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Shopping in Scotland

Hi all!!

Hope you can help with this slight problem. I want to get a few people souvenirs from Scotland but have NO idea what's available or wher I might get the best selection of items. My parents will be the absolute hardest to shop for. My dad isn't into things to set up or clothes to wear. He does like foodstuffs (not sure about bring that back) and my mom does like jewelry (earrings). I would like to find some shops with lots of variety throughout Scotland. Any suggestions on gifts or stores??
P.S. I don't know even what I want, except a baby Highland "coo". But I don't think I could get one through customs:))))

As always any advice is appreciated!!

Posted by
21852 posts

I think that is always tough but you will have lots of shopping opportunities. We tend to focus on local crafts. Scotland is known for it wool and wool products so perhaps something in that line. Last time in Scotland I bought a wool cap that I wear nearly daily here except in the summer.

Posted by
211 posts

Hi Frank!!

That's a great idea for my dad!!! He loves to wear caps/toboggans in the winter!! Maybe I'll get him a few!!!

Kathy
p.s. Unfortunately I can't wear wool, I break out in one GREAT BIG ITCH!!!!!!!!!

Posted by
2145 posts

Where will you be? Are you checking luggage?

The Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh has a large gift shop with reasonably priced items. I always bring dish towels back for my friends: a functional gift that doesn't need dusting. As I remember, the shop had beautiful prints and notecards of Scottish scenery. Also, small pottery pieces, all made in Scotland.

Jewelry is a challenge because of the exchange rate against the British Pound; it get expensive fast.

Plaid items are everywhere, and the cashmere scarves are beautiful .

I think the tea and chocolate are better on that side of the pond.

Safe travels!

Posted by
9914 posts

IF you are spending time in Edinburgh, go to the National Museum's gift shop. They have some really nice things that I did not see elsewhere on the places visited on the Rick Steves Best of Scotland tour. I got some really nice ceramic coasters made by an artist from Skye that are just beautiful. They are small, light, easy to pack and inexpensive. Make sure you have your passport if you want to use your CC as they will not allow a CC without ID.

Here's a link to their shop. I don't see the coasters (was there last June) but I suspect they might not have everything listed. This will just give you an idea.

https://shop.nms.ac.uk/

Posted by
808 posts

For food stuffs definitely shortbread and tablet. The later is more what we'd consider fudge and comes in lots of flavors. Of course there's scotch but you might want to wait for the duty free on the way out of the country.

I'm also a tea towel fan and actually use mine. I got one from every place we went on our UK tour.

The gift shop at Holyroodhouse is also quite nice especially if you want some "royal" souvenirs. Here's their website if you want to get an idea:
https://www.royalcollectionshop.co.uk/gifts/royal-residences/palace-of-holyroodhouse.html

The royal mile and Edinburgh castle has a ton of touristy souvenir shops.

Posted by
1681 posts

We always enjoy visiting Skye Silver for jewelry. It's out towards the Neist Point Lighthouse and the Three Chimneys restaurant.

Posted by
5669 posts

Look for Scottish designers of jewelry. Are you getting to Inverness? Hazel Passmore has wonderful designs. You can also go to Jenners in Edinburgh and find Jewelry by Sheila Fleet. I don't know if they carry other designers. In Dunkeld there are some lovely shops for jewelry and knitwear. There are some great hats that have a fleece lining with tweed wool on the outside. There are other jewelry shops on the Royal Mile as well. If you google Scottish jewelry designers you will get some additional designers to look for. I've also brought home some prints. I have a great one of sheep and dogs and mountains that is in my bathroom and nice print of the Ring of Brogdar as well as some Pictish warriors and more. :) I'm basically surrounded by pictures of Scotland. I've also picked up CDs of Scottish bands. Look for Duncan Chisholm. His fiddle music has taken me away from many a long wait for storms to clear airports. One of the silliest, but longlasting gifts was a toothbrush. The brush part was the hat and the handle was a Scottish soldier. It still sits in my mom's bathroom in her memory care home 20 years after I gave it to her. And there are the ever-present tartan blankets. I brought one of them back my sister years ago and it still adorns her living room. I used to buy lots of books. Now I only buy a few. But, Scottish authored books can be edited for the US market. Ian Rankin's book, Fleshmarket Close, for example, was retitled, Fleshmarket Alley. So, it can be an interesting gift for a mystery lover. I think actually, even the Harry Potter books were edited a bit.

Posted by
21852 posts

Kat --- know your Dad's exact hat size. The better hats do not come in -- one size fits all -- or -- S,M,L.

Posted by
16883 posts

On the more fragile end of the spectrum, you will surely find a good selection of coffee/tea mugs, whether Scotland themed or other themed.

Posted by
211 posts

Wow, Thanks for all the good advice!!!

Lots of good ideas especially the tablet(fudge?) That might not make it home though :)) We will be in Edinburgh, Oban Kyle of Lochlash. Inverness and Stirling. I will look up the jewelry in Inverness. I like the idea of a tartan Blanket for my living room. I don't get cold to easy, but the blankets look over the couch. So many good ideas!! And thanks for the websites. I know what I'll be looking at later!!!

Thanks,
Kathy

Posted by
93 posts

If you want something actually made in Scotland, read the fine print on tags. I just returned and noticed that a line of wool plaid items found in the Scotland National Trust sites we visited and in the Scotland tourist info storefronts is actually made in Vietnam. The items are very nice, just not made in Scotland.

If you are in Edinburgh, the department store, Jenner’s, has a section of food items, woolens and other items made in Scotland. We bought Whisky at the duty-free shop at the airport. They had some Hairy Coos at the airport, too. The kind you can bring home 😄

Posted by
211 posts

Thanks Kathy!!! (cool name by the way!!)
Now I know where to look for my "coo" I would love to see a live one while I'm there too. I'll keep an eye on those made in... tags!!!

Kathy

Posted by
2540 posts

for jewellery look for heather Gem stuff, very reasonably priced and beautiful,evry piece is unique.
https://www.heathergems.com/
widely available but if you are in Pitlochry you can visit the factory.

for your dad food stuff , check what you can bring back but sweeet things like tablet and fudge are easy to find ,tinned Cullin Skink soup (smoked haddock and potato soup) would be a real treat and costs about £2 a tin, you may be able to bring back smoked salmon or smoked or dried venison and my friend from Kansas city loves millionaire shortbread, I was in Prague with him last week and had to have a couple of packs he could take back to his wife.

Posted by
211 posts

Thanks Unclegus!!

My da does like cookies. His favorite foodstuffs are jams and jellies though. Ant advice on these?? Thanks for the website too!!!

Kathy

Posted by
2540 posts

yes look for Mackays jams, made just outside Dundee, great stuff made the old fashioned way.

http://www.mackays.com/

loads of great companies making cookies ,though we call them biscuits, some of my favourites are Borders Biscuits.
http://www.borderbiscuits.co.uk/

also this company ,more famous for their oatcakes but make some great biscuits.

https://www.nairns-oatcakes.com/our-range/oat-biscuits
their factory is less than a mile from my house and depending on which way the wind blows I can smell some of their great biscuits baking.

Posted by
2540 posts

get Mackays raspberry jam, you will never taste better unless my grandmother made it,and she passed away 35 years ago.

Posted by
1888 posts

Most, if not all, museums and galleries have wonderful gift shops where you can find all sorts of lovely things.
Also, if you are going around by car; a lot of garden centres, if they are big enough, have great gift shops too.
As a bonus, a lot of the galleries and museums (and garden centres) have marvelous cafes for lunch , coffee or tea; a lot with yummy homemade soups and baking.
Also, try bookshops; for books about Scotland, calendars, cards, bookmarks, etc.

Posted by
975 posts

Hi, Kathy,

Unclegus has given you some great recommendations. I highly, highly recommend Mackay's rhubarb & ginger jam. I buy two jars every time I'm over. I made the mistake once of buying three, and as I didn't have room in my luggage, I put one jar in my carry-on. Of course, they found it at Glasgow Airport. I asked if there was any way that I could take it with me, and I was told that I could go to Boots the Chemist in the airport, and get some 100 ml jars. They said that they had a spoon, and that I could spoon the jam in to the containers.

So off I went to Boots, and each container cost more than I had paid for the jam. Back I went to security, and asked them if they still had a spoon. They handed me a plastic spoon, and I proceeded to eat as much of the jam as I could, until I started feeling really sick. I handed over the remainder of the jam, and the spoon, and made my way back to departures. I have to admit that I felt quite ill for a while. Had bit of a sugar rush, too! But by the time the airline staff came round with my meal, though, I was right as rain.

Lesson learned - never put a jar of jam in your carry-on! :)

Mike (Auchterless)

p.s.: Those oatcakes are wonderful, too. They're great with cheese or a dab of butter. And you can put them in your carry-on!

Posted by
211 posts

Thanks again for the suggestions and advice (sorry you didn't feel well and that you couldn't take it with you Mike!!!!). I looked up Mackays and found that you could buy it at our local Walmart. I plan on buying some to try before I leave. I am sure though that they probably have more choices to choose from in Scotland. I will likely look for books and photos for myself and the cookies(biscuits) and jams for my day and maybe my mom if there are any really hot/spicy relishes. Probably jewelry for her though. Maybe some caps too for the both of them. Any more suggestions are welcome :))

Kathy

Posted by
2540 posts

you can get chutney,relishes ,dips,pickles etc in loads of places ,most of the supermarketsa do some good ranges and my local Sainsbury's does the Arran range which is really good , Baxters do some good stuff I really like their Victorian pickle but there is no shortage of stuff. My local brewery Stewart's do some nice pickles that are made with their beer.So don't just rely on the tourist style shops have a look in any supermarket for some very good stuff.

Posted by
211 posts

Thanks Unclegus !

I like to look in other places too, not just the tourist shops. If the shops are like those in the U.S. they have a lot of the same items and sometimes at ridicules prices. I want to get some unique items that you may only be able to get in Scotland (actually made in Scotland). I will take the advice of another advice give and look at the made in....tags :)) I will look in the supermarkets and other shops. Aren't there outside markets or street markets that can be visited close to Edinburgh?

Thanks, Kathy

Posted by
2540 posts

you will find market in lots of places but they do vary, we have a market in Edinburgh Castle terrace on a Saturday and a small one in Stockbridge on a Sunday, other towns have various ones going on but I am no expert on them.

Posted by
11292 posts

I want to second the advice that for foods, look at supermarkets - they have some of the same things as souvenir shops, at much lower prices.

As for bringing them back, meats and cheeses are often not allowed (check carefully before buying). And anything that is a "liquid" must be in checked luggage if it's over 100 ml (about 3.4 ounces). A "liquid" is anything that pours, smears, sprays, or does not hold its shape outside the container - so jams and whiskys qualify, as do snow globes! Cookies (biscuits) and solid candies are fine in carry-on.

Posted by
211 posts

Hi Unclegus !!

Thanks for the info and website!! I will definitely be buying some of these for my dad!!! I saw a couple that I haven't seen before and a few I think he would like to try. Mom too. I saw one labeled DAMSON. Never saw this one before. Have you tasted it before?

Is the hospital mall easy to get or do you know if there are shops that sell it close to the Royal Mile? We will be staying close to there.

Thanks again for the info :))

Kathy

Posted by
2540 posts

Damsons are a type of plum, small and delicious .they are not commercially grown or if they are just in small areas .They are however delicious.Lot of wild Damson trees about and when I was young we used to pick them so my grandmother could make Damson Jam with them.

Posted by
2540 posts

The hospital mall is on the outskirts of the city in the Little France area but that stall only comes once a month on the last Thursday.
The stall is usually at the Edinburgh Framer market at castle Terrace on a Saturday.

Posted by
211 posts

Thanks Unclegus !!!

I appreciate the info!!! Looking forward to trying the Damson Jam/jelly!!

Posted by
1277 posts

I bought for myself a coaster w a highland coo on it for my desk at work. I also bought a 4 part loch ness ceramic monster the size of my thumb that has been incorporated into a nativity, stole that idea from a friend. Every one comes by to meet jesus, hers includes star wars figures.

Posted by
106 posts

And for an inexpensive gift for anyone else---a bag of tuppence from the bank! One bps will buy you 50 tuppence pieces. A real curiosity since we don't have 2 cent pieces here.

Posted by
278 posts

In Edinburgh on my first trip abroad, I realized I hadn’t packed enough socks, and found my very favorite socks at a cashmere shop on the Royal Mile (one of many such shops). One pair of the three-pack is still in weekly use seven years later! I also bought two lovely scarves there.

I did save most of my shopping money and luggage space for Orkney, our last stop of the 18-day trip. I got skeins of yarn for my sister to make me a scarf and hat, a few prints at the tapestry gallery (actual tapestries are wayyyy expensive, so visual representations are sufficient), and the jewelry—omg, the jewelry!! I popped into the Ola Gorie shop and got two amazing pieces (I did try on one bracelet, and when she told me the price, I said, “Take it off! It’s too tempting, and I can’t afford that!”). My mom got some wonderful items at the Sheila Fleet store down the road.

But my favorite item I love to see every day is my fridge magnet from Skara Brae—it’s of the dresser from the houses, standing in relief from the background.