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Romantic Things To Do In Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the perfect city to visit with your loved one, with lots of romantic places to enjoy together - ancient buildings on the Royal Mile, a fairytale Castle high on the hill, elegant Georgian buildings in the New Town, the Grassmarket area to explore, and the abundance of different festivals throughout the year.

Here are just a few ideas for romantic things to do in Edinburgh:

Romantic Edinburgh History

The Royal Mile is a perfect place to wander hand in hand with your loved one, and learn all about the history of Scotland. There are many historic sites on this ancient road, which is cobbled at the top, near the Castle.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle © Crown Copyright Reproduced Courtesy of Historic Scotland

Together you can trace the history of old Edinburgh, with John Knox's House and Storytelling Centre, the Museum of Childhood, and Mary King's Close all situated within a few steps of each other on this historic street.

Edinburgh Castle

This is where many of the important events that shaped Scotland's history took place - the castle has seen many ferocious battles, been a royal residence, was at the centre of the Wars of Independence in the 14th century, and has been a military base since it was first built.

The castle is impressive to tour, and the views from the castle forecourt and ramparts are unsurpassed - you can see all over Edinburgh, and on a clear day you can see right across to the other side of the distant Firth of Forth.

Romantic Views from Edinburgh Castle
Romantic Views from the Castle © Crown Copyright Reproduced Courtesy of Historic Scotland

If you're thinking of popping the question whilst on your romantic break in Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle couldn't be a more memorable place, whilst you gaze at the amazing scene of Edinburgh's rooftops together.

The Castle is also where many couples choose to get married: imagine tying the knot in such a historic place, with the fantastic views of Edinburgh as the backdrop for your wedding photos.


The Scott Monument

The Scott Monument, Edinburgh
The Scott Monument

It's always romantic to admire an aerial view of a city with your loved one, and a trip to the top of the Scott Monument is no exception.

Even better if you are fans of the work of Sir Walter Scott, one of Scotland's most famous romantic novelists and poets.

As you climb up the 287 steps to the top, you can try to spot the 64 statues featuring characters from Scott's novels.


Greyfriars Bobby

The story of Greyfriar's Bobby will make your loved one's heart melt - especially if you tell it to them whilst looking at his statue near the entrance to Greyfriar's Kirkyard.

Bobby is said to have been the devoted dog of a night watchman called John Gray.

He loved his master so much, that when John Gray died and was buried in Greyfriar's Kirkyard, Bobby spent the rest of his life (another 14 years) sitting faithfully on his master's grave.

This lovely statue was erected in memory of Bobby just a year after his death in 1872.

Romance Out and About

Edinburgh Zoo

Meerkat Pup at Edinburgh Zoo
Meerkat Pup at Edinburgh Zoo

Couples love visiting Edinburgh Zoo, as there are so many interesting and cute things to do together!

As you enter the zoo one of the first things you'll see is a huge area devoted to those cute and cuddly meerkats.

You can watch them digging and standing on the "look out" in that familiar pose!

You might even catch sight of some tiny, fuzzy meerkat pups.

Yang Guang at Edinburgh Zoo
Yang Guang at Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo has its own love story - that of the giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

The two pandas were brought to the zoo from China in 2011, and each year keepers and visitors hope to hear the sound of little panda paws.

So far no luck, but who knows, perhaps this year?


Ghost Walking Tour

You can always use a ghostly walking tour of Edinburgh as an excuse to stay close to your loved one.

Ghostly Figure on a Mercat Ghost Tour
Ghostly Figure on a Mercat Ghost Tour © Mercat Tours

Mercat Tours have a range of ghost tours daily, starting with the "Ghostly Underground" tour in the afternoon (which is perhaps a little less frightening!) and ending with the scariest "Most Hidden and Haunted" tour at 10pm.

This tour is so scary that children are not allowed!

With lots of scary tales and a tour of Blair Street underground vaults, we think you'll need to cuddle up close.


Climb Arthur's Seat

If you want to take in some fantastic views of Edinburgh and get some exercise at the same time, you can take your loved one to the top of Arthur's Seat, the massive long-extinct volcano just at the edge of the city centre.

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh with Dynamic Earth in forground
Arthur's Seat with Our Dynamic Earth in foreground © AboutBritain.com

The hill is fairly easy to climb, and you'll be rewarded with fantastic panoramic views of Edinburgh and a lovely wild place to explore - with lots of interesting geology and wildlife.

Eating & Shopping

Grassmarket Cafes And Shops

La Barantine, Grassmarket, Edinburgh
La Barantine, Grassmarket © Greater Grassmarket.co.uk

The Grassmarket and its surrounding streets are a great place for some indulgent shopping - lots of unique independent shops and cozy cafes - it would be easy to while-away a romantic afternoon here!

Pastries at La Barantine
Pastries at La Barantine © Greater Grassmarket.co.uk

Treat yourselves to pastries and coffee a deux from La Barantine - a perfect French patisserie in the centre of Edinburgh!

If you'd prefer an Italian treat, you can pop into Mary's Milk Bar, for the best quality gelato with interesting flavours such as "Damsons in Distress" or "Milk & Honey".

Mary's Milk Bar, Grassmarket, Edinburgh
Ice Cream Flavours at Mary's Milk Bar, Grassmarket © Greater Grassmarket.co.uk

There are lots of opportunities to buy each other gifts at the cashmere, jewellery and book shops in this area, such as Hawicko or Calzeat (for cashmere), the Red Door Gallery or Hannah Zakari (for jewellery) and Old Town Books.


The Witchery

The Witchery is one of the most romantic (and decadent) restaurants in Edinburgh. Your loved one will feel extremely pampered if you treat them to a meal here!

The restaurant is located in a sixteenth-century merchant's house and you enter via an ancient close, just by the entrance to Edinburgh Castle.  It is really atmospheric - with candles, oak panelling, tapestries, and a fantastic painted ceiling.

The food is exceptional (they use the finest Scottish food suppliers where possible), with all kinds of menus from full a la carte to table d'hote. There is even a theatre supper which is available from 10:30pm to 11:30pm, so you can indulge yourselves after an evening at one of Edinburgh's great theatres.


Romantic Places to Stay

Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel

Apex City Hotel, Grassmarket, Edinburgh
Coffee for Two at the Apex City Hotel

If you'd like to stay in the Grassmarket Area, the Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel is a luxury 4 star hotel with great castle views.

Close to all the action in the centre of the old town.

It's the perfect place to relax to after a hard day's shopping, sightseeing and romancing!


The Glasshouse Hotel

If you're feeling indulgent, you can stay at the 5 star Glasshouse Hotel right next to the Playhouse Theatre.

The Glasshouse, Edinburgh
The Glasshouse, Edinburgh © The Glasshouse, Edinburgh

It's a palace of luxury, situated in the historic 230 year old converted Lady Glenorchy Church, with cozy stylish interiors and warm Scottish service.

The best thing of all though, is the 2 acre roof garden, which has fantastic views of the rooftops of Edinburgh!

Rooftop Garden at The Glasshouse
Rooftop Garden at The Glasshouse © The Glasshouse, Edinburgh

Imagine walking hand in hand in this private garden whilst admiring the views out to the Firth of Forth, or perhaps even popping the question ?


Balmoral Guesthouse

If your budget doesn't stretch to a luxury 4 or 5 star city-centre hotel, it's still possible to find lovely romantic places to stay in Edinburgh.

Balmoral Guesthouse, Edinburgh
Balmoral Guesthouse © Balmoral Guesthouse, Edinburgh

How about the Balmoral Guesthouse? This family-run guest house, just a short walk from the city centre, is in a street of traditional Victorian and Georgian Edinburgh houses.

You can hide away together from the hustle and bustle of the city amongst elegant surroundings with antique furniture for a lot less than the city-centre hotels.


A Night Out

Edinburgh Playhouse

The Edinburgh Playhouse
The Edinburgh Playhouse

Saved from closure in 1975, The Edinburgh Playhouse is a traditional theatre where you can take your sweetheart for a great night out at a popular musical or similar show.

It is one of the largest theatres in the uk, and has a lovely ornate interior which adds a great sense of occasion to your evening out.

Like many theatres, the Playhouse is said to be haunted by the ghost of a stage-hand, so you might want to keep your loved one close if you visit the 6th level!


Dominion Cinema

The Dominion Cinema is popular with couples wanting a cozy night out - the main screen has comfy leather sofas with foot stools to make you feel really relaxed!

The Dominion Cinema, Edinburgh
The Dominion © Dominion Cinema, Edinburgh

The luxury retro surroundings will add to the atmosphere whilst you enjoy one of the latest releases together.


The Hanging Bat

This beer-cafe is a favourite place for a night out for couples - a romantic candle-lit atmosphere, with a BBQ menu to accompany the specialist beers that the Hanging Bat is renowned for.

Cozy Romantic Corner In The Hanging Bat
Cozy Romantic Corner In The Hanging Bat © The Hanging Bat

The hot dogs in the BBQ are so good that they are served in several other Edinburgh bars and restaurants as well.


The Festivals

Edinburgh is famous for its festivals - they seem to run all year long!

Street Entertainers on the Royal Mile during the Fringe
Street Entertainers on the Royal Mile during The Fringe © AboutBritain.com

The Science Festival at Easter starts the festival season, going through to Hogmany at New Year, with the Jazz and Blues Festival, the Art Festival, the International Festival, the Book Festival, the Festival Fringe and others in between!


Edinburgh International Festival

Lang Lang at the Edinburgh International Festival
Lang Lang at the Edinburgh International Festival © harald hoffman-sony classical

The Edinburgh International Festival showcases arts from around the world every August.

If your loved one is into dance, classical music or theatre, you can plan a romantic break in Edinburgh around the International Festival.

The Magic Flute Opera at the Edinburgh International Festival
The Magic Flute Opera at the Edinburgh International Festival © iko freese-drama berlin

All of Edinburgh's six major concert halls and theatres are devoted to it (with lots of smaller venues too), so there's always lots to choose from, with many major international artists on the programme.


Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which runs alongside the Edinburgh International Festival, has become a festival in it's own right!! It has a wide range of shows of all types and genres - over 3000 shows in 300 venues! Together you can discover new talent at a comedy show, or just sit back and enjoy a major artist in a well known play!

Show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Show at The Fringe © Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

During the Fringe, it's always fun to walk up and down the Royal Mile during the day, and enjoy previews of some of the different shows that are on, along with dozens of street performers.

Street Theatre on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Street Theatre on the Royal Mile during The Fringe

Fire Eater on the Royal Mile During Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Fire Eater on the Royal Mile during The Fringe

Human Statue on the Royal Mile During Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Human Statue on the Royal Mile during The Fringe © AboutBritain.com


Hopefully the above ideas will help you to plan a break in Edinburgh with your loved one. There really are hundreds of romantic things to do in Edinburgh, so you'll probably want to visit more than once!

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