The best things for couples to do in Edinburgh include romantic strolls around picturesque villages, luxurious meals in intimate restaurants, and visits to landmarks like historic gardens, palaces and one of the capital’s oldest independent cinemas. Whether you’re thinking of date ideas or need the perfect place to propose, the magical city of Edinburgh has plenty to offer.

    Head to one of the city’s vantage points for unbeatable sunset views over famous attractions like Edinburgh Castle. Or, head to a chocolate factory to design a unique treat for your better half. From champagne afternoon teas to secluded beach strolls, here’s what you can do to sweep your partner off their feet in Edinburgh.


    Palace of Holyroodhouse

    Champagne afternoon tea in the Mews Courtyard

    The Palace of Holyroodhouse has been Scotland’s primary royal residence since the 16th century. Its beautifully landscaped gardens make for a romantic stroll. Inside this baroque and neoclassical palace, you can learn about the history of Scottish and British monarchs in the galleries, staterooms and throne room.

    Book a date for you and your better half in the Mews Courtyard, where you can enjoy an award-winning afternoon tea with a glass of bubbly, delectable pastries and unobstructed views of Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano. Prices start from around £20 per person. Book a table in advance as the royal afternoon tea is usually in high demand for special occasions.

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    Location: Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, UK

    Open: Thursday–Monday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

    Phone: +44 (0)303 123 7306


    Edinburgh Filmhouse

    An iconic independent cinema

    Edinburgh Filmhouse occupies what was once a church in a neoclassical-style villa constructed in 1831. Since 1979, it’s been an independent auditorium and cinema that’s retained many of its original interior features, giving it a retro appearance that’s a little different to chain alternatives. It’s ideal for couples who want to see classics, lesser-known genres and new releases in an intimate setting.

    On top of being a hotspot for dates, Edinburgh Filmhouse is an icon of the Scottish capital. It’s home to the world’s longest-running film festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Catch a flick in June to see the annual celebrations taking place.

    Location: 88 Lothian Rd, Edinburgh EH3 9BZ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)131 228 2688


    photo by kim traynor (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    COCO Chocolatier

    Dessert tasting and designing classes

    At COCO Chocolatier, you can shop for treats like chocolate, fudges and nuts made by artisan chocolatiers packed in wrapping designed by local contemporary artists. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, the hamper baskets make ideal gifts. Try the tasting evening experience for a romantic activity you can do together. There’s also a 2-hour chocolate school held on the first Saturday of the month.

    Where possible, all ingredients used to make the delights at COCO Chocolatier are organic and sourced locally, and there’s plenty on offer for vegans and those with special dietary requirements. The sampling session costs around £60 per person, which includes plenty of bites during the session and a gift pack of your own creations to take home.

    Location: 24 W Telferton, Edinburgh EH7 6UL, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 4.30 pm (closed on weekends)

    Phone: +44 (0)131 290 2159


    St Bernard's Well

    A popular proposal spot and historical landmark

    Constructed in 1789 in the classical style, St Bernard's Well was designed by a celebrated Edinburgh landscape painter, Alexander Nasmyth, who drew inspiration from the Temple of Vesta in Italy. The gurgling sounds of the Water of Lieth add to the romance of the monument, which includes 10 Doric columns and an ornate statue of Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health.

    The domed temple that conceals the pump room is open to the public just a few days per year, when lucky visitors can see the intricate inlaid mosaic. The best time to visit St Bernard's Well is just after heavy rainfall, when the gushing sounds of rainwater echo through the channels under Dean Bridge.

    Location: MacKenzie Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6TS, UK


    Dean Village

    A picturesque neighbourhood with historic buildings and gardens

    Dean Village is a serene district with charming homes, narrow alleys, gentle waterways and bridges that have been mostly untouched since the 19th century. Couples enjoy romantic walks along the Water of Leith Walkway while admiring views of the historic mill buildings that pay homage to the village’s industrial heritage. It’s frequently cited as one of Scotland’s most picturesque attractions.

    If you want to learn about the area’s cultural importance, pay a visit to the nearby Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The protected areas of Old Town and New Town are around 1.5 miles from Dean Village. Make the journey on foot to pass landmarks like Edinburgh Castle and The Parish Church of St Cuthbert.

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    Location: Dean Path, Edinburgh EH4 3AY, UK


    Dunbar's Close Garden

    A romantic hidden garden near the Royal Mile

    Dunbar's Close is a recreated 17th-century garden hidden down one of the narrow cobbled alleyways on the famous Royal Mile. Despite its city-centre location, this secret garden remains off the radar for most visitors, meaning there’s a good chance you and your better half will be able to explore its finely pruned shrubs, trees and beautiful parterres without jostling with any crowds.

    You’ll find plenty of seating for a picnic under the shelter of the trees by the old church walls near Canongate. Entrance to the park is free, but opening times vary throughout the year. Head there around 7 am to make the most of this historic garden’s peace and quiet.

    Location: 137 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BW, UK

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)131 529 5151


    Calton Hill

    A romantic vantage point with stunning sunset views

    At 103 metres tall, Calton Hill is one of the highest points in Edinburgh. It’s also a great place to enjoy a romantic sunset as hues of orange and purple dance off the cityscape, the Water of Leith and landmarks like Edinburgh Castle and the unfinished yet iconic National Monument. Other monuments atop Calton Hill include Nelson Monument and the Dugald Stewart Monument.

    We recommend ascending to the top of Calton Hill at least 1 hour before sunset to make sure you can get a seat. After admiring the view, explore the neighbourhood at the bottom of the hill. You’ll find attractions such as the Palace of Holyrood as well as several vibrant bars at its foot.

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    Location: Edinburgh EH7 5AA, UK


    Linlithgow Palace

    Beautiful preserved ruins of a former royal residence

    Linlithgow Palace is a now-abandoned yet preserved royal residence built between the 13th and 15th centuries. The palace is open for self-guided tours, allowing you to follow in the footsteps of former Scottish and British royals. Due to the lack of crowds, there’s a good chance you and your better half can enjoy it all to yourselves.

    Linlithgow Palace is about 15 miles west of Edinburgh. The easiest way to reach the palace is to take the train for about 20 minutes from Edinburgh Waverley Station to Linlithgow Station. Entrance to the palace costs from around £5 per adult. Don’t forget to climb the tower for sprawling views over the neighbouring lake.

    Location: Kirkgate, Linlithgow EH49 7AL, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1506 842896


    Cramond Island

    Stroll along the causeway to a tidal island

    Cramond Island is ideal for couples who like to fill up on history in Edinburgh The island is one of the many islands in the Firth of Forth, and it offers stunning views of the mainland. On the island, you can explore natural surroundings, small beaches and historic fortifications from WWI and WWII. As a tidal island, it is only reachable by a walkable causeway during low tides.

    Remember to check the tide times posted at the causeway entrance before attempting to cross over to the island. It makes for a romantic stroll, but you wouldn’t be the first couple to get stranded for the night due to bad timing. We recommend heading there through the week to avoid the weekend crowds.


    Tattu Edinburgh

    An intimate restaurant with ornate décor

    The Tattu Edinburgh serves contemporary Chinese and seafood dishes in a luxurious and cosy setting. Illuminated pink flowers surround a large work of art that overlooks the dining area from the ceiling. In addition to modern Asian and international creations infused with traditional spices, herbs and flavours, there’s plenty of house cocktails on the menu.

    A la carte favourites include the Szechuan sea bass and wagyu dumplings. For a treat with a kick, try the signature Skull Candy, a vodka-based cocktail with bubblegum and strawberry. Scott’s Monument, a Victorian Gothic icon that stands 60 metres tall, is just 3 minutes away on foot and makes for a relaxing after-dinner stroll.

    Location: 18 W Register St, Edinburgh EH2 2AA, UK

    Open: Daily from noon to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)131 558 1922

    Joshua Saunders | Contributing Writer

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