If you want to whisk your significant other away on a romantic Scottish break for two, then Edinburgh is the perfect place to do it. The city itself provides a beautifully romantic backdrop for your holiday, with its cobbled streets and spellbinding past, and there are a range of hotels which will turn the romance factor up a notch. Add in exquisite dining options and great things to do and you’ll both be smitten with the city as well as each other by the end of your break.
The Principal Hotel: Romance in Charlotte Square
One of Edinburgh’s newest and most romantic hotels, The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square is located in the Georgian New Town, overlooking the garden square of the same name. Each room is individually styled with a dash of tartan and Scottish artwork, giving a warm and welcoming feel. Baba, the restaurant, has already become highly regarded in the city, serving up a Lebanese-inspired menu. The Garden, a roofed courtyard decked out with fresh greenery and wicker seating, provides another more relaxed space for breakfast and general lounging.
The wide Georgian streets of the New Town are lined with impressive architectural gems, many of which are now trendy bars, restaurants and shops. Perhaps the most extravagant of all is The Dome at the east end of George Street. It’s worth stopping by for a drink just to marvel at the grandeur of this building, and the afternoon tea here is particularly highly regarded. For a more intimate affair, enjoy a candle-lit dinner at Bon Vivant on Thistle Street, which serves an eclectic range of dishes and an excellent selection of cocktails. The New Town also benefits from not one, but two national galleries, both of which can be entered for free.
The romantic G&V Royal Mile Hotel
This 5-star hotel in The Old Town is a modern and stylish romantic choice with suites offering great views of the city. For an extra special trip, book one of the suites – three of them have been individually styled by Scottish artists. The Judy R Clark Studio Suite features a charming beamed ceiling, antique writing desk and warm tones. The hotel also houses a bar, an indulgent spa, and an Italian restaurant, Cucina, serving up delicious food with a gourmet twist.
Amble down the Royal Mile, browsing shops and taking in the spectacular sight of buildings such as St Giles Cathedral as you go. For a longer walk you can continue to the Canongate to visit the Scottish Parliament and Palace of Holyroodhouse. The palace is the Queen’s official residence when in Edinburgh and offers a fascinating insight into royal history. From here, it’s impossible not to notice Arthur’s Seat, a striking hill in the middle of the city. Climb at sunset for a particularly romantic experience. After all that walking, head to Hemma, a relaxed Swedish establishment, for a platter to share and a well-earned drink.
Romantic hotel with a view: Apex Hotel
This hotel in the Grassmarket is in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, and it makes the most of the romantic views with a glass-fronted restaurant. You can book a Deluxe or Superior Room for an ultra romantic uninterrupted castle view from your balcony too. The Metro Bar and Brasserie offer seasonal dishes, including creative twists on Scottish classics. For those who like to wind down on a trip away, there’s a pool, sauna and gym too.
The Grassmarket was once the city cattle market however these days you’re more likely to find it bustling with alfresco diners at its many pubs and restaurants. Choose from an array of places to eat, including the Mussel and Steak Bar, and make sure that you leave room for something sweet after – Mary’s Milk Bar in the Grassmarket is famous for serving up fresh gelato which has people queuing round the block! Another gem of the Grassmarket is Victoria Street. Winding uphill, this street houses a collection of independent, brightly coloured shops and is a feast for the eyes.
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh: The Caledonian
This 5-star hotel is located in a former Victoria Railway Station, which gives it a special air of grandeur beneath the romance. Serving as a hotel for over 100 years, its honed hospitality to a tee. Eclectic pieces of artwork adorn the walls of the bedrooms, which are decorated in muted tones, perfect for a good night’s sleep. The hotel also encompasses The Pompadour by Galvin, a fine dining experience, and Galvin Bresserie de Luxe, a Parisian style brasserie. For an indulgent treat, you can have a couple’s massage at the Guerlain Spa followed by afternoon tea in Peacock Alley, a bright and airy space which was once the station concourse.
The west end of Princes Street is a great central spot close to both the Old and New Town, and is perfect if you want to spend an evening watching a concert at the Usher Hall. This is definitely the area to be in for foodies – the nearby Castle Terrace Restaurant is one of city’s Michelin-star restaurants. On Saturdays you should head to the Farmer’s Market on Castle Terrace where you can browse and taste excellent Scottish produce and street food. Just opposite the hotel you can also visit the Edinburgh Gin Distillery, one of the city’s hidden gems, to taste this popular local tipple and take a tour.
Charm your partner at The Witchery by The Castle
Enter the Witchery from the cobbled streets outside and step into a magical, sumptuous world that wouldn’t be out of place in Harry Potter. Wow your loved one with one of the bespoke rooms, each of which comes with its own charms. ‘The Heriot’ suite features a spectacular bathroom, complete with roll-top bath, and ‘The Sempill’ is a luxurious room with a four-poster bed and velvet-draped walls. This 5-star romantic hotel is also known for its excellent dining experience and candlelit afternoon tea.
Guests at The Witchery will find the location second to none. With Edinburgh Castle and the Scotch Whisky Experience on your doorstep you really couldn’t be in a better spot. Wander down the Royal Mile and admire the stone tenements and crooked closes as you browse shops and soak up the atmosphere. Find out more about the city’s history on a walking tour, or at Mary King’s Close. For a truly romantic vibe, head to the National Museum of Scotland and make your way to the rooftop terrace for breathtaking views of the city. Dine at Angels with Bagpipes on the Royal Mile to enjoy Scottish dishes at their finest.
Central and stylish: Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh
Ideally situated by Haymarket Train Station, the Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh features bright, modern rooms that are perfect for a city stay. The breakfast buffet, restaurant and bar will serve you well before or after a day out with your loved one. Opt for the suite for a special treat, with extras including a bathrobe and slippers.
The west end is a treasure trove of cute pubs and boutique shops. Head to William Street, a pretty cobbled lane, to enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the pubs, such as Teuchters. Walk on to see the neo-gothic St Mary’s Cathedral. From here it’s a short distance to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art where you can see the latest exhibitions and explore the sculptures in the grounds. Nearby Dean Village, a historic mill village, is the perfect place for a riverside walk if you want to venture further. Round off the walk by heading toward Princes Street on Queensferry Street, and popping in to a coffee shop or bar for a drink.
Romantic luxury boutique hotel: The Raeburn
A little further from the city centre, The Raeburn is a luxury boutique hotel, bar and restaurant in the heart of Stockbridge. This Georgian house is stylishly decorated in gentle grey tones – book a deluxe room for a roll-top bath big enough for two! Downstairs you can enjoy the cosy pub atmosphere at a table by the fire, or dine alfresco if the sun is shining in the large courtyard or terrace. Surely one of Edinburgh cosiest romantic hotels!
Stockbridge has a village feel even though it’s still close to the city centre. Coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants line the main street. The Sunday farmer’s market is a firm favourite for both visitor and locals. The Raeburn is located next to Inverleith Park, which offers amazing views of the city, and near the Royal Botanic Gardens which are perfect for a leisurely stroll. Top restaurants in the area include the Scran & Scallie, a gastro pub run by Michelin-star chef Tom Kitchin, Rollo which sells an eclectic menu that includes Scottish tapas and the Stockbridge Restaurant.
Miriam is from Edinburgh and is Content Executive at VisitScotland. Her favourite kind of holiday involves trying lots of local produce (especially cheese!), and enjoying leisurely walks in the country with her dog.