Valentine's Day in Edinburgh
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With cobbled streets, mysterious, twisting closes and ancient buildings steeped in history, Edinburgh is perfect for Valentine's Day.
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The city of Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and, for a few years at least, Robert Burns, it’s a place where the imagination can run wild and where the streets teem with life and activity.
Edinburgh is a perfect city for Valentine's Day.
Things to do on Valentine's Day in Edinburgh
Simultaneously a modern, cosmopolitan capital and a breathtaking glimpse into the ancient past, there is nowhere else like it.
Thus, Edinburgh is the perfect city in which to spend Valentine’s Day.
How is Edinburgh so romantic?
It might not be able to offer the warm, balmy weather of many European destinations, but the bracing northern breeze and dramatic, overcast skies have an allure of their own that is nigh on impossible to resist.
Besides, the cosy cubby holes and warm hearths of the Old Town and the trendy restaurants, shops and bustling bars of the New Town offer plenty of retreats from wintry gusts whether you're just here for the weekend or a slightly longer break.
Here are our top 10 tips for the most romantic things to do in Edinburgh on Valentine’s Day!
1. A romantic meal for two in Edinburgh
It is of course a cliche, but nothing beats a candlelit dinner in a fancy restaurant. And Edinburgh has a great selection to choose from.
Indeed, those looking for restaurants in which to wine and dine their loved ones are spoiled for choice, with hundreds of different options spanning the full gamut of taste and style.
Just around the corner from the Royal Mile is The Ondine Restaurant.
Boasting handsome views of the Old Town area through its floor-to-ceiling windows, the Ondine offers luxury seafood, while the Oyster Bar provides seafood aficionados with the latest catches from around the UK, all freshly prepared in front of them.
For those on a budget, Under The Stairs on Merchant Street offers a ramshackle dining experience sure to please those with an arty disposition.
2. Valentine’s Day drinks
But what about those all-important after-dinner drinks on Valentine’s Day?
Luckily, Edinburgh has this covered too, with plenty of bars in which to enjoy a romantic drink or two.
The area around George Street provides an excellent selection of attractive pubs and restaurants, with plenty of stylish cocktail joints and up-market bars that will keep even the most discerning drinker satisfied.
Meanwhile, the Cowgate area of Edinburgh’s Old Town has traditionally catered to those looking for a louder, more unvarnished experience, and there are plenty of bars in the area offering a lively flavour of Edinburgh nightlife.
If you’re feeling adventurous it's worth checking out Brew Dog’s Edinburgh base on Cowgate – as well as offering some heady concoctions it’s also a great place to relax after a hearty meal.
3. Get some culture in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is home to some fantastic cultural experiences, and has something to suit all tastes and types.
For the artistic among you, why not pop along to The Scottish National Gallery, situated in the heart of Edinburgh and home to one of the best collections of fine art in the world?
4. Enjoy the fresh Scottish air
Of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t all about food and drink.
If you’re not averse to windy weather, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and explore Edinburgh with your loved one.
A walk in Holyrood Park provides dramatic views of the city and the opportunity to explore and experience some surprisingly rugged highland terrain, all a short walk from the city centre.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is beautiful at any time of year, however if it’s a particularly cold February day then you can step into one of the garden's indoor spaces, featuring a glasshouse, restaurant, cafe and coffee bar.
With three lochs, a ruined church and the peak of Arthur’s Seat to scale for a breath of fresh air and a fantastic view of the city there’s no shortage of activities to occupy the more adventurous couple.
A walk along Salisbury Crags, meanwhile, provides the intrepid hillwalker with unrivalled panoramic views of Edinburgh.
5. Get scared on Valentine’s Day
Perhaps not the most romantic things to do however these types of activities continue to remain some of the most popular.
A city steeped in history can't get by without the odd ghost or ghoul, and Edinburgh is no exception.
So if romance and enforced sentimentality aren’t your thing then why not check out some of Edinburgh’s infamous ghost tours?
The city’s colourful history and gothic appearance mean there is no shortage of such expeditions, and all of them offer something different.
For those desperate to escape the sickly embrace of St Valentine and open to more adult thrills and scares, Auld Reekie Tours offers a nightly ‘Terror Tour’ of the South Bridge Vaults, where paranormal activity has been recorded in abundance and witches still gather to this day.
Mercat Tours also offers some fantastically terrifying late-night tours, sure to have you jumping into each other’s arms, or screaming embarrassingly at one another.
Needless to say, some of these tours and guides will not be suitable for children.
6. Stroll hand in hand to Leith
Leith, located a short distance from the city centre, is the perfect place for a romantic afternoon out.
Options include the great bars and restaurants, and the option to take a walk along the waterfront.
One not to miss is Mimi's Bakehouse, with a great selection of award-winning cakes and treats.
7. Explore Edinburgh Castle
The imposing castle is a must-see for any Valentine's trip to Edinburgh, steeped with history and stories.
8. Catch a romantic movie
Elsewhere, cinephiles looking to embrace the romantic vibes should head to one of Edinburgh's fantastic boutique cinemas, the Cameo cinema on Home Street, where all the current big-screen hits will be showing.
A classic date night staple, with its old-fashioned glamour, saturated in the cinematic atmosphere as well as a well-stocked bar, you really couldn’t find a better venue in which to settle down for a dose of old-time romance.
And with the option to take your chosen tipple with you into the auditorium, there is no excuse not to check out that wine list!
9. Get lost in a great story
With events and exhibitions throughout the year, the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile offers the opportunity to participate in a live storytelling wall or to enjoy some treats in the cafe.
10. Get a little sand between your toes
If the sun decides to shine, take the opportunity to head out of Edinburgh and visit North Berwick.
Definitely one of the more romantic things to do, it's less than an hour away by car and you could find yourself strolling on one of the beautiful beaches or maybe even heading out on horseback.
Book your Valentine's trip to Edinburgh
Whatever your tastes and preferences, Edinburgh is the ideal city to enjoy with a loved one, and the range of things to do and activities on offer throughout the year is sure to convert even the most hard-hearted of cynics.
If you’re still not convinced, ditch the flowers and romance and just use the whole thing as an excuse to treat yourself to a self-catering break in this stunning city.
After all, you probably deserve it.