When thinking of a romantic getaway, many people will be quick to imagine a Greek island or a weekend under the lights of the Eiffel Tower. However, searches in the UK for ‘romantic getaways Scotland’ have increased by 218% in the past month. Moreover, they show Scotland is firmly on the minds of lovebirds looking for romantic getaways this Valentine’s Day!
Similarly, research from VisitScotland surveyed 2,000 UK holidaymakers from across the UK and confirmed this. The aim of the survey was to uncover where in Scotland they had a special connection and why. The study found that the most common reason people say they have a special connection to Scotland is that they visited with a romantic partner. Specifically, almost a fifth (19%) of holiday-goers said this.
Although, it’s no surprise. Scotland is inherently romantic: The rich history, the love songs, the poetry, the picturesque towns and the beautifully sublime landscapes are fit for fiction.
As a result, VisitScotland decided to help couples find where to live out their romantic Scottish story ahead of Valentine’s Day. More specifically, they pulled together a guide to the 7 most romantic places to visit. Or, as they put it in their survey, to inspire “a break fit for a fairytale“.
After looking for the Scottish places that ranked highest in VisitScotland’s study for people visiting with romantic partners**, these are the top destinations for romantic getaways in Scotland:
Romantic getaways in Scotland: Highlands, Skye and Moray Speyside
Coming in joint first in the VisitScotland study are the Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Scotland’s Highlands are synonymous with romance. They feature welcoming people, unique culture, dramatic landscapes, and romantic castles. In addition, most have a fascinating history offering lovebirds the perfect backdrop for Valentine’s adventure.
Read more: 11 Reasons Why You Need To Visit Scotland
Need help picking where to go? Start with Moray Speyside. It is well-known for its gentle climate and lush farmland. As well as, for being home to more than half of Scotland’s whisky distilleries. A romantic Valentine’s trip to Moray could be topped off with a visit to Lossiemouth beach, known as the ‘Riviera of the North’.
Then, there’s the Isle of Skye. It is an island off Scotland’s rugged northwest coast. Skye exudes peace, beauty and reinvigoration. All these make it the perfect escape for lovers looking to reset from the noise of everyday life. The island has countless ways to enchant visitors with its mountains, miles of dramatic coastlines and captivating history.
For those looking for a different way to spend Valentine’s, why not leave the crowds behind? Why not escape to the Isle of Raasay for the day? On a clear day, Dun Caan offers clear views over to the Cuillin of Skye and the Outer Hebrides.
Romantic getaways in Scotland: Edinburgh
Coming in second place was Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh. Edinburgh has the perfect balance of history, nightlife, attractions and architecture. This combination makes it a city that lovebirds won’t forget in a hurry after a romantic stay.
Date idea: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is just a mile from the city centre. Why not spend an hour or two exploring the gardens? You can then head back into the city centre for a romantic meal.
Or, if couples would prefer immersing themselves in some of Edinburgh’s more paranormal culture, how about a late-night date to the Edinburgh Vaults? The tour guide will show visitors around the vaults beneath the Old Town. They date back to the early 18th century. Tour guides also share tales of the murders, and persecutions of witches during their tours. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s a thrilling adventure!
Next on VisitScotland’s romantic break list after Edinburgh is the surrounding Lothians regions.
East Lothian, Midlothian, and West Lothian are perfect for those looking for quieter towns near Edinburgh. They offer a wealth of great attractions and enchanting scenery to explore. Winter doesn’t mean the seaside is off-limits.
Date idea: Why not take a day out to explore pretty North Berwick? Situated in East Lothian, North Berwick boasts excellent beaches and coastal scenery, making it the perfect seaside date destination. It’s home to an eclectic mix of shops, cafes and bars. Moreover, the town offers striking views out to Bass Rock, which is home to the world’s largest northern gannet colony.
If however, couples don’t fancy braving the cold Scottish sea wind while bird watching, they can head over to North Berwick’s 5-star Scottish Seabird Centre instead. There, they can view interactive live cameras on the local islands. Conveniently, the cameras zoom in on the amazing wildlife in their natural habitats.
Stirling, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Stretching across central Scotland from east to west, the diverse landscapes of Stirling, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs await. They offer the historic city of Stirling, stunning countryside and countless mountains and glens to enjoy. In particular, these areas are the perfect escape for those looking for a mix of city and natural Scotland.
Date idea: For venturesome couples, why not plan a day to scale the formidable Ben Lomond (if weather conditions allow)? Later, finish the hike with some well-earned R&R in one of Loch Lomond’s many luxury hotels and lodges.
Romantic getaways in Scotland: Orkney
These enchanting islands off Scotland’s north coast await lovers looking for a romantic escape to untouched Scotland. With hundreds of miles of coastline, beautiful beaches and views as far as the eyes can see, couples will have no trouble finding their own space in Orkney. Interestingly, almost a fifth (19%) of Orkney visitors said visiting the islands left them feeling ‘inspired’.
Travel tip: Orkney is an excellent choice for history-buff couples. Especially, the 5,000-year-old sites in the UNESCO Heart of Neolithic Orkney. These are stone monuments the prehistoric people of the island built.
Romantic getaways in Scotland: Shetland
While further afield than the other most romantic regions, the Shetland islands are not to be skipped. Located between mainland Scotland and Norway, the archipelago of Shetland is made up of more than 100 islands!
Awarded as one of Europe’s Top 10 best destinations in 2019 by Lonely Planet, Shetland has some of the most incredible landscapes in the UK and has a Viking heritage second to none. Couples can stay in Shetland’s quirky capital, Lerwick. There they can spend evenings in the vibrant restaurants and bars scene or enjoy traditional Shetland music.
During the day, explore the picturesque seaside and enjoy miles and miles of untouched coastlines fringed by towering cliff tops and crystal-clear waters.
Bonus Location: Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Looking to propose this Valentine’s but not quite sure where to do it and panicking at the eleventh hour? Try Scotland’s northeast.
VisitScotland’s survey found that the people who said they had a special connection with Scotland because they got engaged here. This doesn’t surprise me, as I have a good friend from University who returned to Scotland to get married.
Even more so, those who got engaged in Scotland were most likely to do so in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire. Incredibly, almost half (48%) of these romantic life moments take place in the region. After all, this is the home of Scotland’s Castle Trail. The picturesque trail includes the beautifully gothic Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven. As a result, it is perfect for some long, romantic walks.
To sum things up
Scotland is an inherently romantic destination. From historic towns and windswept castles to beautiful natural landscapes and welcoming people, Scotland is the perfect destination for romantic getaways. No wonder then, that internet searches show it’s firmly on the minds of lovebirds in the UK looking to get away this Valentine’s Day! So why not you too?
** The top romantic locations were pulled by looking at the percentage of survey respondents who said they had a special connection with the regions because they visited with a romantic partner. Percentages of romantic special connections for each region are as below:
- Highlands and the Isle of Skye (33%) – joint top
- Edinburgh (30%)
- Lothians (28%)
- Stirling, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs (26%) – joint fourth
- Orkney (23%)
- Shetland (23%)