It’s worth remembering that there’s an oasis of tranquility on Princes Street in Edinburgh. Hard to believe in the run up to Christmas but the National Galleries of Scotland is a calm retreat from the demented streets of the city centre.  Forget the bunfight in the retail hell elsewhere; instead enjoy Christmas shopping in both of the National Galleries’ stores. There’s the shop near the Princes Street entrance which has the modern, funky stuff – bright orange gummy bear lights, the very popular and cool Rains bags (pictured below), and necklaces with beautifully detailed porcelain dogs, robins or cats. Then there’s the larger shop down below which can be also be accessed from The Mound. This stocks more traditional gifts, their bestsellers such as packs of 10 Christmas cards featuring ‘Edinburgh in Snow’ and unusual Christmas tree decorations.  Interestingly, Fife artist, Clare O’Neill’s Harris Tweed bags, are a very popular seller, and were stocked after being spotted by Galleries staff during a visit to a North Fife Open Studios event in Cupar.

Even better, the restaurant next door has space…lots of it, table service, comfortable chairs, a view of the Christmas lights, and lunch or fresh scones for afternoon tea. Sanity is restored.


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