The Best Bookshops in Edinburgh | A Local’s Guide

I’m about to give you the ultimate list of bookshops in Edinburgh. Some old, some new and all worth a visit on your trip to Edinburgh.

armchair books, front of store, green and gold, vintage bookstore.

There’s an unmistakable scent that comes with vintage bookshops. For me the smell of a dusty old book shop mixed with coffee gives me that warm cosy feeling in my belly. I’ve grown up wandering these shops and could spend hours in them, running my fingers over familiar old leather spines.

It feels almost nostalgic. Picking your favourite book off a shelf, sitting by a rainy window and getting lost in a story you’ve read a million times. I read a lot when I was younger, my kids are readers too. Anytime is the perfect time for getting cosy with a book, but the tail end of winter in Edinburgh is something else. Here are my favourite places to get one and maybe sit a wee while…

Side note: Edinburgh really is lacking in a vintage bookshop with good coffee and cake, and maybe a florists or some thing equally aesthetically pleasing attached to it. I imagine I would spend all day there and never leave, curled up in a cosy corner like a cat, making myself at home.


Armchair Books
72-74 West Port, Edinburgh EH1 2LE

This is my favourite vintage shop in all of Edinburgh. Such a quirky little place, filled with the oldest books and on shelves that form arches above your head. Overflowing and filled with character, you can get lost here for hours. Sometimes I do.


McNaughtons & Typewronger
4a Haddington Pl, Edinburgh EH7 4AE

One vintage, one new, both such a cosy vibe that you won’t want to leave and a door that connects them both. Feeling cold? or want to get real comfy… they’ll make you a cup of tea if you ask and you can pop in and use the store’s typewriter too if you want to create your own little masterpiece while you visit.

Topping and Company
2 Blenheim Pl, Edinburgh EH7 5JH

A newer bookstore to the city, it was once a bank of Scotland and has little rooms dedicated to categories, with views of Edinburgh from every window. Each room leads to another like a little maze. You can stop here for a cup of tea too. Don’t mind if I do….

Golden Hare Books
68 St Stephen St, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH3 5AQ

Sweet little shop tucked away on a street in Stockbridge, a quirky little kids corner and a wood burning stove that gives it a lovely little homely feel. It has a more minimal feel than other stores and is less overwhelming than the vintage shops dotted around.


Ginger and Pickles Children’s Bookshop
51 St Stephen St, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH3 5AH

Directly opposite Goldenhare’s is this wee delight. A small bookstore with quirky furniture dedicated just to children’s books. One the kids love looking around and so many titles for them to choose from, including some classics.


Cabaret
137 West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DP

What might look like a tiny wee antique shop is one of those hidden gems.
Upstairs is a tiny treasure trove filled with trinkets and jewellery, but what no one realises is that down a narrow stairway tucked at the back of the shop. The basement is a dreamy little space filled floor to ceiling with vintage books. Take your time and wander the shelves for something special.


Blackwells
53-62 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1YS

Edinburgh’s oldest bookshop…
A gorgeous view of Edinburgh University from the windows, and a seat to sit at while you enjoy the view.
This one is over a few floors, has an art shop inside and is the go too shop for the students of the city, it has a huge academic section upstairs and the usual classics on the bottom floor.


Edinburgh Books
145-147 West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DP

Another higgledy piggledy shop, filled to the roof with vintage books. An entire room dedicated to Scotland, maps & postcards. It’s another one of those stores that you can wander for hours and will no doubt leave with arms full of treasures.

Waterstones
128 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 4AD

Three floors FILLED with books, a cafe and an epic view of Edinburgh castle. You’ll have to be an early bird if you plan on getting a window seat, but there’s so many books you’ll be kept busy wandering the store.


The Gently Mad Book Shop & Bookbinder
2 Summer Place, Edinburgh EH3 5NR

Another of those quirky little ones with rows of books, postcards and a bookbinders workshop tucked at the back. I wish the vintage bookstores would bottle up their smell and sell it.. I’d buy it along wit the 30 books I leave with each time I visit.


Tills
1 Hope Park Cres, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9NA

An adorable little second hand store by the meadows, classic Lady Bird books and a wall that screams Wes Anderson. They also have an old police box outside that opens and sells some favourites too!

I hope you have an excellent time exploring some of my favourite stops. You can follow My Little Edinburgh on Instagram too for stories, guides and reels of more favourites!

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