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10 Romantic Things to Do in Edinburgh (+ Best Places to Propose)

Edinburgh is hardly ever described as a romantic city. Its sinister buildings, dark history and not-so-favourable weather don’t exactly set the scene for romance.

However, there are several romantic spots in Edinburgh. You’ll find cosy cafes, beautiful gardens, picturesque streets, and a lot more.

Here are some of the most romantic things to do in Edinburgh (plus tips for couples visiting the city).

Romantic things to do in Edinburgh

Ready to plan your romantic getaway? Here are the best activities in Edinburgh for couples.

1. Watch the sunset from Calton Hill

Calton Hill offers panoramic views of Edinburgh. It’s also a perfect picnic spot on warm days.

Enjoying the sunset from Calton Hill is one of the most romantic things to do in Edinburgh.
The view from Calton Hill. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

While the hill is a popular tourist attraction, it tends to be less busy in the evening. On a clear day, you can take in the beautiful sight of the sun setting over the city.

Alternatively, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you could watch the sunset from Arthur’s Seat, where you are more likely to find a quiet spot.

Note that it can get rather chilly on the hills in the evening – perfect excuse for a cuddle!  

2. Enjoy a glass of wine on Leith’s waterfront

Leith is possibly the coolest neighbourhood in Edinburgh. This port district is home to various quirky cafes and thrift shops.

Leith waterfront | Romantic things to do in Edinburgh
Leith waterfront. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

Leith’s waterfront is lined with cosy pubs and restaurants. Places like The Shore and Toast have outdoor seating, so you can sip a nice glass of wine while enjoying the sea breeze.  

3. Walk from Dean Village to Stockbridge  

Dean Village is one of the most picturesque areas in Edinburgh. Situated along the Water of Leith, this little neighbourhood is known for its gorgeous houses and cobbled lanes.

Dean Village, Edinburgh.
Dean Village. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

From here, you can enjoy a romantic walk along the stream. The path is surrounded by lush greenery and there are several benches overlooking the water.

Along the way, you will come across an intriguing structure known as St. Bernard’s Well. Built in 1789, the well features a statue of Hygieia, Goddess of Health.

Stockbridge, Edinburgh.
Stockbridge. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

The path will take you to Stockbridge, where you can have some lunch and coffee. The Pantry serves up some delicious food and homemade cakes. There’s also Soderberg, a Scandinavian bakery with a wide variety of pastries and sweets.

4. Watch a film at the Cameo Cinema  

For a truly romantic and unique evening, head to the Cameo, one of the oldest cinemas in Scotland.

The Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh.
The Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh.

Watching a film at the Cameo is like stepping back in time. The place has retained some of its original architectural features and design.

The cinema screens both mainstream and indie films, as well as the occasional classic.  

5. Go for a stroll along Portobello beach  

You might be surprised to learn that you can actually spend a day at the beach in Edinburgh.

Portobello is a quaint seaside suburb of Edinburgh, home to a two-mile sandy beach.

Portobello Beach | Romantic things to do in Edinburgh
Portobello Beach. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

While the sea is too cold to swim in (even in summer), you can still enjoy a lovely walk along the beach. Plus, there are several nice cafes along the promenade.

Portobello beach is also a great location for watching the sunset on a nice, clear day.  

6. Indulge in chocolate 

If you’re addicted to chocolate, there are several places in Edinburgh where you can indulge in all things chocolatey.

For example, Coco Chocolatier is an specialist chocolate shop that offers chocolate-making class. You can also head to Coro the Chocolate Cafe and Hotel Chocolat Cafe on Frederick Street (New Town) for a delicious treat.

And, while it’s not exactly chocolate, you can also treat yourself to some fudge. This traditional sweet is made with sugar, butter and milk, and comes in a variety of flavours, including chocolate.

There are several places in Edinburgh where you can try freshly baked fudge. These include the Fudge Kitchen and the Fudge House in the Old Town.

7. Have a picnic at the Royal Botanic Garden  

The Royal Botanic Garden is undoubtedly one of the most romantic places in Edinburgh.

The garden is a wee slice of paradise in the heart of the city. There are different areas to explore, each with its own charm and beauty.

The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
The Royal Botanic Garden. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

There’s the Rock Garden, the Alpine Houses, the Woodland Garden, the greenhouses with tropical plants, and much more.

On a nice day, you can enjoy a picnic in a quiet spot among the trees and shrubs, or just enjoy the view of Edinburgh’s skyline from the terrace cafe.

8. Treat your partner to afternoon tea

Want to surprise your significant other while you’re in Edinburgh? Book an afternoon tea experience!

There are plenty of cafes in Edinburgh that do traditional tea. These include The Dome on George Street and Mimi’s Bakehouse in Leith.

Cuckoo's Bakery in Edinburgh.
Cuckoo’s Bakery. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

If you fancy something a bit lighter, you can just go for coffee and cake instead. My favorite places for cake in Edinburgh are Cuckoo’s Bakery (their cupcakes are divine!) and Lovecrumbs.

9. Go stargazing at the Royal Observatory  

For the ultimate romantic experience in Edinburgh, spend Friday evening at the Royal Observatory. The public astronomy evenings at the observatory allow visitors to explore the Victorian telescope dome and stargaze on the roof.

10. Take a boat trip

If you want to go on a wee adventure with your significant other, book a boat trip of the Firth of Forth.

This estuary is home to the magnificent Forth Bridge, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Forth Bridge in Edinburgh.
The Forth Bridge. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

Boat trips typically depart from South Queensferry and last around one or two hours. If you’re lucky, you might spot some seals and puffins.

Forth Boat Tours is a family-owned business that offers 90-minute cruises for couples and families. You get to enjoy views of the bridges, Blackness Castle, and more.

Best places to propose in Edinburgh

Planning to pop the question on your romantic getaway? Here are some of the most romantic places in Edinburgh to propose.

Dean Village

As mentioned earlier, Dean Village is one of the prettiest places in Edinburgh, with cute houses and cobbled lanes.

Dean Village.
Dean Village. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

You can propose on the bridge, or find a quiet street. If you keep walking along the stream, you’ll find a nice Victorian garden with benches.

Circus Lane

Want to pop the question without an audience? Go for a walk through Circus Lane.

Circus Lane is one of the most romantic places to propose in Edinburgh.
Circus Lane. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

This gorgeous street in Stockbridge is a hidden gem. Lined with quaint houses, it’s packed with old-world charm – and romance!

Princes Street Gardens

Located in the heart of Edinburgh, Princes Street Gardens are a joy to explore. They’re particularly beautiful in late spring and summer, when the flowers and trees are in full bloom.

The Ross Fountain in Princes Street Gardens.
The Ross Fountain in Princes Street Gardens. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

You could go for a romantic stroll through the gardens and find the perfect spot to propose. Perhaps you could do it by the beautiful Ross Fountain or the Gingerbread House.

Castle Hill

On the other side of Princes Street Gardens, you’ll find Castle Hill. The hill is laced with zigzagging paths that take you all the way up to the castle.

Castle Hill | Romantic things to do in Edinburgh.
Castle Hill. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

The hill is not as busy as the gardens, so you’ll get a bit more privacy. If you’re visiting Edinburgh in spring, you can pop the question among the daffodils!

Arthur’s Seat

Standing at 251 meters above sea level, Arthur’s Seat is the highest point in Edinburgh and offers breathtaking panoramic views.

Arthur's Seat.
Arthur’s Seat. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

The hill is an ancient volcano and home to several historical ruins, including St. Anthony’s Chapel (which dates back to the 12th century) and the remains of an Iron Age fort.

If you’re both avid hikers, you will enjoy climbing Arthur’s Seat. You can propose at the top of the hill, with the city of Edinburgh at your feet.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill offers stunning views of Edinburgh’s skyline. It’s also home to a collection of historical monuments, including the National Monument, the City Observatory, and the Dugald Stewart Monument.

Calton Hill.
Calton Hill. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

The hill is easily accessible. It’s a short walk from Princes Street and it’s open to the public all year round.

You can head there in the evening to see the city basking in the warm glow of the sun and pop the question in a quieter environment.

Romantic restaurants in Edinburgh

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for a romantic night out, Edinburgh has a wide variety of restaurants to choose from.

One of the most romantic restaurants in Edinburgh is the Witchery by the Castle. Located in a historic building just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle, this place is decorated with rich fabrics, ornate chandeliers and candles, creating a truly romantic atmosphere. The menu features traditional Scottish dishes with a modern twist.

There’s also The Cellar Door, unique and intimate wine bar on George IV Bridge. The bar offers a wide range of wines from all over the world, including rare and unusual bottles, as well as a selection of local beers, spirits and cocktails.

It also offers a small selection of light bites and charcuterie platters to enjoy with your drinks.

IMG 4422
Haggis with a twist, served at The Cellar Door. Photo by Daniela Frendo.

The Ship on The Shore is another romantic restaurant in Edinburgh. It serves delicious seafood in a cozy atmosphere, with a terrace that offers views of the water.

For a Michelin experience, you can book a table at The Gardener’s Cottage. Set in a charming cottage in the Royal Terrace Gardens, the restaurant serves a daily changing menu based on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. It has an intimate ambiance, with a rustic yet elegant decor.

Best Edinburgh tours for couples

If you want to explore Edinburgh on a guided tour, you’ll find plenty of amazing activities for couples. Here are some of the best tours in the citys.

Frequently asked questions

Is Edinburgh good for couples?

Yes! Edinburgh is an amazing destination for couples. It’s safe, laidback, and LGBTQ-friendly.

Is Edinburgh a romantic city?

Yes. The Old Town has a very romantic ambiance, with cobbled lanes, cosy cafes and pubs, and interesting museums and galleries.

What is there to do on a date night in Edinburgh?

You can go for a romantic dinner in the Old Town, enjoy a nice drink at one of the cool bars in the New Town, and just stroll through the streets.

What are the best activities to do in Edinburgh for couples?

Enjoy a nice picnic in Princes Street Gardens or Calton Hill, go for afternoon tea, explore Dean Village, and visit Portobello beach.

What is the most romantic place to visit in Edinburgh?

The botanic garden! You can get lost in a maze of exotic plants and have a picnic among the trees.

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