They say Paris is for lovers – so can the romantically inclined please hop back over the channel and leave Edinburgh alone? It bemuses me that the city of Edinburgh has been voted one of the world’s top romantic places and eighth best city break in the world by Wanderlust travel magazine this year. That means despite the rain, the cold and the grumpy locals roughly 6 million couples visit Edinburgh every year.
Loved up tourists, you have been lied to. If we locals can’t stand half the commotion that goes on during the Fringe then we certainly can’t abide your excessive PDA in front of the castle, blocking our way to the bus stop. In general Edinburgers are reserved, rude, rich and in a rush. We become quickly frustrated with tourists over the festival months, particularly when they come in loved up pairs. We really are not interested in the Jim Carey impersonation show you saw – please don’t give us a flyer. We will not wait for you to get your picture rubbing Greyfiars Bobby’s nose because we are fairly sure that dog, and his lucky nose, is an urban myth solely told to take the piss out of gullible tourists. No talking to us on the trams. No talking about the trams. And certainly no eye contact.
No Edinburgh is not the place to be in a couple abroad– we hate you here. Nor is it the place to be single – yet somewhere along the way pop culture created a terrible, terrible myth: that, Edinburgh, like New York City, is a town of great romance. As a result hundreds of girls every night are lured out of George St clubs by over confident rugby buggers and into overpriced taxis. It’s an epidemic.
The problem with Edinburgh boys is that they have no charm but plenty money; hoping to lure you into bed with a vodka and fresh orange and a story nearly always beginning with ‘when I was lifting…’. Exactly the opposite is true in Glasgow – here the boy will spend the taxi money on a chippy for two and bum a cigarette off you in exchange for walking you home safe. See? Pure romance.
Glasgwegians have manners, spontaneity and, more often than not, a pint in their system. They are friendly, sentimental and best of all they have beards which I am sure you’ll agree is pretty attractive.
Thank goodness then, that Glasgow was voted most romantic city last year by the Royal Mail who noted a 11.7% increase in mail from Glaswegians on the 13 February- an 8% rise over the national average.
But of course, love is (geographically) blind. Whether you are flirting, dating, Tindering or traveling together, there are plenty places to look deep and longingly in to each other eyes, regardless of your location. I guess what I’m trying to say is there will always be sex in the city, whatever the city and all you really need is a good sense of humour, a willingness to try new things and, just for good measure, TASTE’s official guide to the best date spots in Scotland. So here it is: this one’s for the lovers.
Eat: Under the Stairs. Tucked under George IV Bridge this unpretentious hide away is the perfect place for a date. Low ceilings and cosy tables – illuminated by flickering candles – provide the atmosphere of what can only be described as a sexual business meeting. In a really good way.
See: The Dalmeny Estate. Just a twenty minute bike ride from the centre of Edinburgh sits the incredible Dalmeny estate owned by the Earl of Rosebury and the grounds are open to the public. The sprawling 19th century gothic mansion will lead you right to foot of the Fourth Road bridge where you can stop and enjoy a bottle of wine and some fish fresh from the sea. Very Downton.
Do: You know you’ve got a keeper when a boy suggests a date that doesn’t revolve around drinking or eating. So for the ultimate activity- led date, head up Arthur Seat for spectacular views of the city.
Eat: Hanoi Bike Club is the ultimate date restaurant – all giant lanterns, flickering lights and snug tables. The place is always stuffed full with young couples enjoying the best Vietnamese food the West End has to offer and the staffs are more than happy to help guide you through the menu. Dishes are best shared – you just know you’re going to make it if you are prepared to split prawn crackers.
See: Kelvingrove museum. In my opinion the ultimate date – where better to get lost than among the shadows of Picasso’s masterpieces and the luring figures of taxidermy? Plus across the road Orlando’s offers out of this world fish and chips which are definitely worth a try.
Do: Now that Glasgow have their very own version of ‘Boris Bikes’ there is no excuse no to get out and explore your city. Head down Kelvin walkway and finish with the Botanics where you can explore the beautiful greenhouses or enjoy an ice cream on the grass.