Bookshop Crawl in Edinburgh and Edinburgh International Book Festival

Last week I was heading up to the North East for a few days and decided to pop over the border to visit Edinburgh. It has got to be one of my most favourite cities, certainly in the UK, so I was really happy to be back there. On top of that, the weather was gorgeous and it ended up being quite warm.

This is going to be the first in a series of Edinburgh blog posts – I hope you enjoy them!

Edinburgh International Book Festival


My first stop was at Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) just to take a look around. I was there quite early so not much going on but there were plenty of places to get coffee and just sit and enjoy the sunshine. The heart of the festival was in Charlotte Square around the Albert Memorial so it was really picturesque.


I only had one talk booked for the afternoon so I decided to make a start on my bookshop crawl but returned later in the day to see a talk by Alison Weir about Jane Seymour. I was looking forward to the talk but Weir blew me away. She did some readings from her latest book and I was totally enthralled. If she had narrated the audiobook I can guarantee you I would’ve listened to it (alas, she did not).


Time for the bookshops.

Bookshop Crawl Plan

I identified seven bookshops I wanted to visit but sadly only managed to get to five. Edinburgh was incredibly busy on the day I was there and I was relying on getting to each place on foot.

My list consisted of:

  1. Golden Hare Books
  2. Lighthouse
  3. McNaughtan’s Bookshop (and Typewronger)
  4. The Edinburgh Bookshop
  5. Armchair Books
  6. Edinburgh Books
  7. Waterstones Edinburgh

So as you can see from this list I didn’t get to McNaughtan’s or  The Edinburgh Bookshop. I am so, so gutted that I didn’t leave enough time to get to McNaughtan’s and Typewronger (they are on the same premises) as they were in my top three places to visit. I’ll be back in the North East later in the year so I’m planning another trip to make up for it.

On to the bookshops themselves; I visited the shops on the geographical location not on order of preference. In hindsight this was a bit of an error as it was how I missed McNaughtan’s, but I still had an amazing time.

#1 – Waterstones Edinburgh (West End)


Stock: New
Purchases: 2

My first stop was Waterstones Edinburgh –  West End. It’s a lovely Waterstones over four floors with a huge selection of books. I was particularly impressed by its selection of Graphic Novels and it has a fabulous children’s section.

I have to confess to have spent quite a chunk of time in this bookshop and didn’t manage to get around all the floors.

You can find out more about Waterstones Edinburgh – West End here.

#2 – Golden Hare Books


Stock: New
Purchases: 1

Next up was Golden Hare Books. I had no intention of leaving Edinburgh without visiting this stunning bookshop. It’s an independent bookshop in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh. I had a wonderful experience, so much so that I am going to do an entirely separate blog post on this shop. Watch this space!

In the interim, you can find out more about Golden Hare Books here.

#3 – Edinburgh Books


Stock: Secondhand
Purchases: 0

After my visit to Golden Hare Books I headed back over towards Grassmarket and stopped in at Edinburgh Books, a large secondhand bookshop. I have to be honest and say my visit to this shop was very brief – it was chaotic and I just wasn’t in the mood for digging through random piles of dusty books. If you’re into that type of thing I highly recommend it.

Find out more about Edinburgh Books here.

#4 – Armchair Books


Stock: Secondhand
Purchases: 2

I walked just a few yards down the road to Armchair Books. I unfortunately did not get my own photo of this shop (it wasn’t safe to do so) so I can’t take credit for this image. This is a wonderful secondhand bookshop and I really had to resist not coming away with an armful of books. There is an excellent range of genres and also a good place to get both antique books and newer paperbacks in excellent condition.

The Armchair Books website is here.

#5 – Lighthouse


Stock: New books
Purchases: 1

Last but by no means least, I stopped in Lighthouse Bookshop. It’s another indie much like Golden Hare Books and sells new books in a wide range of genres including a lovely children’s section. The standout part for me in Lighthouse is the range of non-fiction books, particularly those exploring politics and economics. If you’re interested in books of this genre I am sure you will not be disappointed by Lighthouse’s selection.

The Lighthouse Bookshop website can be found here.

Time to head home

In the end, I ran out of time and had to make my way home. I made six purchases in total during my book crawl which I’ll be featuring very soon in a separate blog post.

I had an amazing time but if were to do this again I would allow two days to get around everywhere and make it more of a relaxing visit.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve visited any of these bookshops or the EIBF, or if not, let me know which would be at the top of your list to visit!

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