Scottish produce enjoys a reputation for quality, from sumptuous summer fruits and venison steaks to heather-coloured tweed and Celtic jewellery. Edinburgh’s markets have the lot in some knockout locations, both in the city centre and the intriguing outskirts.
Edinburgh’s markets are packed with fantastic produce and give visitors the chance to experience Scotland’s capital at its buzzing best. For decades, the Farmers’ Market has supplied shoppers with fine food in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. The West End Fair vends beautiful crafts during festival time, while the Christmas Market keeps the mulled wine flowing. There are some new stalls on the block, too, notably hip street-food hangout Pitt Market in Leith, which has late openings and live music. This and the Stockbridge Market provide a perfect focus for out-of-the-centre explorations, while the Old Tolbooth Market is sited in one of the most historic parts of the city. Shop on!
The salty suburb of Leith now has a yard market to call its own – Pitt Market – where you can chomp your way round food stalls vending shellfish, noodles, steak and toasties (Saturday noon to 10pm, Sunday noon to 8pm). Their USP is the buskers that turn it into something akin to a yard party. Top recommendations include the vintage milk float selling waffles and ice cream, plus excellent coffee.
This is a new space in a historic area, just off ancient Canongate in the heart of the Old Town. Envisaged as a community arts and commerce project, the Old Tolbooth Market (daily 11am to 6pm) has a multicultural remit, with a Scottish/Afro-Caribbean street buffet, Jam Rock Jamaican chicken and more. You’ll also find hot Tanzanian hot chilli sauces, flowers, arts and crafts, plus live music and performances.
Hosted in August during the Festival period in a lovely churchyard at the western end of Princes Square Gardens, the West End Fair is a consciously classy craft fair, with the best local makers selected to exhibit their goods each year. It has more the feel of a design fair than a market – you can browse hand-dyed silks, luxurious wool and tweed clothing, jewels, art prints, ceramics and glasswork.
This is an updated version of story written by Alex Mackay.