Edinburgh is a city full of old-world charm, and while you might think of cities like Paris and Rome as the one’s for lovers, there are plenty of romantic things to do in Edinburgh too! I may be just a little bit biased, given that this is where I met, fell in love with, and married my husband and where we now live with our little boy, but you really don’t have to look far to find all sorts of things to do for couples in Edinburgh.
Don’t just take my word for it, check out the below for some unique date ideas in Edinburgh…
Stargazing at the Royal Observatory
Gaze into the great unknown together at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. Take a romantic journey to the stars… all that cheesy stuff! This working observatory offers the chance to take a guided tour or attend one of the events or programs dedicated to exploring the skies. It’s one of the most romantic things to do in Edinburgh and one that many people don’t know about! However you’ll have to make plans in advance, no drop-in visits are allowed for this romantic stargazing activity.
Watch the sunset at Calton Hill
Get a bird’s eye view of Edinburgh atop this famous hill. Soak in the cityscape and relax with your loved one as the sun sets on another day. Located just at the end of Princes Street, it’s easy to add this into a romantic day exploring Edinburgh.
Spoil yourself at afternoon tea
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city and all the sights to see. Carve out some time to sip some tea and let the afternoon melt away with a nibble on some delicious cakes and treats. Wash it down with the perfect cup of tea next to your perfect person, and you’ve got the recipe for one of the most romantic things to do in Edinburgh.
Tea doesn’t have to be a stuffy affair, Brewhemia offers a gentlemen’s afternoon tea that includes a beer flight and tasty bar food snacks, or head to Palm Court at The Balmoral for a touch of old-style glamour right in the heart of Edinburgh.
Relax with some Spa Treatments
What better way to relax with your loved one than to indulge in a spa treatment. Get a couples massage or enjoy in a relaxing facial service. Take a day to simply sit back and have a relaxing spa experience together, taking advantage of the pools, baths and steam rooms as well. Castle Thai Spa offers an array of professional treatments, including couples services.
Watch the sunset at Portobello
Ok so it may not be one of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches, but Portobello has its own charm, plus it’s the closest to the city centre. Snuggle up at and watch the colours of the sunset across the sky. Located in the suburbs of Edinburgh, this beautiful beach offers the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a bit of nature together.
Dine out in style with a candlelit dinner
After the sun sets over a romantic day, head to town for an intimate candle-lit dinner. The Witchery, named one of the prettiest restaurants in Edinburgh, provides a romantic setting with old-world charm. We had an amazing 3-course dinner there courtesy of a Christmas present and I’ve been dying to go back again ever since!
Or head to The Grain Store, where diners can experience fine dining in a cosy setting that was once home to a stone vault. Both restaurants boast a unique atmosphere perfect for an unforgettable candle-lit dining experience.
Visit one of the many distilleries
Instead of just popping out to the pub head out to one of Edinburgh’s finest distilleries together. Take a tour of the tiny Pickerings Gin Distillery, or sample delicious gins at Edinburgh Gin.
Whisky lovers will enjoy the Scottish Whisky Experience, where you can indulge in various tours and learn more about one of Scotland’s oldest traditions.
See a show at Edinburgh Playhouse
Spend a night on the town enjoying live theatre performances. From Broadway mega-classics to local Edinburgh delights, there’s a show for everyone at some point! Check the Edinburgh Playhouse for the most up-to-date schedule.
Cuddle up on a Ghost tour
Journey back in time with a spooky tour of Edinburgh. Take one of the tours that explores the graveyards in the dark or the underground vaults that are shrouded in mystery. Or discover Edinburgh’s dark past with a tour of Mary Kings Close and see the 17th-century preserved streets and houses, but stay close and keep an eye out for ghostly happenings!
Date night at the Cinema
Nothing says “date night” quite like dinner and a movie. After your romantic candle-lit dinner, head out to the cinema and catch a flick. The Cameo Picturehouse offers awesome date night specials complete with cocktails. While the Dominion brings you a luxury cinema experience unlike any other. For indy film lovers, scope out what’s on at the Filmhouse.
Climb Arthur’s Seat & the Salisbury Crags
For sweeping views and hikes only just out of the city centre head to Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags, where dramatic cliffs and lush rolling hills give you a bird’s eye view of the city. An array of small hiking trails zigzag across the cliffs and up to Arthur’s Seat, giving you multiple views of the city of Edinburgh below. Of course, it’s another epic spot for a sunset!
Attend a Comedy Night
Fill your evening with laughter and take your date to a comedy night. There are various top-rated comedy clubs throughout the city, but The Stand is our favorite. Enjoy food, drinks and plenty of laughs. For a list of who’s coming to town, check out The Stand website.
Watch the sunset at South Queensferry
Yes, another sunset! But there are just so many romantic sunset spots in Edinburgh. If you love the way the setting sun reflects off the water, plan a date to South Queensferry. The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Forth Rail Bridge spanning the Firth makes for a picture-perfect sunset setting. Stop in at one of the local pubs for a meal afterwards.
Wander along the Water of Leith
Take a leisurely, romantic stroll along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh’s main river. Explore lush gardens and tranquil life near the water’s edge. You can walk the 12-mile pathway in full or in sections, enjoying the vibrant riverside ecosystem and quaint architecture. One of my favourite spots is Dean Village, not too far from the West End where you can dine in some of Edinburgh’s best restaurants.
Enjoy the Edinburgh Festivals
Edinburgh comes alive in August when five of the eleven yearly festivals take place across the city. The most well known are the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, but there’s also the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. A huge variety of shows are on offer, including comedy, theatre, dance, circus, book readings, you name it and I’m pretty sure it’ll be taking place!
Plan to see a show or two together, but also take advantage of all that’s available by heading out for the day (or night) and just seeing what happens. There are pop-up bars and eateries all over the city, and plenty of shows across so many venues that you’ll definitely find something. You never quite know where you’ll end up during Edinburgh Festivals in August!
Take a Walking Tour that interests you both
See the city on foot with one of Edinburgh’s incredible walking tours. Pick a tour that suits both of your interests, such as the Ghost Tour where you can both get your fright on with exciting tales of ghosts and mysteries, or join Clart and McBrain on the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour as they playfully lead you through the wynds, pubs, and courtyards of Edinburgh’s most famous inspirational places for authors and writers. Of course, you can also join a Harry Potter tour, or make your own self-guided tour!
Explore the ruins of Craigmillar Castle
Edinburgh Castle may be the most popular in the city, but Craigmillar Castle is much less busy and often more what people expect when they think of a castle in Scotland. The medieval castle may be in ruins but you can still climb the tower house for views across the city and have free rein to explore the many chambers and rooms that remain.
Picnic in the gardens
What better way to spend the afternoon than with a picnic lunch in one of Edinburgh’s most romantic gardens? Sprawl out on the lawn of Princes Street Gardens and enjoy views of Edinburgh Castle and the Scott Monument, or head to the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens for a picnic lunch, then stroll through the beautifully lush greenhouses filled with exotic plants. The Meadow’s is another popular picnic destination, close to the city centre and with plenty of space.
Listen to some live music
While big-name artists may visit Glasgow more often than Edinburgh, it’s worth checking out what’s on when you’re in town. In any case, there are lots of places across the city where you’ll be able to enjoy some live music. Try Whistlebinkies just off the Royal Mile, The Fiddler’s Arms in the Grassmarket, The Jazz Bar off South Bridge, Sandy Bells, Voodoo Rooms, Finnegans Wake, The Black Cat, and many more!
Walk to Cramond Island
For a bit of adventure, take the tidal path out to Cramond Island. You can only do this at either side of low-tide, so timing is key! The island is only small but you’ll find the remains of WWII bunkers and an old farmhouse. Enjoy sea views towards the Forth Rail Bridge and the Queensferry Crossing, and the refreshing sea breeze.
Go crazy at Camera Obscura
Get a little funky with the interactive illusion experience of Camera Obscura. This hands-on exhibit brings you up close and personal with the world of trickery and illusion. Have fun exploring the wonderful, whimsy world of illusions. Take fun-filled photos in over five floors of exhibits. Don’t forget to visit the original Camera Obscura, created in the 1850s, this trick of mirrors will have you in awe.
Try a Coco Chocolate tasting
Mmmm who doesn’t love chocolate? Take your date to the COCO Chocolate Connoisseur Evening. This indulgent tour dives into the world of this delectable treat, covering everything from the making of chocolate to how to identify real, superior chocolate. No delicious evening would be complete without a tasting (or three!). The Chocolate Connoisseur Evening is complete with several chocolate tastings, including a liquor and chocolate pairing.
Book a romantic hotel stay
Whether you’re visiting or looking for a staycation, one of the most romantic things to do in Edinburgh is book a unique hotel stay. Look for somewhere that’s original, with beautiful views and maybe even an onsite spa or restaurant so you can order room service!
Tour the Museums & Galleries
Discover the culture and art of Edinburgh with a day at one of the city’s many galleries. Check out the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and ponder the complexity of Surrealist art, or head to the National Museum of Scotland for realistic nature scenes, interactive science exhibits, and an impressive jewelry collection. Get in touch with your imagination at the Museum of Childhood, then view classic works of art at the Scottish National Gallery.
Embark on a Forth Bridges Boat Trip
Snuggle up on a local cruise with Forth Boat Tours. Take a scenic, romantic boat trip along the Three Bridges Cruise and see Edinburgh by water. Many tours include a trip to castles and islands as well.
Take a day trip out of the city
Edinburgh has plenty of day trip options so you can continue to do new and exciting things as a couple. The possibilities really are endless but here are a few of my favourites:
- North Berwick
- Linlithgow Palace
- The Pentlands
- Fife (St Andrews or the fishing villages along the coast)
- Rosslyn Chapel
Sometimes as a couple we can find ourselves doing the same old thing, but for locals and travellers alike there are so many romantic things to do in Edinburgh! Have I missed anything?
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