The Arches – Edinburgh’s New Shopping Hot Spot
There are exciting things going on in Edinburgh, such as the newly renovated Waverley Arches below Jeffrey Street that are a part of the huge £150 million New Waverley development that aims to create a bustling new quarter in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
We were very excited to check out some of the edgy and unique independent businesses that have opened up in 15 of the 19 Victorian arches. So if you haven’t visited yet, here’s what you can expect:
The Arches that can be accessed from East Market Street are C-listed and date back to 1875. They’ve been used as storage in the past and have never been open to the public – until now!
If you’re still unsure about where exactly the Arches are located, this photo might make things a bit clearer. You’ve got easy access from the Waverley Train Station and from the Royal Mile along Jeffrey Street. There are no excuses not to check it out!
One of the first shops is Gannet and Guga – a sandwich bar/Vietnamese street food takeaway that the owners describe as “healthy, fresh, ethical and friendly”.
We were in awe of the beautiful origami that one of the owners made himself over the course of a few months. Very impressed! (Googling how to do origami right now…)
Another interesting shop inhabiting one of the vaults is colourful and vibrant Tempo Tea Bar that sells bubble tea – an idea that originated in Taiwan in 1980 and is now taking over Britain as well!
Wondering what bubble tea is? (We did too!) It’s a cold drink made with a base of green or black tea mixed up with fruit or milk and a dash of a topping of your choice. The little balls called boba at the bottom of the drink are filled with juice and burst with an explosion of flavour when you bite into them – you need to try it yourself! Oh, and the name “bubble tea” comes from the froth that appears when mixing the drink, not the balls.
Buff Concept Store is a Scandinavian-inspired nail salon that also sells lifestyle retail. The place looks very calm, relaxing and cool – just like you’d expect a Scandi-place to be.
One of the arches has been taken over by Mudo Art – a contemporary art gallery that exhibits photography, original art, sculpture, ceramics and other gifts.
Scotland’s first certified organic, raw, cold-pressed juice company, Juice Warrior, wasn’t open yet when we were there, unfortunately. Will have to go back soon!
Football fans will love quirky 6 Yard Box where you can buy high quality football fashion and accessories such as vintage retro shirts and Subbuteo bottle openers. The perfect place to buy a gift for any football enthusiast!
This exciting shop is called Elk & Wolf and owned by Katie whose Australian roots have inspired the venture. Interesting ornaments and unique products for the home, including quite a few beautiful dreamcatchers is what you can expect to find in this arch.
The Lauren Gollan Academy of Make-Up Artistry offers professional make-up courses, masterclasses, private lessons and make-up appointments for every occasion.
Towards the end of the row of arches is a place called Baba Budan that we’ve been looking forward to visiting. It’s an independent coffee and donutterie (doughnut shop). Did we mention doughnuts?
Some of the flavours include homemade lemon curd, rose & pistachio and chocolate lavender. Yes, they were just as amazing as you might expect! Don’t forget to look up so you can admire the gorgeous lighting sculpture.
The second last arch is home to Vino Wine Bar and shop where you’ll be able to sample fine wines brought to you by fiercely independent Vino Wines. You might’ve spotted their other shops in the Grange, Morningside, Broughton Street and Stockbridge.
The remaining arches have been taken up by Union Projects, Apple Apartments, YOURgb EVENTS, The Arches Photobooth and Chophouse Bar & Butchery. We think it’s fantastic that these unused spaces have finally gotten a purpose and wish all the businesses the best of luck!