The area to the West of Princes Street in Edinburgh incorporates what is called the city’s West End. You can still call it central, yet it’s slightly beyond the main shopping and tourist tracks – perfect for a Saturday lunch with friends, a drink or a short walk in a charming Victorian neighbourhood.
There is one street I particularly like: William Street. Because of the cobbles and little traffic it seems relaxed and cosy, and its little shops with selected goods you won’t find anywhere else give it an upmarket feel. An unusual combination!
There are a few expensive clothes shops where I sometimes dare to window-shop, including one with cute designer baby items called Vanilla Bloom. There is a pretty little florist Lilium and a new cake maker’s Liggy’s with a window display you cannot go past without having a peek (yumm). If you enojoy drinking wine, you can get a bottle from the huge selection in the shop next to Liggy’s. Shops in one of the blocks have the same cream frontage and together look fabulous, too.
Going further on you will find some pubs and opposite them there is a Scottish bistro A Room In The West End (a sister of A Room In Town located at Howe Street which I have been to and recommend with a clear conscience).
If you take a few more steps, you will get to St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral (Church of Scotland) which is a stunning Victorian Gothic monument.
From the West End there is a good access to the Water of Leith, however, only the locals or someone in the know will be able to find one of the inconspicuous entrances, e.g. the gate next to the bridge on Belford Road near Dean Gallery or the one hidden away down from Magdala Crescent. Now, this is a scenic route for a walk, but that’s another story…