William Street is one of Edinburgh's funky little streets - a cobbled den of busy pubs and independent shops, and a retreat from the swarm of Christmas shoppers on Princes Street round the corner.

I always think of the west end of Edinburgh in terms of seasons - drinkers spilling out onto the pavement on a sunny day in William Street, and Christmas shopping as the nights draw in, the mulled wine scent of candles in Studio One and shops lit up with fairy lights.

It's an area of grand Georgian terraced boulevards, some interesting architecture, including the mock Tudor house holding the restaurant La P'tite Folie, and the network of streets behind Shandwick Place which was given the name The West End village as a marketing solution when the area was pummeled by the tram works.

Loading article content

Here's my pick of places to go for winter shopping and gift buying...

Frontiers Boutique

16 Stafford Street

 This shop just has that inviting look that makes you want to snap up a new winter wardrobe with their check shirts, ice-cream coloured mittens, Fair Isle scarves and cosy wool coats.

New in for winter is &Daughter, a label which has caught the interest of fashion editors, and which creates luxury knitwear from Scotland and the west coast of Ireland. There are also lace tops by Baum und Pferdgarten, and printed butterfly shirts by Chinti and Parker. 

Arkangel and Felon

4 William Street

 Fashion stylist Sam Cosgrove is co-founder of this independent womenswear boutique that is stockist for Almost Famous, Ilse Jacobson and Paul by Paul Smith. It's eclectic and fashion forward although higher end prices could be limited to a blow-out for a special occasion. There's some dazzling reptilian jewellery and a rather striking tarantula necklace. 

Just G

10 William Street

Just G has very recently moved into William Street from its original position in West Port. The owner of the boutique, Gail, is helpful and welcoming, and there are plenty of fun brands for the cool girl, including Postcards from Brighton and Fever, with its check dresses. She also keeps it local, with angel wing necklaces from Edinburgh's Lily-Mo Jewellery, and Fay and Solas by Scots designer Jennifer Morris.

Studio One

10 Stafford Street

Studio One is the place to come for gifts, especially over Christmas when they stock up on all those cool little stocking fillers such as novelty-shaped chocolates, wicker baskets, wooden toys, jewellery and ceramics. Gift and card shop Paper Tiger, on street level, is owned by the same company.

Sam Brown

5 William Street

Another good fashion boutique, with spacious floor space and exposed brick walls. There are also some seventies style Paisley pattern dresses, and sparkling black dresses and I love the Great Plains wool coats in pastel blue and pink which have a Hitchcock heroine vibe.

Odyssey Boutique

39 William Street

Combining designer lingerie and beauty treatments, Odyssey is designed to be in the colours of a Miami sunset. If you are longing for some winter sun, then it's an inspiring place for lingerie, swimwear and waxing.

And for after…

Edinburgh Larder Bistro

1A Alva Street

 With an ethos of using seasonal Scottish ingredients, the Edinburgh Larder is a basement restaurant expanded with a bright, airy conservatory and a stripped back wood interior. They use fresh locally sourced food with wholesome rich courses that could include a pate, a fish of the day, foraged herb salads, and slow-cooked meats. They also have an expanding drinks list with local producers, including Edinburgh Gin cocktails, Thistly Cross ciders and craft beers.