Castle Stalker, Argyll, for a magical fairy-tale setting
There’s no shortage of enchanting castles in Scotland, or ones set in picturesque landscapes. However, the four-storey tower house, Castle Stalker, surrounded by water at the mouth of Loch Laich is often considered one of the most romantic, despite its turbulent history. Indeed, you only need to take a glance at the fairy-tale castle from the roadside (the A828, 18 miles south of Oban), and you’ll start dreaming of bygone sweethearts. Accessible only by boat, there are a limited number of tours around the property during the summer months.
Best for: knights (and damsels) of old.
Also good for: seafood lovers – fresh fish, caught locally, is on the menu at the award-winning Pierhouse Hotel nearby in Port Appin.
For more details: Castle Stalker
St Andrews, Fife, for a right Royal romance
The historic town of St Andrews boasts Scotland’s oldest university, and it was while studying here in the early 2000s that love blossomed for the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Any visitor today will love wandering around the university buildings, elegant quadrangles and pretty gardens. And a stroll hand-in-hand along the medieval alleyways and cobbled streets is not to be missed. With castle ruins to explore, as well as a cathedral, there’s plenty to keep couples enthralled on a day out. As the sun starts to set, head to West Sands beach - the opening sequence of Chariots of Fire was filmed here.
Best for: patriotic royalists.
Also good for: golf fans – the Old Course on the edge of town is the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world.
For more details: Visit St Andrews
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Burns Monument, Alloway
Alloway, Ayrshire, for a love song or two
Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, has been wooing the world over since he first put pen to paper in 1774, writing a romantic verse ‘O once I lov’d a bonnie lass’ at the tender age of 15. Learn more about Rabbie’s life, poems and songs on a day out in Alloway, three miles south of the seaside resort of Ayr. Visit the cottage where he was born, the 15th-century cobblestone Brig O’Doon which inspired ‘Tam O’Shanter’, and The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, home to an impressive collection of the poet’s works. Recite the words to ‘My Love is like a Red, Red Rose’ and you’ll impress your date even more!
Best for: good old-fashioned romantics.
Also good for: horse racing enthusiasts – Ayr Racecourse is the venue of the Scottish Grand National.
For more details: Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
The Falls of Bruar, Perthshire, for a romantic backdrop
It’s easy to fall in love with the Falls of Bruar, a dramatic series of natural waterfalls situated in a glorious gorge near Blair Atholl, eight miles from Pitlochry. And while roaming around the idyllic beauty spot, you may find yourself falling in love with the person beside you too. Over 240 years ago, Scottish poet Robert Burns immortalised the tumbling waters in a poem and tourists have been flocking to the falls ever since. Two circular walks take you through the woodland – those willing to hike a more strenuous path to the top will be rewarded with unforgettable views.
Best for: trekking twosomes.
Also good for: history buffs – on the doorstep is Blair Castle and Gardens, visited by Queen Victoria and Mary Queen of Scots.
For more details: Highland Perthshire
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Marriage sculpture, Gretna Green
Gretna Green, Dumfries and Galloway, for wedding bells
Back in the 18th century, if you lived in England you had to wait until you were 21 before getting married without your parents’ consent. In Scotland, though, you could tie the knot at 16. As a result, thousands of young English couples ran away to Gretna Green, just north of the border. Still a popular place to marry, regardless of the bride and groom’s age, the village is a romantic place to visit today. Hear the history of the Blacksmith’s Shop, admire the creations in the Sculpture Garden or get lost in the Courtship Maze, shaped like a pair of interlocking wedding rings.
Best for: eloping couples.
Also good for: shoppers – indulge in a spot of retail therapy at the Gretna Gateway Outlet Village.
For more details: Gretna Green
Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries and Galloway, for heavenly delights
Enjoy a romantic night under the stars at the Galloway Forest Park, a huge natural wonderland of glens, lochs and hills so far away from any light pollution that it’s been awarded Dark Sky Park status. Over 7,000 stars and planets are visible with the naked eye on a clear evening, making it the perfect location to look up to the constellations and share stories of astronomical love legends. Perseus and Andromeda, Orion and the Pleiades – swot up beforehand and you’ll astonish your date with knowledge. Just don’t mistakenly talk of star-crossed lovers, they don’t live happily ever after!
Best for: starry-eyed romantics.
Also good for: mountain bikers – award-winning trails at 7stanes offer some of the best mountain biking in Scotland.
For more details: Galloway Forest Park
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