Edinburgh’s Most Beautiful Bookshops

Edinburgh is a haven for bookworms. It is the world’s first-ever UNESCO City of Literature, the birthplace of Harry Potter and is home to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, a month-long celebration of all things bookish. Edinburgh has given rise to so many celebrated authors (Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… just to name a few!) so it makes perfect sense that the city would be brimming with beautiful bookshops.

As a self-confessed bookworm, I have spent many an hour perusing the shelves of Edinburgh’s bookshops. Here’s a guide to a few of my favourites.

Topping & Company Booksellers of Edinburgh

Topping & Company Bookshop Edinburgh
Inside Topping & Co Edinburgh

Topping & Co is the newest kid on the block. They opened last year (2019) and have since become my firm favourite. They offer three floors of books, free tea and coffee, are open late AND host a huge programme of author events and talks. Welcome to Edinburgh, Toppings! We love you.

Topping & Company Books
2 Blenheim Place

Armchair Books

Armchair Books in Edinburgh
Armchair Books, Edinburgh

Armchair Books is an Edinburgh institution. They describe their shop as “very nearly alphabetised chaos” which sums it up rather nicely.

Tucked away on a quiet street near the Grassmarket, Armchair Books looks like something you might find on Diagon Alley. It has everything you could possibly want from a second-hand bookshop. Groaning bookshelves stretching up into the rafters. Precarious piles littered all over the floor. The unmistakable scent of second-hand books. A true treasure trove. I challenge any bookworm to spend less than an hour here. I really don’t think it’s possible!

Armchair Books
72-74 West Port

Golden Hare Books

Golden Hare Books, Stockbridge, Edinburgh
Books inside Golden Hare Books, Edinburgh

Golden Hare Books is an absolute gem of a bookshop. It has one of the most beautiful facades in the whole of Edinburgh (that gorgeous golden hare, hello!) and was voted Independent Bookshop of the Year for UK & Ireland at the British Book Awards 2019.

Their booksellers are incredibly friendly, extremely knowledgable and always happy to help. It’s dog-friendly, has a roaring fire and plays host to events throughout the year. They also have an online subscription service now too so you can enjoy that Golden Hare goodness even if you’re not in Edinburgh.

Golden Hare Books
68 St Stephen Street

McNaughtan’s Bookshop & Gallery

McNaughtan's Books Edinburgh

Located on Leith Walk, McNaughtan’s is another Edinburgh institution. Established in 1957, it is the oldest second-hand and antiquarian bookshop in Scotland! They have an incredible selection of old and rare books and currently play host to Typewronger Books which sells new books and second-hand typewriters. What a combination!

McNaughtan’s Bookshop & Gallery
3a & 4a Haddington Place

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