With its dramatic landscapes of lakes, mountains, and valleys, its historical castles, folkloric traditions and the starriest skies in the UK, Scotland is a wonderful choice for a romantic getaway. From its trendy capital city to the farthest reaches of the Outer Hebrides, there are countless places that will take your breath away. Here we have suggested a range of activities, from magical train rides to luxury cruises to surfing, allowing you to experience the best of Scotland.
1. Discover the charm of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is ideal for a romantic break. Go for a peaceful stroll up to St Bernard’s Well in Stockbridge – this natural spring is home to a statue of Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health, and is actually a popular place to pop the question in Edinburgh! There are lots of great bars and restaurants in the area too if you want to go for a romantic meal afterwards. The cobbled streets and discreet alleys on the Royal Mile make it a great place to explore together on a date; if you’re feeling adventurous, book a ghost tour and discover the spooky side of Edinburgh!
2. Rest and relaxation at Loch Ness
Heading out in search of a mythical aquatic monster may not be most people’s idea of romance, but if it’s rest and relaxation you’re after, how about a spa treatment at the Loch Ness Lodge, a luxurious bed and breakfast and spa? Your aches and pains will melt away in their hot tub, and if you fancy a real treat, why not book a couple of nights there with a view of the Loch from your room, a complimentary bottle of Champagne and a luxury cruise on the Loch? The cruise will take you all the way to the iconic medieval fortress,Castle, while you and your loved one sit back, take in the stunning views of Scotland, and keep a look-out for Nessy, of course!
3. Let romance blossom in one of Scotland’s fairy-tale castles
Live like royals for a few days and treat yourselves to a romantic stay in a castle in Scotland.Crossbasket Castle is just half an hour’s drive from Glasgow.The luxurious rooms in this 15th century castle boast the finest antique furniture and sumptuous thick, soft furnishings. Lovers of the outdoors will enjoy trips to the local country parks at Strathclyde and Chatelherault, before returning to the hotel for Champagne Afternoon Tea. The castle’s landscape gardens and nearby waterfalls are perfect for a romantic evening stroll! Alternatively, travel further north to the majestic Eilean Donan castle in the Scottish Highlands. A popular wedding venue, the accommodation is provided at Eilean Donan cottage, with stunning views out to the castle and the Loch and is an ideal base if you’re planning to explore the Isle of Skye, Lochalsh, Wester Ross and Loch Ness areas.
4. Ride on the Hogwarts Express… and be spellbound by the scenery
Once upon a time, it was known as the Jacobite Steam Train; nowadays it is better as the Hogwarts Express! But whatever your preferred name, it will undoubtedly be the most memorable train journey you’ve ever been on. This 84-mile round trip will take you from Fort William through the Highlands to the west coast of Scotland. You’ll stop by at the quaint village of Glenfinnan before moving on to Mallaig, a bustling fishing port. You’ll be confronted with dramatic landscapes, including views over Loch Nevis, the deepest seawater loch in Europe, and the majestic, imposing viaduct at Glenfinnan. Don’t forget to bring your wizard hats; you might feel silly if you’re the only people on the train without them!
5. Experience solitude and surfing in the Outer Hebrides
Escape from it all and discover the magic of the Outer Hebrides. On these remote islands, you’ll experience a gentler pace of life as you explore pristine coastlines and countryside, learn about the islands’ fascinating history and unique island cultures. Stroll along the white, sandy beaches and admire the stunning views over turquoise waters. If you’re up for an adventure, hire a bike or head out on foot to explore the island, or test the waters and show off your surfing and kayaking skills! Being on a remote, rural island means a constant supply of delicious meat and fresh seafood, including prawns, lobster, crab, beef and lamb, as well as the famous Stornoway black pudding! At the end of the day, settle down for a Scotch at a local pub and enjoy listening to the traditional folk musicians sing in Gaelic.
6. Dance the night away at a real Ceilidh
For the party people among you, you can’t possibly visit Scotland and not learn to dance the Ceilidh! It’s a bit like an old-fashioned barn dance where everyone dances with everyone, but don’t worry about not knowing the steps; the band will be calling out dance instructions throughout the night! A ceilidh band will often include traditional Scottish instruments (the violin, accordion and guitar) and alternate between fast-paced dances and slower waltzes. Going to a ceilidh is a fantastic night out and a chance to meet and dance with the lovely locals! For a list of the upcoming folk festivals taking place around Scotland, check out the Visit Scotland website.
7. Stargaze under the darkest skies in Europe
Visit Scotland to experience some of the darkest night skies in Europe and some spectacular stargazing opportunities. Happy campers can camp for free in Galloway Forest Park in south-west Scotland and spend the night under the stars. See if you can count the 7,000 stars and planets that are visible to the naked eye, or just lie back in awe and enjoy the peace, darkness and fresh air. If you’re looking for somewhere even more remote, the Isle of Coll in the Inner Hebrides is 20 miles from the nearest lamp-post (!) and also offers beautiful sandy beaches to enjoy on a sunny day. At night, if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!
Whether you choose to camp out in the wild, chill out at a bed and breakfast or stay in a castle in Scotland, one thing’s for sure – you’ll have an incredible time!