A splendid social affair woven tightly into the cultural fabric, Scotland’s many markets provide a wondrous showcase of local produce, arts, crafts and vintage fashion. If you’re a self-confessed bargain hunter or are looking for ways to shop local, have a rummage through our guide to the best Scottish markets.
Although it may not have the same spark as in years gone by, the infamous Barras Market is absolutely worth a visit, if only for nostalgia’s sake. Located at Glasgow’s East End (you can’t miss those inviting archways) a whole world of bargain opportunities awaits. Hours can fly by rummaging through the plenitude of eclectic stalls, while those who enjoy separating tat from treasure will fit right in. Going strong since the days when traders worked from handcarts at the start of the 20th century, the Barras, in short, is a rite of passage and mandatory pilgrimage site for serious flea market enthusiasts.
A well-orchestrated gathering, the Aberdeen Country Fair springs up in the centre of the city on the last Saturday of every month. Swing by anytime from 9am to 5pm and peruse the insane number of stalls, each set up with care under the cover of gazebos. The tribe of local producers are forever on hand to tempt and spark interest with a range of fresh meat, fish, cheese, craft beer, fancy spirits, home baking, arts, crafts and jewellery.
Make a point of browsing the Kelso Farmers Market if in or around Kelso on the fourth Saturday of the month. Trust us, it’s worth it! A foodies playground, the range of organic pork, veggies, pedigree Aberdeen Angus beef, home baking, bread and eggs amalgamates to a truly epic feast. Set in Kelso Square, expect critically acclaimed fare from the Scottish Borders.
Loch Lomond Shores Farmers Market is the mothership in a galaxy of top-notch Scottish markets. Between the usual suspects of sinfully indulgent cheeses, homemade jams, macarons, chutneys, oils, shortbread and artisanal breads to seasonal stock like specific veggies, rare breed meats, certain seafood and more, the whole spectacle is finely tuned and quite frankly fabulous. Welcomed wildcards include waffles, churros, street food, cold process soaps, fudge and Bratwurst, to name a few. With an emphasis on seasonal and a penchant for artisanal, in tandem with the striking location, Loch Lomond takes the biscuit.
Perth boasts a wonderfully atmospheric farmers market that mimics a sort of open air delicatessen. Founded in 1999 by local sheep farmer Jim Fairlie, the stalls seem to get better by the year — this isn’t their first rodeo! Operating on the first Saturday of each month and with copious accolades to rave about, the 45-some stalls sport an impressive spread of local produce. Asides from samples galore, perhaps the best part is the monthly cooking demo, courtesy of the deftly skilled local chefs.
Adding another precious stone onto Perth’s already resplendent market crown, Fair City Markets are magnets for Up Cyclers, knick-knack seekers and serial shoppers on a mission to shop local. These sporadic markets entice with towering selections of seasonal goodies, which can mean anything from plants and shrubs, to trees, Christmas decorations, arts and crafts, gifts, paintings, ceramics and of course food and drink. The beauty of these mixed fairs lies in the surprise.
The Montrose Makers Market, with its potion of bespoke products and fancy finds, represents the tremendous talent found in Scotland, and especially Angus. As an outlet for creatives and artsy types, there is no shortage of masterpieces and fabulous finds. From intricately decorated ceramics to adorable expert knits, expect plenty of lust-worthy gift inspo.
If you have a penchant for craft beer and a burning desire to surpass the status quo then Glasgow’s Urban Market is one to watch out for. Hosted on the first and third Sunday of the month at the Drygate Brewery, this market is a magnet for hipsters with its range of meticulously curated stalls selling the whole gamut from crochet cacti and natural skincare, to aromatic soap, oil paintings and trendy t-shirts. Dynamite eats and ridiculously tasty brews make it a win-win.
Brought to us by The Vintage Vendors, keep checking the calendar for A Spoonful Of Vintage, a vintage fair of unrivaled proportions tailor-made for fashion fiends. These seasonal markets cover all retro grounds from fashion and homewares, to accessories, ceramics and even furniture. Naturally, all the memorable decades are paraded around the fair like a fusion of flashbacks longing to relive their glory days.
The moment December descends upon Edinburgh, the entire city transforms into a true winter wonderland, made all the merrier by the European Christmas Market. This annual festive market welcomes the crème de la crème of producers, artisans, craftspeople and foodie aficionados from far and near to put on a spread fit for a king. Lashings of mulled wine and adult hot chocolate complement the never-ending assortment of sausages and cured meats. Similarly, the Belgian chocolate fondue delights are best appreciated while ogling at the selection of authentic German Christmas ornaments. Expect anything and everything!