What are the ingredients that make up your own dream romantic getaway? A picturesque beach or hillside setting, somewhere far away from the rush of the city? Or perhaps it’s the stimulations of the big cities that are the major attraction for you, not least the wealth of fine restaurants, art galleries and museums that the finest of them serve up?
Different people naturally have different preferences and expectations for romantic breaks. However, one thing that’s consistently true is that Scotland offers some of the most special places for all manner of couples to play and stay.
So, here at toprooms, we thought we would take a closer look at a few of them – paying particular attention to those that allow you to fully indulge your inner history buff.
Of course, we had to mention Edinburgh. It’s Scotland’s historically fascinating and charming capital city, boasting both opulent and affordable hotels and accommodation options – ranging from Edinburgh Central Guest House to Ritz Hotel – that will enable you to appreciate those charms.
Wherever you look across the city, romantic opportunities present themselves. What about whiling away some time in picturesque Stockbridge, the northern suburb is known for its elegant Georgian and Victorian properties and the idyllic St Bernard’s Well, at which many a lovebird has popped the question down the years? We’re not necessarily suggesting that has to be your own reason for dropping by this delightful structure, however!
A candlelit dinner is also a must-do during any romantic city break, with The Witchery often said to be the capital’s most romantic restaurant. You’ll find it on the Royal Mile, which is a fine place in itself to explore with your beloved, its cobbled streets and narrow wynds confirming all of the warm and positive preconceptions you’ve ever had about historic Edinburgh.
Also included among the both obvious and slightly lesser-known historical monuments in Edinburgh are the likes of the Scott Monument – the world’s largest monument commemorating a writer – and the 17th-century Palace of Holyroodhouse, the home of successive kings and queens of Scotland. If you see its flags at full mast, that’s a firm sign that the Queen or other royals are in residence.
With everything from theatre nights at the Edinburgh Playhouse to pleasant strolls through the Royal Botanic Gardens and other green spaces able to be enjoyed when you book a romantic break in Edinburgh, it’s no surprise that so many couples never feel the need to consider anywhere else in Scotland.
The UK’s third-largest city is hardly Scotland’s most obvious romantic destination. However, behind Glaswegians’ famously gallus exterior lays no shortage of witty charm and kind-heartedness, and if you don’t believe us, well… just take your pick from any of the wealth of romantic opportunities here.
What opportunities, we hear you say? Well, Kelvingrove Park is always a fine place to go for a walk and to enjoy a picnic in a scenic spot with your partner, no matter how cold it gets. Or if it’s on Valentine’s Day that you will be in Glasgow and you really want a roof over your head, few settings are quite as special as The Corinthian’s piano bar, where there will be romantic music and themed drinks to enjoy.
As for historical appeal… well, Glasgow has no shortage of that. The city is renowned for its architectural inheritance that is largely the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh – examples of his mastery ranging from the currently under-restoration Glasgow School of Art to the Willow Tearooms and Scotland Street School Museum.
Glasgow is definitely a city that lends itself strongly to a combination of romancing and historical sleuthing, as can be done at such venues as the Theatre Royal, which originally opened in 1867 and continues to host an amazing variety of touring productions, and the Zen garden at the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. The latter is notable because it was actually Britain’s first permanent Zen garden, designed in accordance with the Japanese Zen Buddhist tradition.
One of the most romantic things about Glasgow, though, is right in front of you as soon as you step off the train. Glasgow Central station first opened in 1879, boasts an ornate clock and also incorporates the distinctive Hielanman’s Umbrella, which is the glass-walled railway bridge that carries the station’s platforms across Argyle Street.
We’ve got a strong range of suitably romantic Glasgow accommodation for you to choose from here at toprooms, including the likes of Cathedral Apartments, Number 52 Charlotte Street and Craigpark Guest House.
This Inner Hebridean island is a fine place for more outdoorsy couples to head, not least on account of its truly staggering natural scenery.
Whether your dream romantic break entails spellbinding walks such as the Quiraing, where you will find no shortage of enchanting geological features, or instead such jaw-dropping sights as the clear waters of The Fairy Pools beneath the Black Cuillin mountains, the Isle of Skye is a place with which you’ll fall in love time and time again.
So, this is certainly a spot where you can swot up on your geological history – but it’s not an empty land, either. The island’s largest town – Portree – is the perfect place to appreciate this, with its charming cliff-fringed harbour, Thomas Telford-designed pier and the Aros cultural centre, which celebrates the Gaelic heritage of the island.
Yes, yes – before you ask, we’ve also got some fine places for you to stay during your Isle of Skye visit here at toprooms, such as Cul Na Creagan and Uig Hotel. After all, this is a magical place, so you also deserve some pretty magical accommodation within which to ramp up the romance.
Few spots anywhere in Scotland combine the finest in history and romance quite as convincingly as Eilean Donan Castle does; this 13th-century castle, at the point where three lochs meet, truly is a magical sight. Forming part of a breathtaking landscape near Kyle of Lochalsh, the castle has unsurprisingly become one of the most photographed in Scotland.
To be fair, it would be stretching it a little to describe the castle as the literally 13th century in fabric, given that it went through successive stages of development before being almost completely destroyed in the early 18th century. Restoration of the castle then did not take place for another two centuries, under the auspices of Lt. Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap.
You might not be shocked to learn that Eilean Donan Castle has become a fixture of Scottish popular culture down the years, appearing on packaging and advertising for whisky and shortbread, as well as in films such as 1986’s Highlander and 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, in which it served as MI6’s Scottish headquarters.
One thing that certainly won’t take you back is the castle’s popularity as a wedding venue. But if you don’t intend to go quite that far yet, don’t worry – you can also simply book some very special local short-break accommodation in the form of Conchra House. This bed and breakfast in an 18th-century traditional house present jaw-dropping views from the shores of Loch Long towards Eilean Donan Castle.
Located between Oban and Lochgilphead, surrounding the village of Kilmartin, Kilmartin Glen is so much more than astonishingly beautiful and atmospheric, although it is certainly both of those things. That’s because of its seemingly endless cairns, carved rock, standing stones, forts and castles also represent some 5,000 years of development, with especially important concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains.
You don’t need to stray more than six miles away from the village to encounter a whopping 350 or so ancient monuments, about 150 of which are prehistoric. Standing stones, numerous cists, a ‘linear cemetery’ consisting of five burial cairns and an assortment of natural rocks bearing cup and ring marks all wait to be discovered.
Nor have we even got to one of the best things about this perfectly historical and romantic destination: the fact that the nearby Kilmartin Museum enables you to admire many of the ancient artefacts that have been unearthed here down the years.
Fair enough, you might think, it’s definitely quite the place for archaeology buffs – but might it be a stretch to call it romantic? Sorry, but we won’t tolerate any such misgivings. As the TV drama series Outlander has shown us, natural settings don’t come much more romantic than those dotted with standing stones. Plus, with such fine accommodation able to be booked nearby as Kilmartin Hotel and Cuilfail Hotel, it can be easily made the focal point of a very special romantic break.
Scotland serves up so many opportunities to combine romance with historical appreciation, that even many of the hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts that can be booked through us here at toprooms are historical attractions in their own right. Secure a bedroom for you and your loved one in an enchanting part of Scotland for Valentine’s Day, and you’ll be glad for having explored this in-so-many-ways unjustly unsung romantic destination.