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Couples Trip: Edinburgh, Scotland

TRAVEL

February 9, 2020

Ah, Edinburgh, Scotland, you stole our hearts.

Last year, I was asked to speak at the PRFest in Edinburgh and jumped at the opportunity…as did my husband. So, we planned five days around the conference to explore what has become one of our favorite cities.

Where To Stay

When it comes to researching places to stay, I’m the queen. I’ll spend hours every night reading reviews (what’s up, TripAdvisor?!) and putting together spreadsheet comparisons. Yep, I’m that person.

Needless to say, I had a difficult time deciding whether to stay in New Town or Old Town Edinburgh. But when I landed on Angel’s Share Hotel, I knew we found our place.

Angel’s Share Hotel is only a block off of hopping Princes Street, which somewhat divides Old Town and New Town. It is the perfect location because it’s on a quiet side street, yet you can walk EVERYWHERE.

The rooms are named after famous Scottish celebrities (we had the Sir Chris Hoy room) and although they aren’t huge, they’re really beautifully decorated. Ours had a step-down from the bathroom to the main room with a lot of natural light.

The hotel’s bar/restaurant is fantastic. The Angel’s Share name refers to the small amount of alcohol that evaporates out of whiskey barrels during maturation, and the bar’s drinks do not disappoint. The food is also wonderful; we booked a table the night of our 11th dating anniversary, which also happened to be steak night (#homerun). The booths are roomy, yet romantic (think Old Hollywood glamour), so it’s perfect for date night.

Fun fact: Bellfield Brewery was doing a private beer tasting experience for Father’s Day at the restaurant while we were there, so I surprised Doug with tickets, and it was incredible!

Things To Do In Edinburgh

I’ll cut to the chase: there are a gazillion websites and blogs that will review the hot spots to visit:

I’m not going to go into detail on any of these places, but you can see some of our cool pictures below.

Romantic Edinburgh

Do you want to know the real secret behind enjoying Edinburgh as a couple?

Just be.

Let it rain. Try to stay away from the crowds. And eat and drink to your heart’s content.

Not necessarily known for beautiful weather, surprisingly, most of the days we were in Edinburgh were sunshiny. But man, when it rained, it poured. And I feel like the Scottish rain laughed at the paltry U.S. rain jackets we brought.

Have no fear! The U.K. brands make outdoor gear like no other. Particularly, Barbour and Joules. We put a hurt on both in Edinburgh and the only souvenirs I purchased for myself were from the Joules store on George Street (a phenomenal shopping, eating and drinking street around the corner from Angel’s Share). I bought a new rain jacket and several pairs of boots, as pictured here during our trip to the Highlands (more on that later):

Decked out in Joules rain gear in the Highlands, Scotland
Embracing the weather in Scotland’s Highlands.

Getting back to the rain in Edinburgh, it was actually a blessing in disguise. We were forced to keep ducking in and out of quaint pubs and restaurants, giving us the opportunity to try places we otherwise would have walked right past.

The gem of the trip? Rose Street, which also happens to be a block away from Angel’s Share (see, I told you it was the perfect spot!). Word is, Rose Street used to be used for the service entrances to mansions along both Princes and George Streets which flank it on either side. Now, it’s a cobblestone wonderland of great pubs and restaurants, perfect for a rainy afternoon or evening with your loved one.

Some of the pubs we had a drink or two at include:

There is something so romantic about taking a stroll in the rain together and just popping in and out of whichever pub you feel like visiting. We particularly liked Dirty Dick’s (I know, not the best name) because it’s cozy, candlelit and the bartender we had over the course of several days was very personable.

More Places To Eat And Drink in Edinburgh

We love food. And sampling drinks. So, hang on tight, because here are our other recommendations as to where to eat and drink in New Town, Edinburgh (plus one Old Town hot spot):

  • Ryan’s Bar is across the street from Angel’s Share, and we had breakfast and/or just a cup of tea or coffee here every day.
  • Mather’s Bar is also across the street from Angel’s Share and was my hubby’s dream come true. He wanted to find a place with old, Scottish men watching some sort of sport and pretty much just serving beer. This is it. No music, few chairs and lots of older men for him to make friends with while I was at my conference.
  • Zizzi has phenomenal pizza, pasta and vegan options. It’s just around the corner from Angel’s Share and we ate here a couple of times during our trip.
  • Dough Pizzeria, oh how we love you. If you’re visiting some pubs on Rose Street, stop in and place your order when you’re about 30-60 minutes from wanting to head back to your hotel. Go out for a drink, come back and pick up your pizza, go back to your hotel, eat said pizza and give me a shout out for recommending Dough. Enough said.
  • The Huxley looked a bit too upscale for us from the outside (it’s right next to the Waldorf Astoria), but we were invited here for a few drinks with my new friends from the conference and really enjoyed the ambiance, appetizers and service. It’s–you guessed it–across the street from Angel’s Share.
  • Just past Zizzi is Foundry 39. We stopped in for a beer one afternoon and dinner another night. The burger and fries were unreal!
  • Devil’s Advocate. My, oh my. The only place we really ate in Old Town, it is worth the wait. If you can only get a reservation at 4:30 as we did, take it. And then smile when you have to wait at the bar for 30 minutes while the staff gets your table ready. The Devil’s Advocate was recommended by our Flytographer photographer (more on that later) and these pictures were taken across the alley. So, the romanticism of this hidden gem must have oozed out into the street. And, to be honest, I have no idea what we ate. We just went on the recommendations of the waitstaff and EVERYTHING was off-the-charts good. Although it seems like a hidden gem, make reservations!
Outside the Devil's Advocate, Edinburgh, Scotland
Our anniversary photoshoot in Edinburgh, Scotland, across from the Devil’s Advocate.

Other Edinburgh (and Scotland) Activities

Because I had a couple of days at a conference, my hubby had some solo time. In advance of our trip, for his birthday, I set up a few things for him to do while I was busy:

  • A day pass to PureGym Edinburgh Exchange Crescent, just down the road from Angel’s Share. He’s big into working out, so I figured it would give him something to do for an hour or two during one of my conference days. I ended up going with him one day and it was a nice, clean gym with a good variety of machines and weights.
  • The Invigorated Break For Men spa day at the Waldorf Astoria (across from Angel’s Share). He had several spa treatments with all-day access to the hotel’s pool and health club, and he reportedly spent about four hours there, so it must have been wonderful!
  • Edinburgh to the Highlands bus tour via Lothian Motorcoaches. Because I get motion sickness, I was REALLY worried about taking a small bus or van for an entire day, so I was thrilled to find Lothian. The trip did not disappoint! The motorcoach picked us up and dropped us off right outside Angel’s Share (most tours pick up and drop off in Old Town, which would have been a hike for us at 7am) and had WiFi and USB charging stations at each seat. The Highlands were so breathtaking that my pictures don’t do our trip justice and the windy roads made me extremely happy I chose a bus tour over a van. We also stopped at Loch Ness, so of course, we had to go on a tour to look for Nessie! We are already planning a Highlands camping trip with our girls, and can’t wait to go back.

Must-Do In Edinburgh

Probably one of the best things I planned for our trip to Edinburgh was book a Flytographer photographer. No more awkward selfies. No more pictures full of tourists in the background. Just us, for the first time since our wedding day, almost 10 years ago.

Wow, what a romantic experience. Although we only booked a 30-minute session, our photographer, Jilli, was unbelievable. On top of being amazingly talented (I mean, look at the snaps below!), she was an excellent tour guide, giving us the history of Old Town Edinburgh as well as some wonderful recommendations (see Devil’s Advocate above).

After our Flytographer experience and especially after seeing our photos, I will never, ever take a couples or family trip again without booking a Flytographer photographer.

And boy, do I have a treat for you: use my Flytographer referral link (here) and get $50 off your first photoshoot! They are located in hundreds of cities around the world, so be sure to check out the site before you head off on your next adventure.

Final Thoughts

If anything, this Edinburgh trip taught me to be flexible with plans. I’m a planner and particularly when I’m visiting another country, I have a checklist of must-see sights and must-dos. Because of the rain and, well, just wanting to enjoy a relaxing place with my hubby, we got to see and experience things that weren’t on my “list.”

If you’ve been to Edinburgh, what are some of your favorite spots? Comment below!

Where to stay, eat and visit for an unexpected, romantic couples trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. HINT: embrace the rain.
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  1. Sounds like a great time was had by all! Of course, hard to wrong in Edinburgh, eh? The beer tasting was a home run! Love it when we run into special events like that. Definitely have us wanting to head to Scotland – thanks for all the cool trip ideas!

    • amanda says:

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, the beer tasting was a private event and it only cost us about ยฃ20 each…such a win!

  2. Scotland is on my list. My family is from there and would love to see where they lived. It is such a beautiful country. Your trip looked great and the photos are fantastic.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you, and that sure would be a special trip for you! We hope to go back next summer with our girls.

  3. Pam says:

    This trip sounds amazing! I would absolutely love visiting Edinburgh and like you would totally jump on the opportunity. Sounds like you made the most of it.

  4. Leeanne says:

    What a romantic place to visit. I went as a kid but it’s obvious I need to go back with my husband.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Yes, you should! We didn’t necessarily start out thinking it would be a romantic trip as it was partially for work, but I highly recommend it!

  5. Cindy says:

    I really want to do the photographer when on a trip. Especially one with my whole family, included extended. I think it would be fabulous.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      We were supposed to have another Flytography session with the entire family in Copenhagen this month, but we’ll have to wait until the next trip. I won’t book another trip without one and I definitely regret not knowing about the service sooner!

  6. Hera says:

    Happy Anniversary in Scotland! We love celebrating life through travel and collecting those priceless memories. Weโ€™re a traveling couple and itโ€™s hard to get pics of us, I may have to look into Flytography, thanks!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you, and you definitely should! I highly recommend the service…plus, our photographer gave us so many great tips, which was an added bonus.

  7. Jordan says:

    Would love to go to Germany! So many cool things to do! Love your pics! Looks amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Oh, I love your pictures! I love the dreamy ones at the end, especially. I’d love to go to Edinburg one day. I’d want to check out all the pubs, raining or not. It looks like you had a great trip!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you so much and honestly, our photo session was way more romantic than even our engagement photos. And the pubs?! Can’t be beat!

  9. Cathy says:

    This sounds like a dream trip! My husband would love that spa day at the Waldorf. Such fun! And, love your photos.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you, and I was surprised at how much my hubby loved his spa day. He was soooo relaxed at the end of his visit.

  10. Lori Nielsen says:

    I would love to visit Scotland! It sounds like you had a fabulous time. And the personal photographer is a great idea!

  11. jen says:

    love this! we were supposed to go this summer…jsut got cancelled….sigh… oh well, more time to plan

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Ugh, such a bummer. I’m sorry! Our trip to Copenhagen earlier this month was canceled…so, I’m adding more days and another country or two for when we can finally go. The planning is helping with keeping my spirits up.

  12. Casandra says:

    I have been mulling over a trip to Scotland with my family for some time now. I love your pictures and photos of the Highlands! I think that would be a hit with my family.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you! When we were in the Highlands we saw a LOT of families in rented campers, so we will definitely do that with our girls when we go back. I can’t imagine how cool it would be to camp in the actual Highlands!

  13. Jennifer says:

    Nice way to memorize your trip using a Flytographer

  14. kmf says:

    What a romantic getaway! And love the anniversary photos…such as great idea to do a photo shoot while traveling!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you! I have to say, I think it was much more romantic having anniversary pictures taken than even our engagement or wedding photos!

  15. Ethel says:

    Sorry canโ€™t help but google Haggis balls (oopps). My friend used a flytographer in one of her solo trips, like you, she only has good things to say about the experience.

    My husband and I have never been on a coupleโ€™s vacation (since we became parents – ages ago), Edinburg might just land at the top of our list to go to, seeing that you guys had such a wonderful time out there.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Haha! Well, if you and your hubby go, you’ll have to try them now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I’m so happy we had the opportunity to check out Edinburgh as a couple…but we are excited to bring our girls back one day.

  16. It sounds like we are very similar in how we decide where to stay when traveling. I spend a lot of time researching and reading reviews as well. I love the idea of hiring a photographer to document your trip. We are a family of 6, so it’s hard to fit all of us into a decent looking selfie. I will have to look into Flytographer the next time we travel.

  17. Jordin says:

    I loved my time in Edinburgh! A flytographer would be AMAZING!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Awesome! I’d love to hear about what some of your favorite things in Edinburgh were to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Eva Keller says:

    Edinburgh was one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited. I would love to go back and experience it with my husband though. I went back in college so I was just there with one of my sorority sisters who was studying abroad at the time.

  19. Lisa Manderino says:

    How fun and next time I go to Europe I am going to use Flytographer. What great photos and memories.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you! My only regret is that I learned about Flytographer is that I learned about it the week after my mom and I got home from Ireland. I SO wish I would have been able to capture professional pictures with my mom abroad…

  20. Tricia Snow says:

    I love going off list! There is so much more to an area when you are flexible.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      I grew up with an easygoing, “let-s-pull-off-the-side-of-the-road-and-check-this-place-out” dad and a super organized planner mom, so I have a bit of the best of both of them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Taci- Life Beyond Zebra says:

    Scotland looks amazing! I hope to get there one day for sure. Looks like you had a great time!

  22. Jill says:

    These pictures are amazing! Edinburgh has always been on the top of my list, definitely going to use some of the suggestions!

  23. Shirley says:

    Wow, what a thorough guide for future travel planning. I love it! Your photos are simply amazing!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Thank you so much, Shirley! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities we’ve ever visited. The architecture, people, food, shops, and just the overall vibe there is something I can’t wait to go back to. Looks like you guys had a great couples trip.

        • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

          Wendy, I’m glad you felt the same. Truthfully, I was surprised I fell in love with it as much as I did. Looking forward to the next trip there being a family vacation.

  24. Tara says:

    Ahhhh, I love this! Scotland is high on our travel list. Your pictures are super inspiring and so fun! I signed up for your newsletter; can’t wait to see where you go next!

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Tara, thank you very much! We can’t wait to take our girls back to Scotland, hopefully, next summer (we want to rent an RV for a few days and camp in the Highlands).

      We were supposed to be in Copenhagen and then Sweden this month. Looking forward to when we can actually travel again, but I’m enjoying daydreaming about future trips. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. Trisha says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Germany since my sister got to go while we were in high school. I love the beautiful buildings and rich history throughout Germany. Thank you for sharing such a great post!

  26. Amanda says:

    My husband is from Scotland and after all these years, I still haven’t been! Such a beautiful country. We were planning a trip this fall, hopefully, we will make it.

    • Amanda, The Comms Mom says:

      Oh my gosh, really?! How awesome! I hope you get to make it too. We had the time of our lives and can’t wait to go back. Fingers crossed for you guys!

  27. Michele says:

    I have a friend from Scotland and I have always wanted to visit myself. Beautiful photos!

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