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Sunset Over Arthurs Seat | © Marco Bellucci/Flickr
Sunset Over Arthurs Seat | © Marco Bellucci/Flickr
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18 Unusual Date Ideas To Try In Edinburgh

Picture of Tori Chalmers
Updated: 30 July 2017
Whether new to the romance scene or lucky in love, the nature of a date says heaps about a relationship. Do you really want to be that person who only comes up with dinner filled with an awkward exchange of mutterings and perennial paranoia of food being lodged in the teeth? Spice things up and revel in this rite of passage we call ‘dating’ with the best date ideas for you and your crush in Edinburgh. May you forever be smitten!

See The Views From Arthur’s Seat

But first you have to climb to the top! This can go one of two ways — bond over a mutual love for fitness or see eye to eye on not loving the gym bunny mentality! Either way, the views atop this mystical former volcano are one in a million. Great for watching either the sunset or sunrise!

View From Arthur's Seat | © Spencer Means/Flickr
View From Arthur’s Seat | © Spencer Means/Flickr

Count The Steps Of The Scott Monument

Whether Edinburgh native or new to town, scaling the Scott Monument is a wonderful way to learn about the city’s rich literary heritage. This Scottish gothic rocket ship of a structure is the largest monument to a writer in the world and boasts breathtaking views. Be warned, the steps are ridiculously narrow and downright vertigo-inducing — the perfect way to get closer to your beloved!

Scott Monument | © Magnus Hagdorn/Flickr
Scott Monument | © Magnus Hagdorn/Flickr

Cruise The Chambers St Cabinet Of Curiosity

And fall head over heels with each other’s anthropological observations! The National Museum of Scotland is both aesthetically beautiful and mentally stimulating, with lots of nooks and crannies filled with mind-reeling facts. A date here screams ‘couple goals’ and the secret rooftop terrace is a perfect place to ponder life’s intricacies.

The National Museum of Scotland | © morebyless/Flickr
The National Museum of Scotland | © morebyless/Flickr

Satisfy That Sartorial Appetite With A Couples Vintage Dress-Up Session

A gem in its own right, Armstrongs is a vintage emporium overflowing with fashion finds spanning all the memorable eras. Treat each other to that one-off James Dean denim jacket or retro cowboy boots and crack up when trying on the questionable wigs and shiny costume jewellery. Browsing and bonding never seemed so fun.

Size Up Your Fondness For Each Other At Camera Obscura

Although Edinburgh’s oldest purpose-built visitor attraction, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a timeless fun house of unrivaled banter. Hop into a morph machine and see your partner as their future pensioner self, chat strategy over maneuvering around the maze of mirrors and view your city (and date) from a whole new perspective.

Vortex | Courtesy Of Camera Obscura
Vortex | Courtesy Of Camera Obscura

Brush Up On History At The Real Mary King’s Close

Delve deeper than ever into local history and hear the horrors and hardships endured by the residents of Mary King’s Close during the Great Plague. This highly-rated attraction presents itself as a totally unique date option and is sure to ignite a torrent of riveting conversation.

Jump Into A Juniper Dreamland With An Edinburgh Gin Tour

This one could seal the deal for gin lovers. So much more than a casual drink date, show your partner a whale of a time with a tour of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery. Surround yourself with bespoke artisanal gin, explore the creation process and be merry with a glorious gin tasting session.

Edinburgh Gin | Courtesy Of Tori Chalmers
Edinburgh Gin | Courtesy Of Tori Chalmers

Catch A Play And Experience An Alternate World

Catching a play is a nifty way to ensure a fail-safe repertoire of conversation starters for the post-play walk, drinks, or dinner. Whether at the Fringe or one of Edinburgh’s many top-notch theatres — Traverse, Festival Theatre, King’s, Playhouse — consider this your chance to indulge all creative desires.

MAMMA MIA! | Courtesy Of Edinburgh Playhouse
MAMMA MIA! | Courtesy Of Edinburgh Playhouse

Discover Edinburgh’s Nexus Of Secret Gardens

Unbeknown to many and coveted by those in the know, Edinburgh plays host to an array of spectacular secret gardens, many of which bask surreptitiously in the heart of the city. Dunbar’s Close is a winner, as is Dr Neil’s Garden by Arthur’s Seat.

Pick A Festival And Go With It

Anyone who’s anyone knows that Edinburgh is famed as a Festival City. From jazz and gin, to books, film, photography and even magic, there truly is something for one and all at all times of the year. Flip a coin, scan the times and try something new.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe | Courtesy Of This Is Edinburgh
Edinburgh Festival Fringe | Courtesy Of This Is Edinburgh

Embark On An Art Tour (Even If It’s Not Your Thing)

Edinburgh has some cracking galleries begging to be explored, most of which are free. Swing by the Scottish National Gallery and marvel at the creative prowess or get the giggles and chat until the cows come home about some obscure modern masterpiece at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Then again, you could always make it your mission to source the coolest street art in town by heading to Leith.

Scottish National Gallery | © Paul Hudson / Flickr
Scottish National Gallery | © Paul Hudson / Flickr

Enjoy An Afternoon Tea Cruise On The Canal

Find those sea legs and book two tickets for afternoon tea and cruise the Union Canal. Soak up the city sights from the comfort of the boat and indulge in delectable homemade miniature sandwiches, scones and sweet things galore.

Count The Constellations At The Royal Observatory

A sight to behold, the stars in Scotland have this way of absconding with your heart, as will your date…hopefully! Perched atop Blackford Hill, The Royal Observatory hosts public astronomy evenings and astronomy talks perfect for an original first date idea. Gaze at the serene sight of stars blinking and flickering and let the sparks fly higher than ever.

Embrace That Crazy Cat Owner Persona At Maison De Moggy

A fine bunch, there’s always something to be said about cat owners! Share a cuppa and perhaps a cake (made off site) and ooh and ahh over the adorable felines weaving in and out. Just as with cats, every relationship takes work, with the end result being a lifetime of unconditional love and fun!

Savour Cultural Narratives At The Scottish Storytelling Centre

Everyone has a story. Unravel the pieces of each other’s tale while investigating the heritage of the stories deeply woven into Scotland’s cultural fabric. Housed in a noteworthy building, the Scottish Storytelling Centre holds the key to an abundance of live performances and interactive displays.

Open Your Eyes At An Indie Flick

Although fun, cinema trips aren’t the most inventive first date due to the lack of conversation. However, catching an indie flick at an art house cinema is the perfect way to appease all artistic minds, especially for couples with an already cultivated bond. The Cameo and Filmhouse are brilliant places to enjoy an indie film, while the family-run Dominion is a more intimate setting to enjoy big blockbuster hits.

Let Loose And Laugh At The Stand

Dates can be just as uncomfortably awkward as they are inspiring, so say farewell to that nervous tension with a trip to The Stand Comedy Club. As Edinburgh’s year-round answer to Fringe fun, the shows here challenge entrenched precedents and make for a memorable time.

Courtesy of Festival Fringe Society
Courtesy of Festival Fringe Society | © Festival Fringe Society

Crack The Code And Escape

Hopefully together. Whatever the result, Escape Rooms are a genius way to suss out key personality traits of your partner. Cracking the code and working as one can shed light on any potential red flags, just as they can seal the deal! Fun and inventive, this is your chance to unleash those butterflies and swoon over each other’s adorable idiosyncrasies.