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Valentine’s Day ideas in Scotland

The Dunmore Pineapple building in Dunmore Park.

Looking for some inspiration for Valentine’s Day this year? Here are some great ideas for romantic Scottish getaways, days out and gifts.

Valentine’s Day in Scotland

Depending on where you’re from, and how far back through history you look, you might enjoy all sorts of Valentine’s Day traditions. In England it was once said that if you put bay leaves at each corner of your pillow, you would have sweet dreams and visions of your future spouse. In Wales, at the end of January, they also celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day, when they give each other intricately carved wooden ‘lovespoons’. The most popular date for getting married in the Philippines is 14 February – every year mass weddings take place across the country, with hundreds of couples tying the knot simultaneously (and hopefully being careful where they throw the bouquet!).

Here in Scotland, we tend to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a more traditional way, with flowers, cards and chocolates. Of course, people are always looking for new ways to celebrate the life romantic, and we’re here with some great gift and getaway ideas.

Romantic places in Scotland

We’re not short on romantic scenery here in Scotland, but what about those places you might not think of (and which might be a little less crowded than Edinburgh or Glasgow city centre)?

Few places compare to Iona – an island steeped in spiritual history – for a sense of tranquillity and romantic atmosphere, plus a trip here can include a quest to find the Well of Eternal Youth. Further south, in Dumfries & Galloway, Rockcliffe is part of a National Scenic Area. It has some of the prettiest coastal landscapes anywhere in Scotland, and we’ve even got a wonderful holiday cottage here too, so you can stay the night.

For anyone in Aberdeenshire, or for those who fancy venturing north from Edinburgh and Glasgow, Craigievar Castle feels like a magical fairytale tower, not just because of its pink hue but also because the interiors are free from artificial lighting. Then there’s The Pineapple near Stirling, a unique historic building bringing a touch of the exotic to a chilly February day.

Romantic walks

To make your Valentine’s Day a memorable one, why not bag a Munro? A short drive north from Glasgow will bring you to the foot of Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southerly Munro, and you can reach the peak with a 5-hour ‘couple’s climb’ (we're going to make it a thing). From there you’ll enjoy soaring, soul-stirring views over Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.

There are more Munros at Mar Lodge Estate National Nature Reserve – 15 of them, in fact – as well as a vast number of treks and hikes that take in the spectacular pinewoods and heather-clad moorland. Pack a picnic and stay out for the whole day, just like Queen Victoria used to do.

Of course, it’s not only our countryside properties that are great for walks – our castles all come complete with beautiful grounds, each filled with loads of things to see and do. Among the woods, beaches and parkland of Culzean Castle & Country Park you'll find hidden caves, glasshouses and the stunning Swan Pond, while at Kellie Castle you can meander your way through an exquisitely colourful and rose-scented Arts & Crafts garden.

Scotland’s snowdrops

Did you know that in Denmark people often send pressed snowdrops to their beloved instead of roses? We have lots of places where you can see snowdrops in bloom, with some of them taking part in the Scottish Snowdrop Festival.

At Branklyn Garden near Perth you’ll find some stunning snowdrops with unique heart markings, while at Threave Garden the spectacular snowdrop displays are accompanied by hellebores that provide an extra pop of complimentary colour. At House of Dun & Montrose Basin Nature Reserve the floor of the ancient woodlands are carpeted with snowdrops as far as the eye can see.

Snowdrops

Our favourite Outlander spots

Royal Burgh of Culross
Royal Burgh of Culross

Claire and Jamie’s epic love story has had audiences all aflutter since 2014. You can spend Valentine’s Day tracing their footsteps at one of our Outlander-linked places and re-enacting their fiery time-travelling romance.

Keen fans of the show might recognise the Royal Burgh of Culross from certain scenes, and both the inside of Culross Palace and the palace garden were used in the series. The winding, cobbled streets of this authentic 17th- and 18th-century burgh are wonderfully atmospheric, and it’s one of the easiest places to get to for anyone staying in and around Edinburgh. You could even squeeze two Outlander sites into one day with a visit to tranquil Preston Mill in East Lothian, which was used both as a mill on the Fraser estate and as a court for a witchcraft trial.

Gifts for him and her

We all know chocolate is a go-to Valentine’s Day gift around the world. In Ghana (one of the world’s biggest cocoa producers), 14 February has been renamed National Chocolate Day, while in Japan almost half of the year’s chocolate is sold around Valentine’s Day. But what if your sweetheart doesn’t have a sweet tooth?

This year you can give something truly special by purchasing a hug of heather, which will help the Trust to protect the places we all cherish. And why not accompany that with a wee something from our online shop?

We’ve got our eye on some cosy cashmere socks for him and for her, but there’s lots more to choose from. Valentine’s Day gifts for him include this grooming gift set, this designer pocket square and these unique whisky-tasting waters. For her, we love our tweed makeup bags, special body washes and gorgeous organisers.

With all these ideas and places to visit, we’re sure you’ll have an amazing Valentine’s Day. And hopefully you’ll fall in love with some of our places along the way!

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