No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to its most iconic department store – Jenners on Princes Street. Jenners is popularly referred to as the “Harrods of the North”. It boasts six floors of designer clothing, cosmetics, jewellery and Scottish crafts and produce. There is also an excellent toy department. The food hall on the top floor, run by award winning Valvona & Crolla, is resplendent with goodies and treats and the café offers outstanding views across Princes Street.
Jenners — Photo courtesy of David Dixon
Jenners was founded in 1838 under the name “Kennington & Jenner” (after its founders) to provide the people of Scotland with luxury fabrics which were at that point only available in London. It was granted a Royal Warrant in 1911 and remained the oldest independent department store in Edinburgh until its purchase in 2005 by House of Fraser.
The original building was destroyed by fire in 1892. Its replacement is a grade “A” listed building which was designed by William Hamilton Beattie, the renowned Scottish architect who also designed the Balmoral Hotel. It is a beautifully ornate Victorian edifice which was ahead of its time in incorporating electric lighting and hydraulic lifts. Perhaps its most notable architectural features are the caryatides (female sculptures which take the place of pillars or supports on the outside of the building) which symbolically depict women as the supporters of the business. The central atrium with glass ceiling is quite spectacular and during the Christmas period it is graced by a massive tree which will delight young and old alike.