a range of vintage and painted furniture, homeware, handmade jewellery and other eclectic finds. The perfect place to find something unique for a loved one.
Tayberry Gallery, Princes Street
Give yourself plenty of time to look around this attractive independent shop and gallery, which showcases unusual Scottish crafts and design. You’ll find pieces by local creatives, including glassware, ceramics, jewellery and textiles, which would all make excellent gifts. Displays at the Tayberry Gallery change on a regular basis, so you never know what you might see!
For more information on a trip to Perth check out these 9 Quirky Perth Streets with Great Places to Stay.
The bonnie city of Dundee is home to the V&A Dundee design museum and other showstopping sights, but taking time to explore the local shops is no bad idea either.
Spex Pistols, Johnston’s Lane
If you’re eyeing up some designer eyewear, then Spex Pistols should definitely be on your list of stops in Dundee. Even if you’re not actively looking for glasses, it’s still well worth a look. Possibly the coolest independent boutique of its kind in Scotland, you’ll find designer, vintage and classic spectacles and sunglasses – it also doubles up as an intimate gig venue.
Halo, Broughty Ferry
Halo is a lifestyle store situated in the beautiful town of Broughty Ferry, a seaside suburb of Dundee. Here you’ll find a carefully chosen selection of jewellery, handbags, scarves, gifts & cards. Meticulous sourcing and an emphasis on quality and individual style mean you’re sure to find a unique gift here for somebody special – or yourself!
Assai Records, Union Street
Visit Assai Records for all your vinyl and music needs! It’s not only great music you’ll find here but everything from T-shirts to turntables. The shop recently relocated from Broughty Ferry, so don’t get lost trying to find it!
For more information on a trip to Dundee check out these 7 Quirky Dundee Streets with Great Places to Stay.
Aberdeen is a friendly coastal city positively brimming with history and culture, but even the biggest history-buffs should have time for a spot of retail therapy.
Rosemary Planet, Holburn Street
We’re all trying to be a little greener these days, and Rosemary Planet is the perfect place to show-off your green credentials! This ‘refillery’ in West End of Aberdeen lets you buy great organic produce without the packaging. Bring your containers and stock up on eco-friendly, sustainable and organic products like nuts, oats, grains, pastas, pulses, rice, muesli, granolas, teas, coffees, herbs, spices and oils.
Almondine, Thistle Street
For those of you with a sweet tooth, we have just the place. Almondine specialises in French delicacies with a focus on macarons. Fresh coffee is also on the menu, and if you’re looking to gift someone the macaron experience, you can buy gift vouchers too!
The Long Dog Boutique, Claremont Street
It just wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t include a shop for your wee doggie! The Long Dog Boutique is a lovely pet shop attached to a cafe. You’ll find wide range of foods, treats, toys and natural boredom busters. That should keep them happy.
For more information on a trip to Aberdeen check out these 7 Quirky Aberdeen Streets with Great Places to Stay.
Stirling is home to spectacular monuments and the surrounding landscapes will fill you with wonder. Visit these fun shops to round off your day.
Contempo, King Street
Contempo stocks unique, handcrafted gifts and homeware designed by Scottish artists and artisans. This is the perfect shop to buy stocking-fillers for Christmas that will remind you of your trip to Stirling. Their best-selling product? Haggis Spice Chocolate! Yummy.
House of Henderson, Friars Street
Since you’re in Stirling, Scotland’s ancient capital, perhaps it’s time to splash out on traditional Highland dress? House of Henderson is one of Scotland’s longest established kiltmakers, and you can be assured that your Highland-wear will be crafted with care, attention to detail and to the highest quality standards. All kilts are all fully hand stitched from start to finish. Worldwide shipping is provided to international customers.
Stirling Bagpipes, Broad Street
And since you’ve bought a kilt, why not top it off with a set of bagpipes? Stirling Bagpipes combines a manufacturing workshop and a retail outlet. They specialise in making high quality hand crafted Highland bagpipes as well as smallpipes and borderpipes. This is a great place for a browse, even if you don’t think you’ll be taking up a new musical hobby!
For more information on a trip to Stirling check out these 9 Quirky Stirling Streets with Great Places to Stay.
There are lots of options when it comes to shopping in Inverness, including the Victorian Market and Eastgate Shopping Centre, but you won’t want to miss these indie standouts.
Leakey’s Bookshop, Church Street
An Inverness legend, Leakey’s Bookshop is the second largest second-hand bookshop in Scotland. Located in an old church, and heated by a gigantic wood-burning stove, Leakey’s looks like something straight out of Harry Potter. With thousands of books to choose from, your inner bibliophile will be very happy here.
Castle Gallery, Castle Street
Art and castle lovers will enjoy this one. The Castle Gallery is situated in the lee of Inverness Castle. Expect a fine selection of works from both established artists and emerging talent. You can buy paintings, handmade prints, designer jewellery, original crafts and more.
Judith Glue, Bridge Street
Visit Judith Glue in Inverness for original Orkney knitwear and other ethical clothing brands and products. Small Scottish crafters and makers are well represented here, with items from all over the Highlands and islands including Harris Tweed, Scottish soaps and Sheila Fleet jewellery.
For more information on a trip to Inverness check out these 7 Quirky Inverness Streets with Great Places to Stay.
There’s nothing quite like wandering the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, where Scottish history awaits around every corner. What souvenirs will you take home?
Armchair Books, West Port
Book lovers will enjoy a trip to the West Port, just up from the Grassmarket, where there are several second-hand bookshops. Lose yourself in Armchair Books, a fascinating treasure trove of literary finds. With shelves that rise all the way up to the tall ceiling, and overflowing boxes on the floor this place has a great atmosphere.
Armstrong’s Vintage, Old Town
Armstrong & Son is one of the UK’s oldest and most loved vintage clothing stores. Whether you want a fancy coat or an 80s tracksuit you’ll find some weird and wonderful pieces on display. With three locations in Edinburgh’s Old Town you’ll surely find the threads you were after.
The Cat’s Miaou, Elm Row
The Cat’s Miaou is an independent gift shop with something for everyone. Choose a Scottish gift that you won’t find on the high street, including contemporary silver jewellery, cute baby clothes, tiny ceramic animals, bamboo clothing, scarves, mugs, tote bags, and so much more.
For more information on a trip to Edinburgh check out these 11 Quirky Edinburgh Streets with Great Places to Stay.
It’s time to put on your explorer’s hat and go walkabout in a Scottish city. Don’t have an explorer’s hat? Maybe you can pick one up in an independent shop along the way! Find out more about city breaks in Scotland.